The only & great battle in American art has always been between originality & tradition.

Maybe because America (USA) was the most successful & 1st really self-liberated colony.

This is probably why poetry in America has had so many problems. It wants to best the masters of the past, and at the same time it also wants to sing from the beginning of Time, from the veritable New World.

Thus we have TSE and WCW.

Stevens was probably the most intelligent & subtle of the 20th-cent Am. poets, because he took Keats as his model. Keats was the one who found a balance - an equilibrium - between tradition & origination; Keats was the one who bested Milton, not through Vision (Blake) & not through Wisdom (Wordsworth) but through sheer Lyric (music). & Keats wasn't even American!

Eliot was even more intelligent & subtle; but then Eliot was a professional literary man. Stevens was just an amateur.

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