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It is all psychological, but alas, i am a psychological failure.





You are stale cheese
You are a seagull picking
        garbage from the wake,
You are a flatulence
  of a shadow scared
     nothing cat,
Dr. Wizzy-Dazzle-New
   you are not.
 Your consciousness regurges
   spewage, soon to dine on
then spew,
    your own spewage.

You are not providing the
bigger more prolonged and supremely estatic
  orgasm,
       the sky high semen launch,
You aren't offering the dry bed
             sweet and comely genius toddlers,
the early buried mother-in-law
    primogenitive gold bags,
You bring us no whiter teeth,
    the golf balls do not carry
        the extra nine yards.

You spew back a
vomit of something you
never should of ate,
   and hope you have
     buffed the vomit
to a greater lustre,
and made a livlier shape than that
      morsel you never should have eaten.

I can dig there ain't
no "Guild" Teacher-Pimp,
    to burn the "D-" odes,
to unfocus the mind;
No commercial "Guelph" demi-god
   to feed,
Now the raw meat is
  surreptitously
     thrown in the
animal's cage.



      More damage than bullet
      I enter her karmic
      magnetic halo field
      meaty she is non and to
      herself mostly spikey toothed
      mean, mouth full of gnawings
      the free open path too, she microscope
      slide human amoeba not
      celestial preacher cinematic
      totalitarian guru---
      nekkid nekkid she goes
      from stodgy urban
      cottage to baby picture 
      studio her saving
      grace a de-nutted Micelangelo
      to paint her Raphael-like
      golden glow - -she presents the dough,
      lucre , gold bag goodness,
      "Doll me up Raffie-baby," she
      erstwhile cry as time
      marched by her childhood
      sex sin confessions toll
      to the menopausal death bed. 
      She got the dough
      daddio for her baby pix,
      got the dough to doll
      herself up as warm
      fail, nothing she says
      erases the years. 
      She couldn't cure the
      enmity of time at her own
      deathbed vision like her mother
      left her smile faced,
      she leaves enmity ridden
      goldbag wonder picture gallery
      filled with her self-proclaimed
      wisdoms enshrining her
      preminence,
      The enmity boiling
      uncomfortable death bed like
      equity squeezer clensch like
      her heart full of nominal song like
      the brain vessel clensch of a revelation ire. 
      Not weathering time's enmity
      cereberally, mentally, mentally....
      'til reptilian instincts find a
      look to her deathbed future
      of reptilian soul, loss of
      the eartly goodness, moping-
      groping her astounding
      vocabulary and mentality,
      Deus hewn from fate
      bipedal and soft fleshed
      lizard brain, the soft
      human time eaten by the
      residual reptilian functions,
      chem-burned from her being,
      deathbed approach and her
      eventful eventual angel
      sit on the azimuth she shoot,
      eating each tidbit of
      thought with no odors
      gourmet or clinical, even noting colors,
      cold blood cold finally
      bug food no push vein
      function cold lizard
      cold blood halts. 
1
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paul prochnow

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183,402

Do you like to read? THINKING i lost this:

Paul H. Prochnow

Wallace Stevens
!'The Comedian as the Letter C"
A Mind Above a Continent
 
"The Comedian as the Letter C" the most dramatic if not the most ambitious work 
in the whole of the poetry of Wallace Stevens. The majority of the critical 
exegeses of Stevens' pivotal work concern themselves with analysis of the work 
as a framework in which the poet has worked up an incomprehensible extended 
metaphor of the imagination and reality. Some have re-extended, from textual 
evidence this permeating analysis or interpretation, to include Stevens and 
his poetic capabilities. Only a few have considered the possibility that Stevens
 may have been risking the didactic in willfully constructing an allegory. 
The majority are undoubtedly correct considering the pervasive dawn of the 
stream of consciousness school of poetry Stevens was familiar with, and the 
French school of "pure" poetry which was highly touted at the time. The evidence 
of any such rationale for "The Comedian as the Letter C" provided by the author 
himself are scarce and ambiguous prior to the poem's conception, so the concept 
that "The Comedian as the Letter C"  is a summing up of Harmonium is a highly 
ogical and natural assumption, and one that an overwhelming number of critics have lionized. In considering Stevens as an individual described by his biographical information and through his letters, and described by his early poetry and literary studies, and considering that the poem was written by a man whose life was stable and comfortable, a life which could forego exhibiting himself on a metaphorical level in the public's eye, I find myself in the minority that would favor an allegorical interpretation of "The Comedian as the Letter C". This may be especially true since Stevens arrogantly might cast himself as the of the literary priest, or professor, delivering an "Academic Discourse at Havana" to the literary scene of his time. In The Necessary Angel Stevens explains how he sees the imagination at work. 

"What happens is that it (the imagination) is always
attaching itself to a new reality, and adhering to it.
It is not that there is a new imagination but that
there is a new reality. 1."

Imagination is a power in most of Stevens essays that illuminates
reality and can be seen as a possibly overwhelming force in 
unconstrained, but a power that he knows the uses of and can be                         shaped to a poets ends.   

"He must be able to abstract himself, and also to abstract
reality, which he does by placing it in his imagination.
He knows he cannot rise up loftily in helmet and armor
on a horse. 2."


In the light of these definitions of Stevens on the relationship 
of the imagination to reality it seems difficult to
re-echo the theme of so many critics who see Stevens ululating on
the literary stage at the loss of his creativity. Stevens imagination 
is a conduited force, in this instance poured into the
character of Crispin, who is made much larger than a persona of
Stevens floundering in life. Stevens gives evidence that Crispin
is a giant in the "moonlight",

Tho, in the hubbub of his pilgrimage 
Through sweating changes, never could forget 
That wakefulness or meditating sleep, 
In which the sulky strophes willingly 
Bore up, in time, the somnolent, deep songs.
 Leave room, therefore, in that unwritten book 
For the legendary moonlight that once burned 
In Crispin's mind above a continent.

Stevens drags Crispin through more than the moonlight imagery in 
'The Comedian as the Letter C", and geographically moves him superhuman 
distances in a supposedly imaginative quest. Extending a literary figure, 
or persona I to the above limits is a comic and a broad hint by Stevens 
that Crispin's essence is more than human and that his experience is 
larger than human span. The interpretation of Crispin's mask as those 
of Beaumarchis' Figaro, and Voltaire's Candide is central in most readings 
of the poem and at least mentioned in others, and they certainly are the 
structures at work in Stevens presentation of his hero.

 Robert Buttel explores the allusive character to the fullest and introduces
 the factor of "the clown or fop of the English tradition of stage comedy. 
"3 His parallels between Jonson's "Sir Politic Would-Be" are well drawn. 
He also notes the borrowing by Stevens of the "Nota:" device, the examination 
of fleas,I the idea of travel to a new environment., and vaguely the sea imagery. 
"Surely some of this nonsense prompted Stevens' statement, 'the eye of Crispin 
hung/ On porpoises, instead of apricots.'" 4  In literary particulars Stevens 
dresses Crispin as well as any poet has dressed a character, and the more he 
is explored the deeper the entanglement with the richness of language and 
symbology becomes. Since the character Crispin is studied from the third 
person entirely his description assumes top priority. In "The Comedian as 
the Letter C"  the thinness of plot that moves Crispin enriches his blankness
 and despair as an active character, because he has only perceptions and 
attributes and nothing to say. But Crispin needs an even broader interpretation 
to take the reader from the morass of futility Crispin seems to work himself 
into. Crispin is described in a better way through the geography of the poem, 
the literary jumble of allusions chalked up on Crispin's blank slate are 
therefore the comic effect, and for adjectival moralizing, and hide the motive
 force of the poem. 

In adopting the most ancient Crispin as the Crispin Stevens intended 
for the main character, we never learn for certain from Stevens himself, the 
poem can be made to adhere somewhat closer to reality. The friendly unabridged
 dictionary will inform us that Crispin is Saint Crispin, Roman missionary to 
Gaul, and patron saint of the shoemakers. As a classically trained literary scholar
 Stevens knew well of the old Roman Empires difficulties in subjugating the 
populations to the north through his readings in Caesar. A missionary's work 
is a noble one and surely one of the imagination, although shoemaking is not 
an especially lofty occupation. In the course of ten pages Stevens did not 
mean to bat about the comic value of that image, and the base humor is an 
elite literary humor playing with Crispin as the opera hero and the rest. 
However, Crispin is very much a missionary, not traveling to Gaul, but to 
America. It is funny to see the operatic barber, or "Sir Politic Would-Be" 
stepping on a ship to America, but none of these characters are broad enough 
to sustain the ten pages of shocks that Stevens administers to his hero. 
To do all that Crispin would need the changability of a Lamia, and even 
in the comic atmosphere it  would be hard to accept as an agreeable conclusion
 to have such a grotesqueness personified settling down in a nice shady home. 
The simple concept of the missionary Crispin, full of the spiritual freedom of
 Christianity, or of a modernistic national imagination, attempting to apply 
his utopian principles to the geography of the New World will supply a certain 
coherency to Crispin's character, which can be symbolized as the pioneer, the 
poetic imagination, or the Cristian nation state of Eliot's "Choruses from 'The Rock'".

Whatever powers Stevens meant to endow his hero with in the symbolic guise of
 Crispin it is a certainty that Stevens brings him to light as stripped as 
possible in "The World without Imagination". He is placed in a state where

It was not so much the lost terrestrial
The snug hibernal from that sea and salt,
That century of wind in a single puff.
What counted was mythology of self,
Blotched out beyond unblotching. 

The highly connotatively named hero is not only enraptured by Stevens romantic
 seas, but immediately of an allegorical status as Stevens sweeps him clean 
in a "century of wind". He is a figure of some mystery as well since Stevens 
rhetorically asks us to name "this short-shanks', this "skinny sailor". After
 the previously identified allusion to Jonson's porpoises, the second stanza 
is concluded with another Elizabethan reference from "The Tempest" as a crusading
 Crispin is disenfranchised by the sea's "Polphony beyond his baton's thrust." 
Crispin's failure to master the sea is not the dilemma of Prospero however, 
since Crispin is abdicating nothing, merely at a loss at sea, and with his 
imaginings  of the New World he will encounter. Unimaginatively pushing forward
 Crispin senses but fails to realize the mythological figure of Triton. Stevens 
feels Crispin is "dissolved" along with the floundering figure from mythology, 
but his drowning is figurative and relates to Crispin's inability to cope with 
the vastness of his imagination, i.e. the sea. The familiar objects of Crispin's
 are not at sea, his original "barber's eye" is at a loss:

The imagination, here, could not evade,
In poems of plum., the strict austerity
Of one vast., subjugating, final tone. 

The changes in personality wrought by the crossing momentarily expel from 
Crispin's mind his ruses and visions of "salad beds".. he must confront 
himself on the blank plane of sea and face imagination devoid of his familiar 
reality. Stevens leaves his sea in the first section one of mystery, something
 questioned and unmediated toward any finality.

Although Stevens language could be considered harsh enough in the first section 
to have irrevocably changed the hero's perception and reality, and destroy him, 
we find Crispin revived within nine lines in "Concerning the Thunderstorms of 
Yucatan". Crispin still has his eye on the "salad beds"., only now he has been 
"made vivid by the sea", with a renewed belief in himself; "Into a savage color 
he went on." At this point the comic resiliency of Crispin is first revealed, 
and it is no doubt due to his original acquisitive intents. He pays no mind to 
the "Maya sonneteers", who Harold Bloom theorizes to have been the Harvard 
poets of Stevens' time: Stickney, Lodge, and Santayana,  "... who despite 
American reality 'still to the nightbird make their plea."' 5 . 


Stevens' hero is not of the nature to fall into a romanticist swoon after a 
shattering and revealing exposure to pure imagination at sea. Bloom feels,, 
"But Crispin-Stevens wasmore in the Emerson-Whitmanian Native Strain, 
'to destituteto find/ In any commonplace the sought-for aid." 6.  
Stylistically Stevens rejected older forms he was skilled at in Poetry, and 
symbolically Stevens sought to make Crispin more of a characterthan was 
possible in the traditional forms and their inherentdramatic devices. 
Stevens style makes use of the highs and lowsof emotion, and rejects a 
tone as subjugatingly flat as the sea,which Crispin as well rejects as 
he is first introduced to hisnew terrestrial state. A traditionalist 
would argue that Stevenswas incapable of a sustained tonal effort along 
the lines of "Il Penseroso", but the risings and fallings of  "Sunday Morning"
make it clear he had indeed developed his own style that made
best use of positive and negative imagery, depressed and elated 
emotions. "The Comedian as the Letter C" , a bafflement to some.,
can be seen as the stage where a romantic, in the linguistic sense
long poem  has been expanded, updated, and adapted by a modern poet
to achieve a dramatic-comic effect.

How well Crispin takes to the New World environment and,
"How greatly had he grown in his demesne,/ This auditor of insects!"
Stevens now resolves his question following the original "Nota:" ,
where he asks., ".... is this same wig/  Of things, this nincompated
pedagogue..,/ Preceptor to the sea?" Indeed, Crispin was not.
Stevens hero revels in an earthy and male reality in Yucatan.
Crispin notes the large billed "green toucan".. the "raspberry
tanager in palms,/ High up in orange air." Edward Kessler invested
much effort in translating Stevens color imagery to tell us -
"...green has been the color of natural life and physical sensation..." 7.
.through most of Stevens. He also verifies red (orange) to
be blood and love, man and woman; as they are in the court
tradition, so they usually hold for Stevens. Crispins sensations
reawaken as he chooses to write "his couplet yearly to the spring"
than join the Mayan sonneteers. Stevens does not deceive us in
promoting any idea that he would like to ride upon perfected
classical or romantic styles, though a first look at his form
on the page may say differently. If we take Bloom's lead on who
the Mayans are, the world Crispin enters is satisfying in the
rejection of the traditional. Crispin's conception of the New
World is conscious and full of reality, despite intellectual
and emotional "rucks."
He was in this as other freemen are,
Sonorous nutshells rattling inwardly.
His violence was for aggrandizement
And not for stupor., such as music makes
For sleepers halfway waking.

Following onward through the second stanza Stevens presents
Crispin's imagination, the 'mind above a continent;'., as that
of the first explorers of the New World, and as he might have
conceived his own poetical efforts to those of the Mayans.
However, as the "Maya sonneteers" seem an aside as the poem is
looked at as a whole, it is more important to interpret Crispin's 
"couplets" and "fables" as a metaphorical vehicle equated to history, 
elaborated as "an aesthetic tough"... "Green barbarism." Focusing on 
the "fables" as the central concept in question in Part II enhances 
the reappearance of Crispin's writings, as they appear again modified 
in Part IV as his "prolegomena." To read Crispin's reports as those of 
the earliest explorers of America seems implied in the language which 
is exhuberant throughout the long second stanza. What Crispin catechized 
is a report reminiscent of the fabulous tales returning to Europe about
America. The more reflective Stevens introduces as a foreshadowing of 
the colony later in the poem:

Crispin foresaw a curious promenade
Or, nobler, sensed an elemental fate,
And elemental potencies and pangs
And beautiful barenesses as yet unseen,

A sense of destiny is at work in Crispin the missionary despite
the fabulous natural wealth he has found which Stevens sums up
as "a jostling festival ... too juicily opulent." Outside the
flamboyant natural descriptions Stevens is definitely moving
the reader and Crispin to other than sensual or imaginative con-
clusions as the thunderstorm in which the hero's mystical rev-
elation appears comes "like a gasconade of drums", evoking an
image of the march.

In the thunderstorm, "in the cathedral with the rest",
Stevens adds another modification to his missionary hero. The
change at sea gave Crispin a cleared and renewed perception of
reality, the "exquisite thought" in the cathedral has modified
Crispin's acquisitive purpose. The vaguely lost and anticipative
figure is coming into awareness of his new location. The original 
purpose of discovering America, in the historical sense, is
being set aside with Crispin's realization of the power he now
possesses. Whatever religious or political purposes and concepts
he would have established in America have changed.
                           His mind was free
             And more than free, elate, intent, profound
             And studious of a self possessing him,
             That was not in him in the crusty town
             From which he sailed.

The geographical landscape and elements that Stevens just
animated now animate his hero in a vast vision of "mountainous
ridges, purple balustrades", and his voice cries loudly as the
thunder. Stevens leaves the fact that Crispin is still on the
move practically understood through the imagery, and
merely states the west lay beyond. Crispin moves on skipping the leg
of his tour to Cuba mentioned earlier and in the poem, the alteration
suggesting the gelling of a new concept of the western hemisphere
for Crispin.

Part III, "Approaching Carolina" presents the least action
in the modification of the allegorical hero. Stevens calls this
to our attention by asking us to "leave room" in "The book of
moonlight." At this point, throughout part three, we have Stevens
discourse on the imagination and a redefinition of his attitude
toward the romantic tradition. Although Crispin is still a dreamer,
or idealistic missionary, he
                         never could forget
        That wakefulness or mediating sleep
        In which the sulky strophes willingly
        Bore up, in time the somnolent, deep songs.

Stevens "mind above a continent" is considered in two different
climates. The America that "was always north to him" contemplated
as contrast to the sensual tropics he has recently departed. The
two climates can be interpreted as Stevens" two theories of poetry
presented in The Necessary Angel.

   'It is primarily a discipline of rightness. The poet is 
constantly concerned with two theories. One relates to the imagination 
as a power within not so much to destroy reality at will as to put it
 to his own uses. He comes to feel that his imagination is not wholly 
his own but that it may be part of a much larger, much more potent 
imagination, which is his affair to try to get at," and "The second 
theory relates to the imagination as a power within him to have such
 insights into reality as will make it possible for him to be sufficient
 as a poet in the very center of consciousness." 8. 

      As Crispin can be found moving with purpose into Carolina
 "Perhaps the Artic moonlight really gave/ The liason, the blissful liason.
/ Between himself and his environment,/ Which was, and is, chief motive, 
first delight." The instilling of purpose, the awakening to an intellect-
ually cool environment, is Stevens' way of representing an active and matur-
ing imagination. In the tropics Crispin went into the color ignoring tradition
 and arrived at "the very center of consciousness", and sensuality, and was 
too pleased and contained by it. In the north Crispin again ignores the "
niggling nightingale" but feels his mind more at work and imaginative, 
and stimulated by the use of his imagination he becomes "The poetic hero 
without palms."  When spring destroys his "Morose chiaroscuro, gauntly 
drawn" it is "A time abhorrent to the nihilist/ Or searcher for the fecund 
minimum." And so it is for the adherent of the first theory presented 
above. As Crispin is bound to settle at making a home in the higher latitudes,
 we may well draw a conclusion as to which theory of poetry Stevens might 
have preferred, as well as which is the operative motivation in "The Comedian
 as the Letter C".In the north the imagination is a "gemmy marionette" 
of spring and Stevens holds the strings directing it to the errantness 
of the "essential prose." The visual and sensual south now is abandoned 
and the missionary zeal directed toward fences and railroad tracks. As to
 now refined imagination, "It made him see how much/ Of what he saw he 
never saw at all."

The figurative soil of Carolina becomes Crispin's intelligence, 
and in what almost seems a sigh of relief Stevens tells us "That's better." 
Becoming indigenously American, missionary zeal is now portrayed as devoid, 
if not resentful, of the romantic traditions in literature: law, the king, 
and devotion to formulized truth. The "new intelligence" in "prose/ More 
exquisite than any tumbling verse," will be the basis for the founding of
the colony. The writings of the allegorical hero again regain focus as 
Part IV "The Idea of a Colony" progresses. His first writings for the colony are
 
                    central hymns, the celebrants 
                  Of rankest trivia, test of the strength 
                  Of his aesthetic, his philosophy,
                  The more invidious, the more desired.

To break from "stale intelligence" animosity is necessary 
to make a colony one's own. If Stevens is not making his statement, 
Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, and on the way those 
documents struck the entrenched powers in colonial times, he is 
commenting on modern verse's impact on the literary tradition and 
society. As these documents registered and became steering
notions for the colony, a statement "more bellicose., came on."
It is interesting that Stevens should call the Constitution
a "prolegomena" in this poem in the midst of such a playful
discursion on Americas origins. The imagination has definitely
been of the nature that adheres and readheres to reality in the
long block of 75 lines that starts "The Idea of a Colony".. but
the use of "prolegomena" brings to mind the strictures of Kant's
"Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics", and the German mind of
the budding industrial revolution and modern scientific age.
Crispints and Stevens' comic interpretation of the constitution
is only half "new intelligence",  because Stevens sees Crispin
inscribing laws of "commingled souvenirs and prophecies."
These concerns with the dynamics of  the political and artistic
are a reoccurring concept for Stevens. Twenty years later his
adhering and vital imagination, for him reality, is yet concerned
with vast sweeps of time and world such as is Crispin 's 'mind
above a continent.
The Russians followed the Victorians, and the Germans
in their way, followed the Russians. The British Empire,.
directly or indirectly, was what was left and as to
that one could not be sure whether it was a shield or
a target. Reality then became violent and so remains. 9'

Stevens comic discussion of the American mentality and
it's place in the vast sweep of things is mixed with the soil
it sprang from throughout Part IV. Crispin's writing, still
underlaid by an old ethic, seems an organizational catchall for
the diversity of the hemisphere's inhabitants. "Abhorring Turk
as Esquimau", the missionary forms his own new indigenous esthetic.
A strict conversion to the old staleness is out. A Georgian
native for Crispin needs to be a "pine spokesman", the Floridian
"Should prick thereof, not on the psaltery.,/ But on the banjo's
categorical gut." Stevens is giving qualities to an America
bold in it's newness in comparison to a slowly self-restructuring
vision of history from the Old World. A fixed ecclesiastical order
will not do for America any more than would the chaotic rule of
mescal bibbling natives. The phenomena of synthesis is Crispin's
ordering principle. He can be seen as a conceptual overlord of a
dawning new era, but with enough sense of order to police the
action as he has "Shrewd novitiates/ (Should) be the clerks of
our experience." Crispin learns the diversity and opportunity
fortunately can be controlled. Stevens' vital imagination keys on
substance as an ordering principle, and mere appearances of ideas
as well as leaders are suspect.
He could not be content with counterfeit.,
With masquerade of thought, with hapless words
That must belie the racking masquerade.,
With fictive flourishes that preordained
His passion's permit, hang of coat, degree
Of buttons., measure of his salt. Such trash
Might help the blind, not him, serenely sly.
It irked him beyond patience.
America, as Crispin., is "an aspiring clown" a dreamer., but a
dreamer realistic enough to dream "in a gingerly way." The three
lines standing out at the end of  "The Idea of a Colony" fix the
realism of Crispin's efforts. His play on the world stage is not
to be a rehash of past history covered up with a blue sky         
commerciality intent on cheating the American continent of it's 
destiny. His definition of himself, his writings, are not to be 
in vain. "No, no: veracious page on page, exact."

    In "A Nice Shady Home" Stevens starts to bemoan the American 
image he has breathed too much hope into. To this point he has 
elaborated on the vitality of the American manifest destiny, and 
writing in the early twenties seems to recognize that a new tone 
must be recognized in a realistic definition of Crispin's place 
in the sweep of time and history. Boundaries are being set up; 
and Stevens seems to feel the success of the colony has taken 
some degree of initiative from the "pricking realist" and his 
internal debates "Of was and is and shall or ought to be", have 
dulled his acquisitive desires that kept his earlier imaginary eye
 fixed on "salad beds". Success has limits as well as the imagination. 
Stevens seems to favor the earlier quixotic enterprise of Crispin 
and feels he may have been able to "jig his chits" on a loftier 
level "on a cloudy knee," or have made more of his efforts than 
he has. Chits are again a reference to Crisrin's writings, a naval
 term meaning a request for a favor or franchise. Joseph N. Riddell
 seems to have contextually read this through the last use of the 
word in the final section, and calls them " ... his relations-the 
chits, and his relations with and to the world-..." 10.  Most of 
the other critics interpret chit as sprout, young girl, or 'promissory
 note. After a long symbiosis in Part IV a paper interpretation 
seems appropriate. After his, i.e., Stevens, experience on the 
waterfront in New York, and through his insurance dealings, and 
law training the request interpretation
of the word chit was probably not unknown to him. The image is
the first calling down to earth of Stevens' allegorical "mind
above the continent." Crispin "Slid from his continent by slow
recess/ To things within his actual eye, alert/ To the difficulty
of rebellious thought/ When the sky is blue." Crispin now will
be presented primarily as having filled out his territory as
well as any singular missionary can colonize. His territory

Confined him, while it cosseted, condoned,
Little by little, as if the suzerain soil
Abashed him by carous to humble yet
Attach.

Stevens is coming to grips with reality which an unconstrained
imagination only let him experience  in Yucatan. Control of the
imagination extends itself to control of reality, and through
the process of developing this allegory Stevens is leading us
to a realization that tempers imagination with the real.
 
Two consecutive stanzas end in word plays: First, "Of shall or 
ought to be in is", and "what is is what should be." The flowing
 rollicking verse is broken intentionally twice, and the structures
 cause a reader to think again, to pause. Stevens is pointing out a 
denouement here no doubt, and focusing on a teleologized philosophy. 
The remaining imagery in the poem will be more definitional than 
symbiotic. Crispin's philosophy is now congealing in these first 
two stanzas of Part V., and Stevens puts it in a questioning voice. 
Crispin is not to step out of the bounds of his "matinal continent" 
as his roots are taking hold, "So Crispin hasped on the surviving form."
 In establishing his home Crispin's overexhuburant imagination is 
channeled to more productive enterprise. Stevens harks back to his 
most famous early poem in the image of the rejected plans of 
"Loquacious columns by the ructive sea." In sonnet IX of a series 
published in May 1899 Stevens contemplated the theme "Cathedrals 
are not built along the sea." 11  

"The Comedian as the Letter C" could practically
be developed as an examination and expansion of Stevens'
concept of the imagination from that earlier date. "Even at this
earlier time he considered the limits of the imagination and
states in the sonnet that if cathedrals were constructed in
panoramic settings "those who knelt within the gilded stalls/
Would have vast outlook for their weary eyes." The sonnet
written for the philosopher George Santayana, arrives in sixteen lines
at what "The Comedian as the Letter C"  does in ten pages, with
all the comic and dramatic statements left out of course.

A dwelling and a bride arrive rather abruptly from
the midst of the allegorical tract, comically arriving in some
what of a deus ex machina fashion, in a way noting the point at
which Stevens feels a matured imagination can handle them. The
landscape is still animated Stevens style, as a "cabin shuffled up"
in a place where crickets are custodians. A Crispin intellectually
satisfied by his colony can now forsake the intellectual for a more
physical husbandry. What he loses in visionary energy he gains
in physical rewards. The ancient missionary discovers that there
is indeed life in Gaul, that does not need the rigors of philo-
sophy.
the quotidian
Like this, saps like the sun, true fortuner.
For all it takes it gives a humped return
Exchequering from piebald fiscs unkeyed.

In Part VI "And Daughters with Curls" the language is
again lively and raucous, after the first stanza setting rather
musically the active harmony Crispin has settled into. The
majority of critics find Crispin's adaptation to the quotidian as
somewhat of a failure in not realizing fulfillment of his original
premise, but nowhere in the verse, and definitely not in the first
stanza of Part VI, does the author himself forward that theory.
Although on a literary level we see Stevens settling more into
his second theory of imagination provided above, it is hard to tell
where this notion developed. Stevens again never distinguishes a
superior position for either in his essay, he simply presents them
without a moral elucidation to favor one or the other, other than
in my reading of the Carolina section. I think the consensus that
Stevens meant to indict the imagination, applying it to everyday
"midwifery",  is reinforced by the imagery used to describe life
in Crispin's cabin. Also, Stevens may be making a comic contrast
by changing his use of the word chits from the legal to human context 
in the final section as if to say these are the products of philosophy. 
Or, on the other hand setting up a huge mysterious imagery in the 
discussion of his daughters. After all his wife is barely mentioned, 
and the daughters get well over a page. We could set up an analogy of 
the wife as the continent and the daughters the product of it. Similar 
analyses have been attempted due to the animation Stevens had tenaciously
 developed as the reality for the poem as a whole. Does Stevens ask for 
such an interpretation in this description; "True daughters both of Crispin
 and his clay."? 

The daughters are widely interpreted to be the seasons in almost
 every critical work on "The Comedian as the Letter C".  James Baird 
develops the most imaginative conclusions on the four daughters who 
are for him the centuries of his history on American shores: the first.,
 in a "capuchin" cloak and hood (the mien of a Puritan wife); the second,
 in a half-awakened state (a tentative national consciousness, as the 
eighteenth century advances'; the third., "a creeper under jaunty leaves 
('leaves" of an emerging American poetry of the nineteenth century); 
the fourth, still "pent", the one not yet fully grown (the inception of
 the twentieth). 12. 

Although Stevens gives us no clue to draw any conclusions such 
as the interpretation just wrung from the bulk of the poem above, we can
provide ideas to solve Stevens' mysticism. Considered from the viewpoint
of an American consciousness and imagination adhering and readhering to 
reality, the first daughter might be made out to be an early central 
constitutional America operating in a religious capuchin cloak, the second
 a not fully awakened or fulfilled industrial revolution, the third a 
symbol of American world power, that in the time the poem was written was
 a "creeper under jaunty leaves" of the history book, and the fourth a
figure something like today's technology in his time still "pent"., 
"mere blusteriness that gewgaws jollified." Another interpretation, 
relating back to Crispin's writings of which so much of the poem was 
focused on, could give credence to an expansion.of the daughter imagery 
as to the four major components of American government; the judicial, 
executive, administrative, and military/industrial. Such parallel 
structures tax the inventors imagination and are hard to cull from 
the poem as the only evidence, but the imagery of the daughters is 
there in the poem and included to draw speculative thinking from the reader. 

A strict allegorical representation and interpretation of the 
symbolic nature of the daughters would be nice, but it seems they should be
 left as a mystery and  seem such an obtuse part of the poem. Who, or 
whatever they are, their appearance contributes greatly to the comic 
atmosphere of the poem. Perhaps they are the comic puzzle of an original 
imagination tossed into the unbridled sea of the first section, a statement
 reaffirming the need to let ancient Triton drown, and find our own mythology
 about us. Crispin is not displeased by his daughters who "spread 
chromatics in hilarious dark." They are a sounding board for his philosophies
 and his colony's constitution., "Four questioners and four sure answerers.
"  Possibly one will take up Crispin's quest where he left off, at 
the least Crispin is still learning by observing his progeny at play, 
and from the play, "Crispin concocted doctrine from the rout." Although 
Stevens comically tells us he wishes to demolish the idealism of Crispin 
for once and for all in the last stanza, and this is where much of the 
negatively colored criticism originates, Crispints idealism, his "turnip",
 is  "sown again by the stiffest realist", and is "reproduced in purple,
family font." The serenely sly clown of Part IV is still in Crispin even 
at the very end of the poem, only now geographically motionless and settled
 down, he still is a man to make a "Disguised pronunciamento", "But muted,
 mused and perfectly revolved." Now he has gained dignity through his 
"sweating changes.'; he has changed from the "musician of pears' to the
 one who can make the "sounds of music" come into accord 

Upon his law, like their inherent sphere,, 
Seraphic proclamations of the pure 
Delivered with a deluging onwardness. 

But as a conclusion to this majestic harmony Stevens 
steps back to moralize on his hero's quest with some pith and irony 
giving him negative attributes as "Fickle and fumbling, variable, obscure",
 quixotically gorging his fancy with apparition and "proving what he 
proves/ Is nothing." This last doubt consciously placed at the very end
 to intensify a contrast to the positively developing movement of the 
whole poem and accentuate the breadth of wisdom Crispin has acquired. 
The wisdom Crispin as garnered from the quest seems to answer the question,
 "what can all this matter since/ The relation comes, benignly, to its end?
" Considering the richness of the life Stevens presented through his hero 

Crispin we gladly-echo Stevens, "So may the relation of each man be clipped."


                       FOOTNOTES

1. The Necessary Angel: Essays on Reality and the Imagination.,
by Wallace Stevens, c. 1951 . Knopf New York. p. 22
2. ibid. 1. p. 22
3.Wallace Stevens-The Making of Harmonium, by Robert Buttel,c.1967
Princeton niversity Press, Princeton, New Jersey., p. 197,
4. ibid. 3. p. 197
5. Wallace Stevens-The,.Poems of 0ur Climate ,  by Harold Bloom,
c.-19 , Cornell university Press, Ithaca , New York p.75
6. ibid 5. p.75
7. Images of Wallace Stevens, by Edward Kessler, c. 1972.,
Rutgers University Press, NewBrunswick, New Jersey
8. ibid. 1. p.115
9. ibid. 1. D.26
10. The Clairvoyant Eve:The Poetry and Poetics of Wallace Stevens,
by Joseph N. Riddell c. lub.b, Louisiana State University Press-.,
Baton Rouge, Louisiana I P.101
11. Souvenirs and-Prorhecies-The Young,Wallace Stevens by Holly
Stevens, c. 1977, A2red A . Knopf, New York
12. The Dom e and The Rock-Structure of the Poetry of Wa11ace Stevens
by James Baird., The John Hopkins Press, Baltimore, Maryland 1968
p.202
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(Before the cremation of a fallen failed hero his widow performed a ritual involving wailing over a putrefied headless goat before the temple.)

            Part One

     Through a gold veil
of honest glow I can see her kneel.
     I smell the blossoming stench
of the putrid ripe headless goat corpus
of this Greek widow,
      As if I am there on her day,
there in the public square....
hearing her lamentations.

Considering the other archaic superstitions
   this curse stone I find seems a blessing
in my womb of silent viewing
   as I live and dream there
        grasping the stone.

    Most others drift wraithlike through
the columns around kouroi
    colorful of paint, the
wraiths wisp veiled laconically
          trailing fine wraps.
In my hand the curse stone
    begs a look to see if her husband’s
           name was etched,
I see her face turn maidenly
    after a long wretching wail
as if the blood runs within
    to a spot that cures.

Her face begs for love,
she not knowing from whom
in this fateful fit of loss.
      She transcends to timeless
loveliness,
    the loss vanishes.
      Contingencies of her future plight
unclench the wailing mind,
     just for that time frozen instant.
The time had come to
  unclench my fist, her
    admiring songtresses
       name I see....
The one whose eyes dwelt so longingly
       one her frame,
          the fruitlike curves,
             the chiseled hips
                the strong supple thighs.

The widow breaks at the waist convulsing,
    as the reality seizes again that
tormented loss torn mind,
      again she wails,
    Nothing like music,
Tearing animal sound.

      Next week all gather to
glow in Saturn’s song, she’ll
   sit quite at a loom.
not even as worthy as the gay
   helots of Sion and Susia
dismissed from temple chores.


        Part Two


Asking you to sit, I ask:
“What do you see
     when you close your eyes
to relax your mind,
      to feel your being’s core.
What satisfies, what is your
     prize? Why were you?” - -
One question that matters.

That matters even with the
   competitive conquering animus
       fully in you actor
             in this play.

Rearing a spawn, a class replicating
   your belief matrix, so you
will lord over their mentations,
   titillating the spawn with your
ontogeny, risive in the
   pitfalls, the pitfalls beggaring
and goading this day.

Each passage and rite set
   to further enable the visage
within cherished like
    immortality of original
           thought.

Transports, mechanisms of
   aggrandized transcendent
plays and devices, demands stridently,
   schreechingly for courtly tributes,
untarnished and self-building
   superhuman image unbound to time
or creature, the distillation of
   the childish eidolon, the stable
cleaning and sweeping.

Orbs covered by lids
     and seeing - -
the self, yes.
   a finis, or encore - -
         choose.

   There are none you can help,
no villain to quash,
no villainies to note,
   the orbs are sheathed and you
look within.

Matter to yourself, the treasure
   will not feed them all,
Consider that withiness,
   there is your matter.


          Part Three


And now - - washed for
bread, all without now
open-eyed the holy, you
and your life.

All those dreams that chased
you here, look around they
are gone.

Choose the freedom. look
not for those slayers of yesterday
who chased you. Your adversary fled.
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Glad to be in the USA with the ability to vote? Let us all hope we all see some value in mass societal response to our governments, whatever they actually may be.  READ ON BELOW  PHERBERTP lives on in our world even today !!!
176,517 readers  as of today


Past Lives <---------TITLE for non-reader sorts of photog clods

I was an Austrian lord,
I was an American cowboy,
In the meantime, as we explore
These mental senses the friendly
Fascist puts out the word no new
Political realities will be poetically extolled.
And I burned like David seeing himself
Shimmering in sensuality like a gratified whore
And I had to take so much shit from
Emptied creeps that only moved up to
Petty bourgouis in their minds and
A typical popular comic thundered London
Through a reggae flu, I say she'll thunder London
When she looks in the Messiah's face  too.
Grade A Gethesmene did not hurt her she
said, but her day took a week and only
For dues for the blues, her mouth tried to vow.
Would it be college student sex,
Represented as a human paradigm that is
nulling and voiding so many good relationships?
We scientifically can advance man
Forward to the moral "good", into modern
Existence is the premise.

Calve shakra - ballerina on point.

Before the big bang did intelligence move and dance
In a homogeneous nuclear sea sort of
Clean and etched into enough opaqueness
To hide the glassness in the high
Pressure state before supernova.
The perception of a juggler, earthbound and flatfooted
The gastropods at last pulling up the right knee,
Imagines a woman feeling woolen garments with her mouth
Fantasizing the kaliedoscope of colors  in his coat.
The Captain asks, "How many parrots can you,
Fit in a box?"  and white rage contemplates
This and how it fits in with comfortable
Retirement, watching his counterpart in the opera
Black rage wail before the curtain pulling
Handles on regulations and dancing with
The details and programmed sociology.
The juggler moans, dying, aspirating,
"I die - tiring of playing my life as
The lead in 'Shame of the Saint'!"

It is of course their world and he
Views the vanity of his days so
Clearly in recognition of how
The world turns, functions as a machine,
Devoid in clear reality of superstitious plays
On the emotions, he sees reality created for the fools.

Rock facisti intone in dark ceremonies singing
The old Hymn somehow fading out in
The television minds to gain more control
By use of new clinical exposes.
The Blues get hymnlike, no glissandoes,
And play on paper at destroying the world
You thought so much of yourself, and the
Seeing yourself  in it on prearranged paths
Where  manikins  leap forth starkly;
Opinionated, watching, reopining.

http://pherbertpauthor.org/page13.php
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174,234 at pherbertpauthor.org:
Now they must spin the web
of boredom on all they see,
the tide of critical glibness must ebb,
groping thier hated object for thier creativity.

Belief in disbelief turns into a well
of deep turmoil called no belief,
a place where tongues lash out
and comes to tell us, "I did well",
as our mental despot from our podium
chides all that gather about.

As heavy as his cabachon vestal robe
must be, the despot's tongue should slow
just some; the despot has his rope
but has not hung hinself making his show.

The despot's distorted lens makes a past,
just to bother me like an untaken test.
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Hello! I seem to have adjusted a glitch in the BLOG on pherbertpauthor.org, NOW 26 Aug I have 172,333 visits. Here is a post of an audio DIARY excerpt from my site. "Where I saw my Golden Eagle" The bird was chasing a rodent in front of the car, I almost bagged it! :::
http://www.pherbertpauthor.org/DSS_FLDD/DSS_FLDD%20-%20Copy/WS_10215.WMA
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OK OK OK....you will see the WMA file Download when click my g+ link. STEP # 2: click the download to listen. 
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paul prochnow

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When is the lat time you listened to a lecture on poetry by somone you do not know ?    http://www.pherbertpauthor.org/DSS_FLDD/Diary%2005%20and%20Speakpad/mp3s/essays/Stevens%20Essay.wav

Want some text to go with? Nicely done footnotes to chase?

20.1 
I have to be a poop and include a portion of this critique for those who wonder who PP is and what he has done and could or will do. I want you to get a good copy of this, really I do, and I want it to be complete. The thing is, it is complete on my discEbook, available with your proper and complete order on a order form available my other site, PPsphere.The link is at the end as usual. This piece will get you into lit crit if you are not and you will learn a great deal from having your own copy. I read essays on Wordsworth, and Keats' "Lamia" and also an essay on art in American culture in an essay entitled "American Losers"-----this is all on the discEbook.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 
SLIDE THAT MESSAGE BAR OVER WAY TO THE LEFT SO IT LOOKS LIKE IT SHOULD****LIKE IT WERE ON A PIECE OF PAPER 
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Paul H. Prochnow

Wallace Stevens 
!'The Comedian as the Letter C" 
A Mind Above a Continent 

"The Comedian as the Letter C" the most dramatic if not the most ambitious work in the whole of the poetry of Wallace Stevens. The majority of the critical exegeses of Stevens' pivotal work concern themselves with analysis of the work as a framework in which the poet has worked up an incomprehensible extended 
metaphor of the imagination and reality. Some have re-extended, from textual evidence this permeating analysis or interpretation, to include Stevens and his poetic capabilities. Only a few have considered the possibility that Stevens may have been risking the didactic in willfully constructing an allegory. 

The majority are undoubtedly correct considering the pervasive dawn of the stream of consciousness school of poetry Stevens was familiar with, and the French school of "pure" poetry which was highly touted at the time. The evidence of any such rationale for "The Comedian as the Letter C" provided by the author himself are scarce and ambiguous prior to the poem's conception, so the concept 
that "The Comedian as the Letter C" is a summing up of Harmonium is a highly logical and natural assumption, and one that an overwhelming number of critics have 
lionized.

In considering Stevens as an individual described by his biographical informationand through his letters, and described by his early poetry and literary studies, and considering 
that the poem was written by a man whose life was stable and comfortable, a life which could forego exhibiting himself on a metaphorical level in the public's eye, I find myself in the minority that would favor an allegorical interpretation of "The Comedian as the Letter C". This may be especially true since Stevens arrogantly might cast himself as the of the literary priest, 
or professor, delivering an "Academic Discourse at Havana" to the literary scene of his time. 

In The Necessary Angel Stevens explains how he sees the imagination at work.

"What happens is that it (the imagination) is always 
attaching itself to a new reality, and adhering to it. 
It is not that there is a new imagination but that 
there is a new reality. 1."

Imagination is a power in most of Stevens essays that illuminates reality and can be seen as a possibly overwhelming force in unconstrained, but a power that he knows the uses of and can be shaped to a poets ends.

"He must be able to abstract himself, and also to abstract 
reality, which he does by placing it in his imagination. 
He knows he cannot rise up loftily in helmet and armor 
on a horse. 2."

In the light of these definitions of Stevens on the relationship of the imagination to reality it seems difficult to 
re-echo the theme of so many critics who see Stevens ululating on 
the literary stage at the loss of his creativity. Stevens imagination is a conduited force, in this instance poured into the 
character of Crispin, who is made much larger than a persona of 
Stevens floundering in life. Stevens gives evidence that Crispin 
is a giant in the "moonlight",

Tho, in the hubbub of his pilgrimage 
Through sweating changes, never could forget 
That wakefulness or meditating sleep, 
In which the sulky strophes willingly 
Bore up, in time, the somnolent, deep songs. 
Leave room, therefore, in that unwritten book 
For the legendary moonlight that once burned 
In Crispin's mind above a continent.

Stevens drags Crispin through more than the moonlight imagery in 
'The Comedian as the Letter C", and geographically moves him superhuman distances in a supposedly imaginative quest. Extending a literary figure, or persona I to the above limits is a comic and a broad hint by Stevens that Crispin's essence is more than human and that his experience is larger than human span. The interpretation of Crispin's mask as those of Beaumarchis' Figaro, and Voltaire's Candide is central in most readings of the poem and at least mentioned in others, and they certainly are the 
structures at work in Stevens presentation of his hero.

Robert Buttel explores the allusive character to the fullest and introduces the factor of "the clown or fop of the English tradition of stage comedy. (3) His parallels between Jonson's "Sir Politic Would-Be" are well drawn. He also notes the borrowing by Stevens of the "Nota:" device, the examination of fleas,I the idea of travel to a new environment., and vaguely the sea imagery. 
"Surely some of this nonsense prompted Stevens' statement, 'the eye of Crispin hung/ On porpoises, instead of apricots.'" (4 )

In literary particulars Stevens dresses Crispin as well as any poet has dressed a character, and the more he 
is explored the deeper the entanglement with the richness of language and symbology becomes. Since the character Crispin is studied from the third person entirely his description assumes top priority. In "The Comedian as the Letter C" the thinness of plot that moves Crispin enriches his blankness and despair as an active character, because he has only perceptions and 
attributes and nothing to say. But Crispin needs an even broader interpretation to take the reader from the morass of futility Crispin seems to work himself into. Crispin is described in a better way through the geography of the poem, the literary jumble of allusions chalked up on Crispin's blank slate are 
therefore the comic effect, and for adjectival moralizing, and hide the motive force of the poem.

In adopting the most ancient Crispin as the Crispin Stevens intended for the main character, we never learn for certain from Stevens himself, the poem can be made to adhere somewhat closer to reality. The friendly unabridged dictionary will inform us that Crispin is Saint Crispin, Roman missionary to Gaul, and patron saint of the shoemakers. As a classically trained literary scholar 
Stevens knew well of the old Roman Empires difficulties in subjugating the populations to the north through his readings in Caesar. A missionary's work is a noble one and surely one of the imagination, although shoemaking is not an especially lofty occupation. In the course of ten pages Stevens did not 
mean to bat about the comic value of that image, and the base humor is an elite literary humor playing with Crispin as the opera hero and the rest.

However, Crispin is very much a missionary, not traveling to Gaul, but to America. It is funny to see the operatic barber, or "Sir Politic Would-Be" stepping on a ship to America, but none of these characters are broad enough 
to sustain the ten pages of shocks that Stevens administers to his hero. To do all that Crispin would need the changability of a Lamia, and even in the comic atmosphere it would be hard to accept as an agreeable conclusion to have such a grotesqueness personified settling down in a nice shady home.


The simple concept of the missionary Crispin, full of the spiritual freedom of Christianity, or of a modernistic national imagination, attempting to apply 
his utopian principles to the geography of the New World will supply a certain coherency to Crispin's character, which can be symbolized as the pioneer, the poetic imagination, or the Cristian nation state of Eliot's "Choruses from 'The Rock'".
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Gizmodo: Windows 10 May Have Gotten Its Name Because of Lazy Coders. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwsOe6vx8
When Windows 10 got announced, there was one immediately glaring question: Why Windows 10? Maybe for the extra distance from 8, but a Redditor who claims to be a Microsoft dev has a better--and funnier--answer. The name "Windows 9" could break a whole bunch of lazy code.
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174,105, so nearly 2,000 met me more or extended the PP vision a stretch or so. Always wishing to be right there with you. But but but...and yet so this internet does in a way. Curious
......


'Round a Ragged Rock
by
Paul H. Prochnow





Totally enamored with the
    nominal-superficial
The erudite and cultured voice
         loves itself,
And in the self-love seizure
      blindly worships itself,
Running around the ragged rock
      so full of self
The actual point stumbled
      upon would lead to terminal shock.
"Natter On", the natter-on
kissed the mirror
and overlooked the Matterhorn.
.
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Joyous Labor Day, especially to those who do! & don't we all, but writing has been my joy. "You" could pay me for soulless schlock, but someone else is doing that already.

pherbertpauthor.org now has 172,782 visitors. Drop in once you have surfed your regular routine you do. 
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