Opus posthumous

by Wallace Stevens

Hardcover, 1989





New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1989.


When Opus Posthumous first appeared in 1957, it was an appropriate capstone to the career of one of the most important writers of the twentieth century. It included many poems missing from Stevens's Collected Poems, along with Stevens's characteristically inventive prose and pieces for the theater. Now Milton J. Bates, the author of the acclaimed Wallace Stevens: A Mythology of Self, has edited and revised Opus Posthumous to correct the previous edition's errors and to incorporate material that has come to light since original publication. A third of the poems and essays in this edition are new to the volume. The resulting book is an invaluable literary document whose language and insights are fresh, startling, and eloquent.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
I lightly skimmed the plays, did not read the prose, and just read the poems without trying to make sense of them. ?�Stevens' work is way out of my league. ?áOr he's a humbug on acid, but since other ppl admire him so much I'm guessing it's just me. ?áHe does seem racist, throwing around
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words like Dago and stereotypes about Negroes. ?áBut then, I could be totally misunderstanding. ?áWhat I get out of Stevens' poetry is music & bright imagery. ?áI need to find an audiobook collection of his work, read by someone who has more of a clue than I, of course.

Solitaire Under the Oaks

In the oblivion of cards
One exists among pure principles.

Neither the cards nor the trees nor the air
Persist as facts. ?áThis is an escape

To principium, to meditation.
One knows at last what to think about

And thinks about it without consciousness,
Under the oak trees, completely released.

(This is exactly how I feel when playing a Match 3 or Hidden Object game!)

Banjo Boomer

The mulberry is a double tree.
Mulberry, shade me, shade me awhile.

A white, pink, purple berry tree,
A very dark-leaved berry tree.
Mulberry, shade me, shade me awhile.

A churchyard kind of bush as well,
A silent sort of bush, as well,
Mulberry, shade me, shade me awhile.

It is a shape of life described
By another shape without a word.
Mulberry, shade me, shade me awhile--

With nothing fixed by a single word.
Mulberry, shade me, shade me awhile.

from Memorandum

Say this to Pravda, tell the damned rag
That the peaches are slowly ripening.

Say that in the clear Atlantic night
The plums are blue on the trees. ?áThe katy-dids
Bang cymbals as they used to do.
Millions hold millions in their arms.

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National Book Award (Finalist — Poetry — 1958)



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