Wallace Stevens: Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Blackbird

(1774 words)

One of the most perplexing and elusive poems in Wallace Stevens’ Harmonium (1923), “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” has often been noted to allude “humorously to the Cubists’ practice of incorporating into unity and stasis a number of possible views of the subject observed over a span of time” (Buttel, 1967, p. 165). Whether in fact humorously or not, the poem is certainly intellectually amusing; it revolves around separate visual moments in which the subject – one or more blackbirds – is present in increasingly idiosyncratic ways. It was first published in 1917 in a breakthrough anthology which also promoted the works of T.S. Eliot, Mina Loy, Marianne Moore, Carl Sandburg and William Carlos Williams (…

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Citation:
Jiménez Muñoz, Antonio José. "Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Blackbird". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 March 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8282, accessed 26 June 2016.]