The Idea of Order at Key West Topics for Further Study
by Wallace Stevens

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Topics for Further Study

(Poetry for Students)

Do you agree with the various critical interpretations of the poem? Do you have a different reading? If so, what is the basis for your interpretation of the poem?

Look at some other poems by Stevens, perhaps “Tea at the Palaz of Hoon,” “Farewell to Florida,” and “The Planet on the Table” and explain how and why the poems are similar or different? Be sure to pay attention to both formal and thematic concerns.

Imagine the poem as a painting. What would it look like? Try to describe it as best you can. Does it remind you of any other paintings or photographs, and if so, which ones does it resemble?

To what degree does the form of the poem mirror or compliment the theme of the poem?

What song do you think the woman is singing? Why?

Do you think that Stevens is the speaker of the poem? Do you think he actually experienced something similar?

Why is a song an appropriate metaphor for a poem?