Wallace Stevens: Poems

Skipping Church on Sunday Morning: An Examination of the Rejection of Systems of Truth in Wallace Stevens’ Poem “Sunday Morning” College

Wallace Stevens, it seems, never spoke a great deal about his poem “Sunday Morning.” Because Stevens gives us very little insight into his own thoughts, it is important to examine the thoughts of other critics before analyzing a poem such as “Sunday Morning.” In an essay titled “Pound/Sevens: Whose Era?” Marjorie Perloff brings together criticism from herself and other critics to paint a picture of Stevens’ views on religion. She references Lucky Beckett, who says that modernist poets such as Stevens are characterized by the study of “belief and value in a world without established systems of truth” (Perloff 3). Another critic, Walton Litz, is more specific in his characterization of Stevens:

Steven’s final mundo is neither eccentric nor private. It is built upon the central reality of our age, the death of the gods and of the great coordinating mythologies, and in their place it offers the austere satisfactions of a 'self' dependent on the pure poetry of the physical world, a 'self' whose terrifying lack of belief is turned into a source of freedom. (Perloff 3)

This idea that Stevens believed that the old systems of truth, such as Christianity, had failed in the modern world and that people should find freedom...

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