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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Stevens wrote "Of Modern Poetry" at a mature point in his career. By this time, he wasn't all that keen on using strict forms and meters. Instead, his poetry tends to sound the way someone would ju...

Speaker

It's not always a smart play to completely identify the speaker of a poem as the poet him/herself. But with Stevens, it's hard not to. After all, when you write a poem called "Of Modern Poetry," an...

Setting

According to Stevens, the setting of a poem like this is supposed to be inside the human mind. But he also throws us these images of a symbolic stage where the modern poem spends most of its time....

Sound Check

You'd be hard pressed to find a more consistent sounding poet than Wallace Stevens. His modern, meditative brand of free verse is one of the main things people recognize about him. His poems sound...

What's Up With the Title?

If you look at all of Stevens' poetry, you'll find that he's a pretty big fan of this sort of title. Some of his other poems include "Of the Surface of Things," "Of Heaven Considered as a Tomb," an...

Calling Card

Look at almost any Stevens poem and you'll find almost the exact same voice you find in "Of Modern Poetry." Just for kicks, take a glance at "The Snow Man" or "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbi...

Tough-o-Meter

For a guy who's famous for a poem called "The Snow Man," it's fitting that Steven's "Of Modern Poetry" sits at Shmoop's "Snow Line." A lot of the poem is fairly clear, using straightforward metapho...

Trivia

Stevens might write calm poetry, but he actually broke his hand punching Ernest Hemingway in the face. (Source.) In 1955, Harvard University offered Stevens a faculty teaching job. But Stevens decl...

Steaminess Rating

Unless you find the image of a woman combing her hair too suggestive, this poem is as tame as it gets.

Allusions

It's not totally clear what Stevens means when he says that the theatre of poetry changed. But he's probably referring to some major modern event that transformed the nature of poetry. In this sens...
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