Anecdote of the Jar

By: Wallace Stevens

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Poem

Anecdote of the Jar

By: Wallace Stevens


I placed a jar in Tennessee,

And round it was, upon a hill.

It made the slovenly wilderness

Surround that hill.


The wilderness rose up to it,

And sprawled around, no longer wild.

The jar was round upon the ground

And tall and of a port in air.


It took dominion everywhere.

The jar was gray and bare.

It did not give of bird or bush,

Like nothing else in Tennessee.

Reading of the Poem

(read by Alan Davis-Drake)
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Author

Wallace Stevens


Wallace Stevens was born on October 2, 1879, in Reading, Pennsylvania. He attended Harvard, then New York Law School. He became a lawyer, and spent most of his life working as an executive for an insurance company in Hartford, Connecticut. He also won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his Collected Poems in 1955.

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Interpreting Lines of the Poem

"It made the slovenly wilderness

Surround that hill."

These lines refers to the fact that the wilderness is superior to man made objects (the jar).


"The wilderness rose up to it,

And sprawled around, no longer wild." ......

"It took dominion everywhere"

These lines state that the roles between nature and man made things are switched, and now man made things/art holds supremacy over nature.

Meaning of the Poem

This poem refers to the differences between nature and man made art. It contemplates the connection between the two, and also the question of which one is dominant/more beautiful. The jar symbolizes man made art while the wilderness represents nature, and the natural beauty of the world.
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