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Wallace Stevens, “The Load of Sugar-Cane”

I don’t know Wallace Stevens’s work well but I want to make a few simple comments on “The Load of Sugar-Cane” – a slight piece but one that is weirdly haunting. You can find the text at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Load_Of_Sugar-Cane .

One thing that keeps you rereading it is the elusiveness of the tone. From the start the poem gives off completely contradictory signals in this regard. After the prosaic, factual title the first two lines are both extremely and self-consciously beautiful in their sound patterning:

The going of the glade boat
Is like water flowing.

They can seem almost to beg you … Continue Reading