Never miss a post
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries


« PFC Hyman Ruby Horowitz | Main | Meat Loaf [by Mitch Sisskind] »

November 12, 2020


Frost and Stevens appear to be very different kinds of poets, with Stevens more modernist and philosophically abstract. I don't think Frost would ever say "the nothing." Here's what Frost wrote to Stevens after they met in Key West, Florida in 1935: "If I’m somewhat academic (I’m more agricultural) and you are somewhat executive, so much the better: it is so we are saved from being literary and deployers of words derived from words." See

If it is not built with hands, then it is built by something non human. Hands are of Man alone. The part for the whole. But it is built nonetheless. Nothing could also be No Thing. Taking out the double negative would give you with exceptions Things built by man are sacred.
God created the heavens and earth out of nothing and without the hands of man, so that too is sacred. Maybe Frost is getting to the point of existence right before the universe was created. That would be the time that only God the sacred existed. There were no things.

Thank you for these valuable comments. -- DL

But could anything be sacred in the time that only God existed? If there were no human beings, nothing could be sacred because there must be people to deem things sacred--that is, pointing man towards God. Once God began to create Nature, the final step, the creation of Adam and Eve was inevitable: through nature man could come to know God and worship Him/Her. Robert Frost saw "work with hands" as a central way to understand Nature, Wallace Stevens was more concerned with knowing that occurs within the mind.

What a beautiful piece of analysis, Millicent. Thank you.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Best American Poetry Web ad3
click image to order your copy
"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

Click image to order


A creative communications, branding, and resources consultancy founded by Victoria C. Rowan


Reach a Wide International Audience

Advertise on the Best American Poetry Blog


  • StatCounter