The Right to Be: Wallace Stevens and Martin Heidegger on Thinking and Poetizing

In Florian Grosser & Nassima Sahraoui (eds.), Heidegger in the Literary World: Variations on Poetic Thinking (New Heidegger Research). pp. 127-140 (2021)
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If Martin Heidegger was a philosopher who poetized, Wallace Stevens was a poet who philosophized. In "The Sail of Ulysses," one of his later poems, Stevens speaks enigmatically of a "right to be." The phrase is straightforward, if taken to indicate the right to life. But Stevens is rarely, if ever, straightforward. The poem is much more understandable if we take "being" in a Heideggerian sense, as an understanding of what it means to be.


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