Anecdote Of The Jar Poem by Wallace Stevens

Anecdote Of The Jar

Rating: 3.5


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.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Ron Lane 11 December 2009

I'm thinking this is about the white man coming to Tennessee and sticking out like a jar on a hill, but having dominion over the wild natives and plants and creatures, and taming them. Like the jar, the white man put himself above nature, and didn't give back.

14 12 Reply
Little Stevie 21 June 2018

You're not seeing the poem. You're looking at it through your own racism.

1 0 Reply
Brittany Tacconi 04 November 2007

Actually this poem explains the relationship between art and the natural world. The jar changes how we perceive nature.

17 8 Reply
Lungelo S Mbuyazi 22 May 2018

Very imaginative and thought provoking....nice write

0 0 Reply
Daniel Sebold 25 June 2016

This reminds me of the two slit experiment in physics where, by placing detectors on the slits, by monitoring reality of incoming photons, they change their behavior. We think we are objectively observing the Universe, but our technology changes the circumstances of the experiment. The technology of the jar changes not only how we perceive nature, but also nature itself. This experiment was well known in Steven's time.

2 0 Reply
John Grant 25 June 2015

Perhaps my favorite poet. But this poem lacks the music, the words, the beauty of poetry. To me, it is not a Zen story; and I don't get the joke. If it's a contrast between human creation and the natural world, it lacks the beauty and complexity of both. I've always found this poem disappointing. Others may know better.

2 3 Reply
Dr. Ip 12 October 2018

Maybe this will help: The student at the bedside of his dying Zen Master asks him: Master, is there anything further I should know? The Master replies: You have learned everything very well. However, there is one thing. The student, eager to learn, says: Oh please Master, tell me what it is! The Master replies: You still stink of Zen.

1 0 Reply
Tim Gregory 13 February 2012

ZACH ZACH ZACH..........hi.

7 16 Reply
Tim Gregory 13 February 2012

Hi Zach. How ya doin?

8 12 Reply
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Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens

Pennsylvania / United States
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