Bill Ford on Sarah Riggs' Word Sightings (2002)

|     Riggs, Sarah.  Word Sightings: Poetry and Visual Media
|           in Stevens, Bishop, and O'Hara.  NY: Routledge, 2002.
|           134pp.   $65.00 (cheaper from B&N)
|           This is from the series; Studies in Major Literary Authors:
|   Outstanding Dissertations--the third onWallace Stevens.
|   Chapter One is Postcards to New Haven: Wallace Stevens
|   (Rome, New Haven, Reading, Havana, Aix-en-Provence)
|          In later years, WS encouraged correspondents to send him
|   picture postcards of their travels.  Some of these he incorporated
|   into poems (as A Postcard from the Volcano)  Particularly
|   discussed is An Ordinary Evening in New Haven--which
|   includes a mention of a postcard Thomas McGreevy had sent
|   Stevens (at the Hartford) from Rome in November 1948--the
|   card (at the Huntington) is reproduced.
|          The author states, several times, that Stevens worked in
|   Hartford and had his home in New Haven.  Stevens visited
|   New Haven frequently (it is only 35 miles away)--to use the
|   Sterling Library at Yale--but never lived there. This gaffe
|   makes it hard give credence to the author's thesis--that
| an examination of Stevens' incorporation of postcard images and
| messages can furnish insight into his poetic methods.
|    Stevens' use of postcards has been the subject of previous
| discussion--Alan Filreis, in Wallace Stevens and the Actual
| World (Princeton, 1991) has a chapter: The Postcard Imagination,
| pp.207-241--rereading Filreis, I was reminded of the story about
| the young man who wanted to become a physicist, until he met
| Steven Weinberg , then said 'the heck with it' and decided to
| switch to journalism.  Filreis is just that good.  Riggs is not. 
| Bill Ford