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Of Modern Poetry

Of Modern Poetry


by Wallace Stevens

Of Modern Poetry: If You Build it, They May or May Not Come Quiz

Think you’ve got your head wrapped around Of Modern Poetry? Put your knowledge to the test. Good luck — the Stickman is counting on you!
Q. What does Stevens mean when he says that "the theatre was changed/ To something else"?

He's being vague because he doesn't know what he's saying
Traditional silent films gave way to talkies
Modern events changed the rules for what poetry needed to do
People watch plays now instead of movies
Q. Why does modern poetry have to "construct a new stage"?

Because Stevens' high school auditorium burned down
Because modern events require it to help people in new ways
Because poetry is like acting; it's not real
Because the line between performance and reality doesn't exist for Stevens
Q. Why won't the old stage work anymore for modern poetry?

Because old scripts and old beliefs don't comfort people anymore
Because art isn't worth much if it isn't new
Because modern poets need to create their own stage if they want to achieve greatness
Because the lighting team walked out on the job
Q. What should the "invisible audience" of modern poetry be listening to?

The true meaning behind words
Its own inner thoughts
The silent music of poetry
The poet… duh
Q. What does the twanging instrument of line 21 represent?

The hopelessness of the modern poet's task
Stevens' own lack of talent
The fact that poetry is a crude, but hopeful way of expressing ourselves
How terrible popular music is