Student Author(s)

Kara Robart

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Pablo Peschiera

Document Type


Event Date



What role does sound play in the meaning of a poem? This project served as an investigation into the patterns of sound in the poetry of Wallace Stevens. I selected four of Stevens’ poems: “Infanta Marina,” “Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself,” “Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour,” and “The Idea of Order at Key West.” I then studied these poems for patterns of rhyme, alliteration, consonance, assonance, etc. and recorded a number of readings of the poems performed by various students, professors, and writers. Comparing these readings offered valuable insight into the ways volume, emphasis, pause, and duration interact with the existent sound patterns to reinforce or alter our understanding of the poems. The project was also informed by the physical nature of sound—how humans biologically experience and interpret sound—as well as poetry’s ties to music.


This project was supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholars Program in the Arts & Humanities at Hope College.