Facts about real sites that Wallace Stevens knew well (some of them noted by no earlier critic) inform the deliberately "plain" poems of his final years. Stevens brought Connecticut into his works of art partly through his arrangements of grammar and sound, and partly through matters of regional lore and urban planning: the poems' view of public life includes the varied uses of public space. Regarding Connecticut as a place of abstraction, of "thin" colors and hard work, the late poems make southern New England (unlike the other regions in Stevens' work) a place to which the mature poet could feel he belonged. To read the late poems in the light of Stevens's Connecticut is to see one more source for their verbal powers. It is also to see how that work speaks to recent debates about literature and geography, literature and the environment, and even literature and the human body.


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pp. 325-352
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