Everything you need to understand or teach The Idea of Order at Key West by Wallace Stevens.
The opening stanza of the poem, along with the title, help set the stage for the action that transpires in the poem itself. Right away, Stevens distinguishes between the mind and external reality and also the singer and the sea, but as is always the case for Stevens, these divisions are never hard and fast. Readers do know a few things, though. There is a singer, who is a female. There is a speaker and also a companion, probably Ramon Fernandez of stanza six. They are all walking along the sea. Of all these agents, the agent receiving the primary attention is the female singer. The poem opens with a rather remarkable claim that she sings "beyond the genius of the sea." But Stevens describes the sea as a "wholly body" that both makes "a constant cry" and causes a constant cry. The syntax of this stanza is confusing because... View more of the The Idea of Order at Key West Summary