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“Language poetry, as I understand it, is based on mistrust of such concepts as author, text, and intention; if so, it’s an exaggeration of complexities of which poets have always been aware, and doesn’t justify giving up on the ancient functions of the art and simply diddling. I don’t suppose there’s been a more ‘ludic’ or playful poet than Stevens, who was for a time dismissed as a lightweight ‘dandy’ and who did not appear at all in Bliss Carmen’s hospitable Oxford Book of American Verse back in 1927. But it was Stevens who wrote, ‘How gladly with proper words the soldier dies,’ and who thought of poetry, in a larger sense to which specific poems are tributary, as a culture’s articulate sense of itself. Good poems, I think, release us from inarticulateness, which is a great misery, challenge us to tell the whole truth of ourselves and others, and are taken up into that overarching poetry of which Stevens speaks.”