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Thinking Through PoetryField Reports on Romantic Lyric$
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Marjorie Levinson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198810315

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198810315.001.0001

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Still Life without References or, The Plain Sense of Things

Still Life without References or, The Plain Sense of Things

(p.235) 10 Still Life without References or, The Plain Sense of Things
Thinking Through Poetry

Marjorie Levinson

Oxford University Press

Analysis of “The Poems of Our Climate,” Wallace Stevens’s ars poetica, reveals the value of substituting the process of recursion for the reflexivity that we often consider to be part and parcel of lyric form. The relationship between the two notions is one of three couplings the chapter investigates, the other two being remediation and representation, and—drawing on Foucault—similitude and resemblance. In each case the first term in the pairing ends up the favored one. The resulting displacement generates for the poem both a formal distinctiveness in which resistance has no share, and—through etymological investigation—a new set of intertexts in poems by Keats not usually brought to bear in such contexts. In short, rather than resist its material conditions of representation, the poem thinks through them.

Keywords:   Wallace Stevens, ekphrasis, recursivity, lyric poetry, literary theory, Michel Foucault, Jerome McGann, Paul de Man, John Keats

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