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Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

by Wallace Stevens

Versions of Reality Quotes Page 1

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Quote #1

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird (title)

The title asks you to consider that you don't really know what a blackbird is until you've considered it from different angles. And even then you still only have a limited view of it. There is no one "real" or "true" blackbird.

Quote #2

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds. (Section II)

Stevens turns the blackbird into an element in a simile. How is a blackbird like a "mind"? At this point, it's good to remember what Stevens himself said about the poems, "This group of poems is not meant to be a collection of epigrams or of ideas, but of sensations" (source). So, what does a blackbird in your mind feel like?

Quote #3

A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one. (Section IV)

The speaker seems to be saying, "When you think about it, we're all just slices of the same pie. You, me, that blackbird over there…"