Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” appeared originally in 1917 and was subsequently published in his first book, Harmonium, in 1923. In a letter, Stevens once wrote that “this group of poems is not meant to be a collection of epigrams or of ideas, but of sensations.” If this is indeed the poet’s intent, the poem provides readers with no fewer than thirteen perspectives or observances about blackbirds, but in those “thirteen ways” is the immeasurable culmination of sensations. Just as the poet’s imagination invites readers to discover the infinite mysteries of the world and how these unify us in unexpected ways, Corinne Jones’ new visual interpretation of Stevens’ poem invites us, again, to re-explore the multiplicity of observation and subsequent knowledge.
This new trade edition, a 10x10 reprint of the original fine arts book, juxtaposes Jones’s beautiful and sensual prints of blackbirds against Stevens’s poetic text. The result is that the life and power inherent in each artwork is increased wonderfully and vibrantly when taken as a whole.