By Wallace Stevens
I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.
The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.
It took dominion everywhere.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.
Source: Collected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1954)
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Wallace Stevens is one of most significant American poets of the 20th century. The consummate businessman-poet, Stevens had a successful career as a corporate lawyer when his first book of poems, Harmonium, was published in 1923. However, he did not receive widespread recognition from the literary community until the release of his Collected Poems in 1954.
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