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Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird


by Wallace Stevens

Analysis: Calling Card

City Bird, Country Bird

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 one: they both contrast images birds in the wilderness with images of birds in more commonplace settings. Stevens believed that you didn't have to go to an isolated forest to find natural beauty. The same amazing creatures hang out around your feet as you walk around town as hang out in places where no humans can be found. "Sunday Morning" ends with an ode to pigeons – the least favorite bird of many a city dweller – and "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" is about a bird that is similarly commonplace. As far as nature is concerned, the distinction between common and exotic is an artificial one, just like the distinction between the city and the countryside.

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