Eliot Vs. Wallace Stevens Essay

Eliot Vs. Wallace Stevens Essay

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Devica Davis-Kilpatrick
Professor Babbitt
Modernist Poetry
May 1, 2015

T. S. Eliot vs. Wallace Stevens

During T. S. Eliot’s time many of his contemporaries including himself were in the custom of alluding to classic works of poetry. They incorporated references to notable texts like Dante. Eliot especially is a main perpetrator of alluding. Eliot has the ability create a picture for the reader and provide historical context to his works. A contemporary of Eliot, Pound, once said you should try to “be influenced by as many great artists as [they] can” (Pound 95). Eliot is following what Pound said by incorporating allusions in his works.
Throughout Eliot’s works, references to Greek epics were used. Eliot was able to interweave the other works into his poetry, creating a poem that reflected his ideas and incorporated past and the present. As a reader of his poetry, one can be easily confusing trying to follow all of the references. It is hard to tell where his ideas begin and the allusion ends. Although hard to understand his technique is innovative. He is able to incorporate huge works to back up his views. The toughness of interpretation of his poems also limits the potential reactions and experience the reader can get out. He is making things harder than they have to be. The allusions are like icing on a cake. It works but is not necessary to get the point across.
Wallace was another of Eliot’s contemporaries but he did not support Eliot’s reliance on allusions. Wallace was trying to look towards the future instead of into the past. In the poem “The Man with the Blue Guitar,” Stevens chose to change up the meter of the poem in an effort to create a clear image for the reader to interpret. Wallace is straightforward with his ...

... middle of paper ...

...’s portrayal of the desolate present was similar to Eliot’s imaginings, Stevens chose to focus on an American future rather than a European past.

List of Works Cited
Eliot, T. S., and Michael North. The Waste Land: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. Print.
Eliot, T. S. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Prufrock, and Other Observations. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1920. N. pag. Bartleby.com. Aug. 2011. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.
Pound, Ezra. "A Few Don 'ts by an Imagiste." Poetry Magazine 1.6 (1913): 95-97. The Poetry Foundation. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.
Ramazani, Jahan, Richard Ellmann, and Robert O 'Clair. The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003. Print.
Stevens, Wallace. "The Man with the Blue Guitar." Wallace Stevens - Collected Poetry & Prose. N.p.: Library of America, 1997. 135-51. Print.

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