William W. Bevis

William W. Bevis

William W. Bevis is emeritus professor of English at the University of Montana.

Mind of Winter

Wallace Stevens, Meditation, and Literature

Bevis addresses the most puzzling and least studied aspect of Wallace StevensÆ poetry: detachment. StevensÆ detachment, often associated by readers with asceticism, bareness, or withdrawal, is one of the distinguishing and pervasive characteristics of StevensÆ poetic work. Bevis agues that this detachment is meditative and therefore experiential in origin. Moreover, the meditative Stevens of spare syntax and clear image is in constant tension with the romantic, imaginative Stevens of dazzling metaphors and exuberant flight. Indeed, for Bevis, Stevens is a poet not of imagination and reality, but of imagination and reality, but of imagination and meditation in relation to reality.