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Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird


by Wallace Stevens

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

It helps to think of "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" as both a longer poem with thirteen sections and as a sequence of thirteen shorter poems. The sections belong together, but to some ex...


The speaker is a nature lover and a fan of Asian art and literature. He's also like a narrator in a documentary film that keeps shifting from place to place. One minute he's spying on the blackbird...


The setting of the poem is autumn, winter, and maybe spring. The poem alternates between isolated wilderness and civilized, small-town Connecticut. Think New England with the quaintness dial turned...

Sound Check

We'd love to hear this poem spoken by one of those automated voices, like the one people hear when they check the messages on their Voicemail. "You have…three…new…messages." Becau...

What's Up With the Title?

You could almost imagine the title on the banner of a lifestyle magazine; "Eight Things that Will Drive Him Crazy," "Ten Fitness Tips for the New Year," "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird!" I...

Calling Card

After you read this poem, we'd advise you to read Stevens's "Sunday Morning" (also on Shmoop). First, it's awesome. Second, you'll notice many striking similarities between the two poems. Here's on...


Stevens can seem obscure and philosophical at times, like when he talks about nature's "pantomime" and the blackbird's involvement in what he knows. You just have to remember that he's a great poet...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

We're labeling this poem as G, though that might be up for debate, what with the line "a man and a woman / Are one."

Shout Outs

Haddam, Connecticut (Section VII)Coaches and equipages (Section XI)

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