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Features

October 2009

The sovereign ghost of Wallace Stevens

by William Logan

On the poet's place in the American Pantheon & the new Selected Poems, edited by John N. Serio.

Wallace Stevens was not quite a teenager when Whitman died. Divided by some sixty years and the Civil War, these famous stay-at-homes were both elbowing representatives of a character peculiarly American. It was cunning for Whitman to pretend to be an American rough, though his rough edges were largely of his own making, and inspired of Stevens to conceal his poetic imagination beneath the wool suit of an expert in surety bonds. One life might be laid upon the affinities of the other: they shared the nonconforming education (Stevens a Harvard man, but a non-degree student); the late access to mature poetry (Leaves of Grass published at 36, Harmonium at 43); the belated recognition and almost bardic status; the vagueness about the private life (we are as mystified by the sexuality of the one as the other). These are the types and conditions of self-invention, the restlessness of an ...

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William Logan's new book of criticism, Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure (Columbia), has just been published.


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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 28 October 2009, on page 16

Copyright © 2014 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com

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The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
On May 5, 2014, The New Criterion and PJ Media presented the second Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity. The award is given to highlight egregious examples of dishonest reporting. Also awarded this year was the Rather, a new award for lifetime achievement in mendacious journalism.
The Duranty Prize is named after Walter Duranty, the New York Times Moscow corresponded in the 1920s and 1930s who whitewashed Joseph Stalin’s forced starvation of the Ukrainians (the Holodomor) and many other aspects of Soviet oppression. Duranty was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his efforts. It has never been revoked.
Audio copyright Ed Driscoll, www.eddriscoll.com.


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