Here I briefly discuss the most common interpretations of each of the four poems in order to give the reader at least a basic understanding of each.
In a letter to Ronald Lane Latimar, composed in 1935, Stevens writes: “It may be that every man introduces his own order into the life about him” (293). “The Idea of Order at Key West” is one of Stevens’ most successful representations of this philosophic idea. In the poem, a woman walks along the shore … Continue reading Meaning in “The Idea of Order at Key West”
As the title suggests, this poem is about the distinction between reality, and our interpretation of that reality, based on what we perceive with our senses. The “he” in the poem is just waking up; the sun is rising, and he hears a cry from outside. He gradually becomes aware of the world around him—the … Continue reading Meaning in “Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself”
In Borroff’s collection of essays, Pearce writes that Stevens “has written, over some thirty years, a whole and continuing poetry whose subject is the life, the form and function, of the imagination” (111). “Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour” is one of these poems dealing with imagination. This poem is about the inner place, deep … Continue reading Meaning in “Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour”
We are given a strong hint toward the meaning of this poem in its title: “Infanta” (essentially a Spanish princess) “Marina” (marine, or relating to the sea). The common understanding of this poem is that it depicts a woman, this “Princess of the Sea,” who walks along the beach at twilight. Vendler proposes—and I agree—that … Continue reading Meaning in “Infanta Marina”