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Of Modern Poetry

Of Modern Poetry

by Wallace Stevens

Lines 25-28 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 25-28

                                                       It must
Be the finding of a satisfaction, and may
Be of a man skating, a woman dancing, a woman
Combing. The poem of the act of the mind.

  • Going back to his opening lines, Stevens closes by telling us that modern poetry should be about finding some sort of satisfaction in our lives. We can even find these satisfactions in simple things, like a man skating or a woman combing her hair. 
  • But at the end of the day, the poem can't just be about a woman combing her hair. It has to be about a mind finding meaning and fulfillment in a woman combing her hair. That's what makes modern poetry "The poem of the act of the mind." Modern poetry might find satisfaction anywhere. But its main focus has to be the act of the mind finding this satisfaction. It has to be about the mind that loves the image of a woman combing her hair, and not just about the woman combing her hair. To put it in a nutshell, it's not what our search for meaning leads us to that matters. It's the search itself.

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