Fabliau of Florida
In a letter written in 1939, Stevens says that he has always liked this poem, not because of its sense, "because it does not have a great deal of sense", but because of "the feeling of the words and the reaction and images that the words create".
Mark Strand asserts that the poem, though seemingly about the liminal space between sea and shore, is really about the liminal space between poem and reality. He suggests that this becomes clear once one appreciates the pun on the first and last words of the poem, namely "barque" and "surf". Some readers are withholding judgment until the pun is explained.
The poem may be compared to "Infanta Marina", which similarly explores dissolution of boundaries in nature. Here the boundaries are beach and heaven, foam and cloud.
- Stevens, p. 341.
- "Borzoi Reader - Authors - Wallace Stevens". www.randomhouse.com.
- Stevens, Holly (ed.). Letters of Wallace Stevens. 1966: University of California Press.