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First published in 1917 this iconic set of 13 stanzas was described in a letter by the poet as a "group of poems ... not meant to be a collection of epigrams or of ideas, but of sensations". Themes surface across many of the stanzas (the nature of beauty, the threat of death, among others) but the blackbird features in a unique way in each. By the final stanza, when the poem returns to a snowy landscape and transforms the blackbird from a focal point of motion to an anchor of stillness, the blackbird sits heavy with accumulated associations – harmonious, threatening, and pensive.
Text by Wallace Stevens (1879 – 1955)