Please identify the elements of Modernism in "The Snow Man" by Wallace Stevens. Thanks A million.

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James Kelley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are probably a number of ways to approach Wallace Steven's short poem "The Snowman" as a modernist piece. Two possibilities are discussed here and two links are given below.

The short piece from National Public Radio piece on the poem characterizes it as a "perfectly balanced mobile" and "a marri[age of] what the poem is about with the way that it is built." This interest in both form and function strikes me as modernist and may be the poetic equivalent of the Bauhaus movement or a reading in line with Cleanth Brooks' collection of essays The Well-Wrought Urn.

A second source, the wikipedia entry given below, quotes and cites a statement by B.J. Legget that the poem demonstrates Stevens' "perspectivism": "instead of facts we have perspectives, none privileged over the others as truer or more nearly in accord with things as they are, although not for that reason all equal." Interest is perspective is not a characteristic solely of the modernist period, but modernist works tend to show a strong interest in radically subjectivities (e.g. Woolf, Joyce, and Faulkner).