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Harmonium

Harmonium

poems stevens ‘the collection

Wallace Stevens's first collection of poetry, initially published in 1923; it contains seventy-four poems, including several lengthy sequences, written from approximately 1912 onward. A revised edition with fourteen further poems appeared in 1931. Its invigorating range extends from lengthy philosophical investigations like ‘The Comedian as the Letter C’ to the buoyant simplicity of ‘Ploughing on Sunday’ and numerous other poems related to the American folk tradition. Stevens's talent for presenting imagery of singular clarity, colour, and sharpness, an indication of his participation in Imagism, is on display throughout the collection. Among its most vividly exotic poems are a number reflecting the landscapes and vegetation of Florida, which he recurrently visited. Harmonium is permeated by the preoccupation with the imagination as the only means of interpreting reality in a secular age that runs throughout Stevens's subsequent work (see The Man with the Blue Guitar and notes toward a supreme fiction). ‘The Emperor of Ice Cream’, ‘Sunday Morning’, ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’, ‘The Snow Man’, ‘Peter Quince at the Clavier’, and ‘Tea at the Palaz of Hoon’ are among the well-known poems in the collection, which contains a remarkably high proportion of Stevens's most celebrated work.

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