Location: toronto, Canada

Ready to hit the world with everything i got.....

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Anecdote of the Jar

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.

Wallace Stevens

Due to the lecture on Monday and our tutorial I have found an interest in the poetry of Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams. I find that knowing about the poets life in moderation always creates more curiousity and motivation to surround myself in his/her poems. A point that was interesting concerning the poems of Wallace Stevens are his subtle yet full titles, the poem I chose was no exception. "Anecdote of the Jar" is at first glance a strange title, one that begs further contemplation as the words anecdote and jar are usually not placed together in a sentence. An anecdote is mainly a short stroy dealing with a single incident as per Webster's dictionary. So what do we have so far? The story of the jar.
Another characteristic of Wallace Stevens is his undying devotion to finding or discovering beauty in unusual places or uncommon settings. In the first stanza the poems describes the placement of a round jar on a hill in Tennessee. Although I'm not sure of the significance of the setting of Tennessee the jar is able to make wilderness "surround that hill." It's funny how usually we don't notice a common surrounding or respect that surrounding until something is wrong with that environment. A jar in the middle of the wilderness accentuates the wilderness as this simple "bare and gray" object distort or alter our perception or view of an otherwise regular and typical place. Perhaps this is the significance of Tennessee, the fact that Tennessee is as ordinary and plain as any other place.
Wilderness is so fragile that by putting a jar on a hill it no longer can be described as wild. At the moment when wilderness itself is altered slightly or modified by the human hand it is no longer wild as or original as before. At the same time this jar placed on the ground on a hill would be the focal point of the vision. This jar takes "dominion" in that respect, that it owns our eyes and ultimatley our minds as we seek answers or solutions as to what is the purpose of the jar.
Personally I fail to see the beauty or meaning of this poem. I also with no avail, attempted to analyze the poem in terms of literary devices. But the image presented is intriguing to me and I know I will continue to think about this poem after I finish writing this blog.


Blogger Donna_f said...

I really like William Carlos Williams for much of the reasons you mentioned Wallace Stevens. I prefer poetry that is written on the everyday things of life. I think it takes a real talent to be able to do thid, and they both are very successful.

March 27, 2005 at 7:22 AM  
Blogger DunDunDunnn said...

I've done a bit of research on this poem already and it seems to me like the jar is not really a jar, it is a mere representation of mankind and the stuggle for dominance between the two. At the same time it shows man's dependence on nature and the underlying connections in everything.

February 17, 2009 at 3:47 AM  

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