The man whose pharynx was bad by Wallace Stevens
Jane Kite’s choice number 7
If only there was space for more than one of Wallace Stevens’ poems. I could have chosen 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird because it was the first of his poems I read and because it may contain my favourite lines of all time:
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
This is in some ways similar to the Sylvia Plath poem, Magi, which was my choice number 4, in its treatment of the abstract and the “real” – part, I guess, of Steven’s constant exploration of imagination and reality. For me, it links with Lacan’s Borromean knot of the real/imaginary/symbolic and with the relationship of art to the healing of the traumatised human condition .
I could have chosen The Man with the Blue Guitar – a poem full of all the agony and wonder that follows from: things as they are/Are changed upon the blue guitar.
But I choose The man whose pharynx was bad because it has a particular personal significance and for me. I think it says a lot about disability and despair and yet it sooths because the human emotions exist within and are put into perspective by the weather and the seasons . I’ve posted a page from the collected poems as this version is shorter and better that the one that seems to be generally available online.