| Banal Sojourn|
Two wooden tubs of blue hydrangeas stand at the foot of the stone steps.
"Banal Sojourn" is a poem of (exhaustion in August!) [Stevens' parenthesis]. The mildew of any late season, of any experience that has grown monotonous as, for instance, the experience of life.Harold Bloom responds: "Stevens, with only rare exceptions, did not comment very usefully upon his own poems. This is not one of the exceptions. Bloom suggests that
the poet feels acutely the universal nostalgia that he is now a touch old to be what clearly he never was, a "princox", a roaring boy or saucy fellow....What the poem shows...is Stevens' anxiety that the poetic voice in him may fail, an anxiety rendered more acute by an imaginative maturity so long delayed.
Challenging Bloom's interpretation, Kia Penso writes, "There is no evidence in the letters or elsewhere to suggest that Stevens suffered from the kind of anxiety that Bloom ascribes to him.. (Evidently she does not consider "Monocle de Mon Oncle" to be such evidence.) She calls Bloom to account for reading the line that begins with "Pardie!" and the following lines "as being about Stevens himself feeling fat and old. And green. The implication is that Bloom's reading absurdly transfers a property attributed to summer, greenness, to Stevens. More generally, reading the subject of the poem as Stevens's anxieties about himself, rather than being about summer and a poetic response to it, is egregious. (Compare the exchange between Joan Richardson and Helen Vendler about "Monocle".)