July 6, 2021
“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.
Read the complete essay here: