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Of Modern Poetry

Of Modern Poetry


by Wallace Stevens

Of Modern Poetry Literature & Writing Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #1

The poem of the mind in the act of finding
What will suffice (1-2)

Here's your thesis statement for what modern poetry should be. It should be about finding something that is good enough. But good enough for what, you ask? Well, it should be good enough to make us feel like getting out of bed in the morning. Poetry should make life seem worthwhile to us, even if the world seems like it's going to hell. Further, modern poetry should talk about how a person's mind should go about finding this kind of meaning.

Quote #2

It has not always had
To find: the scene was set; it repeated what
Was in the script (3-4)

In the old days of classic art, poetry didn't really have to go searching for the meaning of life. It had the church to tell it what was what. So all poetry had to do was talk about how awesome God was and how terrible Satan was, and that's all the audiences really needed.

Quote #3

It has to be living, to learn the speech of the place.
It has to face the men of the time and to meet
The women of the time. It has to think about war
And it has to find what will suffice. (7-10)

Poetry can't get away with talking in fancy language anymore, or only talking about pleasant things. It has to confront the ugly parts of life, like war. It also has to figure out what modern people want. Maybe us modern folks don't want to read about harp-playing angels and the glory of kings anymore (unless it's a king from Middle Earth). Maybe we want to read something that's a little more relevant to our daily lives.

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