“The Idea of Order at Key West” is one of Stevens’ better known poems and the most important poem in the collection Ideas of Order. Some critics think that this poem is one of Stevens’ finest, and many cite it as among the best of his early poetry.
Early critics of the poem tended to praise what they considered a strong transforming imagination, reminiscent of the high romanticism of Keats, Wordsworth, and Shelley. One of Stevens’ first major readers, Frank Kermode, in his book Wallace Stevens, claimed the poem “may stand as a great, perhaps belated,...
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