Spatial Humanities Public Lecture: “A Middle Green: Wallace Stevens and the American Park Movement” by Julia Daniel
Thursday, January 24, 2019
“Everything in nature is artificial and everything artificial is natural.” So wrote Wallace Stevens in 1950 after one of his habitual strolls through Elizabeth Park in Hartford, CT, where he imagined the roses were “placed … daily by some lover of mankind.” Throughout his poetic career, Stevens presents parks as both organic environments evocative of nature and as spatial works of art designed for inclusion in an urban habitat. Stevens’ life-long poetic engagement with the American Park Movement explores the aesthetic, social, and organic life of some of our most iconic public green spaces. This presentation will explore how his park poetics celebrates the use of nature as aesthetic media, thereby denaturalizing these urban green worlds, while it also critiques the often failed civic ideals embedded in these works of public architecture.