Bantams In Pine-Woods Poem by Wallace Stevens

Bantams In Pine-Woods

Rating: 3.0

Chieftain Iffucan of Azcan in caftan
Of tan with henna hackles, halt!

Damned universal cock, as if the sun
Was blackmoor to bear your blazing tail.

Fat! Fat! Fat! Fat! I am the personal.
Your world is you. I am my world.

You ten-foot poet among inchlings. Fat!
Begone! An inchling bristles in these pines,

Bristles, and points their Appalachian tangs,
And fears not portly Azcan nor his hoos.

Barry Middleton 18 November 2013

Can we agree that Chieftain Iffucan of Azcan is a poet? Moreover a very successful one. And that at least Stevens sees him as fat in some sense, pompous, puffed up more than just a bit. The Chieftain may be a particular poet or just successful, egocentric poets in general. Stevens wants him to stop. Or Stevens wants himself to stop being compared or comparing himself to the Chieftain. The exact center of the poem makes its point which is you are you and I am me. I think Stevens is saying he does not and will not imitate the Chieftain. He admits he is an inchling compared to the 10 foot poet but goes on to say he does not fear him and further that he will use what he has, the pine trees to defend himself if needed. The reference to Appalachia reminds me of Anecdote of the Jar where Tennessee is the wilderness. I believe Stevens is saying I am carving new paths in the wilderness and I am a tough little bantam so don't mess with me. And not only does he not fear the fat poet, he also does not fear his hoos - those critics who call out hoo, hoo, hoo as praise. Today we would say woot woot., woot! Stevens loved inventing onomatopoeic words. Finally Ifucan and Azcan seem to echo if you can and as can. Stevens could more plainly said - hey big fat poet, if you can or if you please - stop - do as you can but I will me myself and my poetry will be unique which it certainly is.

1 0 Reply
delilah contrapunctal 13 November 2009

fun, absolutely.... don't know that I've ever read a conjecturely 'review'...and enjoyed it so thoroughly.... thank you, Mr.Stevens...thank you, Mr. Witt........ ah, if I wuz a publisher....

0 1 Reply
LeeAnne Nielsen 03 May 2009

WHY did Wallace Stevens swear in this Poem? Alas, the sad nature of the race of man.

1 3 Reply
Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens

Pennsylvania / United States
Error Success