Poetry Is The Necessary Angel …

To confront fact in its total bleakness is for any poet a completely baffling experience. Reality is not the thing but the aspect of the thing. At first reading, this poem has an extraordinarily factual appearance. But it is, after all, an abstraction. Mr. [H.D.] Lewis says [in his essay, On Poetic Truth] that for Plato the only reality that mattered is exemplified best for us in the principles of mathematics. The aim of our lives should be to draw ourselves away as much as possible from the unsubstantial, fluctuating facts of the world about us and establish communion with the objects which are apprehended by thought and not sense.

—Wallace Stevens, “About One of Marianne Moore’s Poems” from The Necessary Angel

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