Eleanor Cook's deeply-learned book (Wallace Stevens : Poetry, Word-Play and Word-War) shows just how much someone with wide reading and a talent for hearing echos & constructions can discover.

& she shows that Helen Vendler & other critics were right to see Stevens as the central American answer to, & inheritor of, the main stream of English poetry.

America's "colonial" status, the long literary rivalry between England & "these states", has meant that Americans are in the (adolescent) position of having both to re-invent the wheel, and to follow their (English) forebears, at the same time. This causes all kinds of Oedipal exaggerations & generational nightmares.

Cook shows just how steeped in Milton & Keats & Shakespeare et al. Stevens is; how they inform the elegant subtleties of poem after poem. But was he a neo-Anglican epigone? I don't think so, Jack.

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