Create a new account

It's simple, and free.

Poems by Wallace Stevens & Robert Frost

The relationship between reality and the world as the human mind conceives it is a major theme in the six poems by Wallace Stevens and Robert Frost under discussion: "Tea at the Palaz of Hoon;" "The Idea of Order at Key West;" "The Course of a Particular;" "An Old Man's Winter Night;" "Once by the Pacific;" and "Desert Places." The two poets see their surroundings in concrete detail in some passages, but in others they show how the human imagination can transform nature and experience.

In "Tea at the Palaz of Hoon," Stevens describes what appears to be an imaginary experience, but shows that it was very vivid to him by describing it in terms of real-life images. The exotic "Palaz of Hoon" probably does not exist in the real world. When Stevens says "he descended... the day... through the loneliest air," he is again describing a fantasy (54). His use of the terms "purple" and "western" convey a sense that his experience actually had a visual reality, however, and "loneliest" suggests that he was so engaged in his experience that it actually aroused this emotion in him (54). Alternatively, since he seems to be arguing with the person addressed as "you" when he says, "Not less because in purple I descended... what you called the loneliest air, not less was I myself," perhaps his absorption in his personal vision gave him a "lonely air" because he appeared to be detached from his surroundings (54).

In the last two stanzas of the poem, he makes it explicit that his experience is the product of his own mind:

I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw

Or heard or felt came not but from myself (55).

In that world, commonplace tea was associated with an exotic "palaz," the splendor of a "purple" descent and the mystic rituals suggested by "ointment" and "hymns" (54-55). Out of his mind, "golden ointment rained" on his beard; his ears imagined the sound of hymns that prosaically "buzzed;" and he was the "com...

Page 1 of 7 Next >

More on Poems by Wallace Stevens & Robert Frost...

APA     MLA     Chicago
Poems by Wallace Stevens & Robert Frost. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:46, April 02, 2023, from