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Of Modern Poetry
Of Modern Poetry
by Wallace Stevens

Tough-O-Meter

We’ve got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you’ll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)

(8) Snow Line

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 metaphors about stages and actors. But when you get into phrases like "metaphysician in the dark" or "poem of the act of the mind," it can take hours to puzzle out what Stevens is saying.

And the problem is that Stevens makes the meaning of the entire poem totally hinge on phrases like these. All the clues to figure out these phrases are there in the poem, but you'll probably have to check out a dictionary to figure out what Stevens means by "metaphysician." Don't worry, though, Shmoop is always here to help!

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