“In the metaphysical streets, the profoundest forms / Go with the walker subtly walking there.” This is Stevens in canto XI of “An Ordinary Evening in New Haven.” Walking in this long poem is a vehicle for meditation and a trope for the writing of poetry. The figure works the other way around too: writing poetry is like walking in a city. In the case of New Haven, as Stevens said in a letter, a walk brings you into contact not with “grim reality but plain reality,” “plain” meaning daily and ordinary, physical and visible, apparent. The world as it is.
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