The Bird with the Coppery, Keen Claws
The Bird With The Coppery, Keen Claws is a poem from Wallace Stevens's first book of poetry, Harmonium. It was originally published in 1921, so it is in the public domain. Librivox has made the poem available in voice recording in its The Complete Public Domain Poems of Wallace Stevens.
Vivid Imagism blends with light-hearted rhyming in this poem that evokes a tropical clime. Leiter deems it one of Stevens's "most impenetrable" poems, containing "oxymoronic images" whose conflicting meanings must be held in abeyance. (This may not be far from the `Wilson effect' mentioned in the main Harmonium essay.) Bates compares the poem to Infanta Marina as a model of Stevens's use of a symbol to invest a landscape with his feeling for it. The aura of mystery that is characteristic of Stevens's naturalistic studies is evident here in the parakeet's brooding, his pure intellect applying its laws, and his exertion of his will. Compare The Curtains in the House of the Metaphysician for another expression of Stevens's enigmatic naturalism.
- Bates, p. 139
- Bates, Milton J. Wallace Stevens: A Mythology of Self. 1985: University of California Press.
- Leiter, Louis H. "Sense in Nonsense: Wallace Stevens' "The Bird with the Coppery, Keen Claws". 1965: College English (Vol 26, No 7)
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