Wallace Stevens was one of the great pioneers of 20thcentury American poetry who managed to compose much of his verse while walking to his office at a Hartford insurance
company. In a style sometimes playful, sometimes challenging, and often both, his poems explore the ways that the human mind partly creates the world it sees. In adapting many of Stevens’ poetic principles to her own voice, Elizabeth Bishop renders her social and natural world in more direct and familiar terms. Both reveal the world as apprehended by a highly discriminating intelligence. In this seminar, we will explore a selection of Stevens’ and Bishop’s best poems. Participants will be encouraged to suggest their own favorites for discussion.