Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Great Blue Heron

after Wallace Stevens


Now under consideration elsewhere. I hope to re-post this poem once it has been published. I am very grateful for all of the wonderful comments below. Thank you!

Sincerely, and blessings to all, Andy
October 1, 2012


Andrew Shattuck McBride
September 25, 2012
PaPoWriMo ~ 2012 *Day Two Poem*

About Andrew Shattuck McBride

I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant. I work in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. I also have a couple of novels simmering on back burners. THANK YOU to Nan Macy of Village Books for taking this photo (June 2011).
This entry was posted in Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, Can We Talk?, PaPoWriMo ~ 2012, Samples, Trail Offerings and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Great Blue Heron

  1. tsena says:

    i love the structure of this piece. excellent! it inspires me to be so inspired. 🙂

  2. Pingback: blogging and publishing « succumbing

  3. Gorgeous. Even the pun! (I love an original pun.) And also “nested” in Part XII. As well as the rest of Part XII, plus Parts I-XI and XIII.

    • LOLOL
      Jennifer, thank you for your wonderful comments. Sounds like you like nearly all of it?! BTW, I tweaked this a bit on the blog after I sent it to you and Tsena.
      Pun, as in “What’s the big Ardea?”–? Well, yes, that was intentional. Wouldn’t that be great, if it’s an original pun?
      My use of “nested” isn’t meant as a pun; I was looking for a word conveying my thought at first that this bird might still be alive. As I stood there looking down on it, I realized that it was dead, and I felt such a deep sense of loss.
      Thank you Jennifer.
      Blessings to you and your family, Andy

  4. Yes, “like” x 13!

    Yes, “What’s the big Ardea?”–nice one! (I suppose it’s possible that birders or ornithologists may have thought this one up before, but I’ve certainly never run across it in a poem!)

    I didn’t mean to imply I thought “nested” is a pun. It struck me as a metaphor (a neatly oppositional one, given that the heron is dead). Thanks for explaining that it’s a narrative device, too–that’s also cool, and it heightens the grief of your realization.

    • LOL x 13!

      I just had an image of a cartoon of a heron with a lit light bulb over its head. Possibly for an Ornithologists Journal?

      No, not at all. I still am trying to figure out what I’m doing, metaphor-wise and narrative device-wise.

      Thank you for your comments! Cheers, Andy

  5. sonofwalt says:

    A birders poem and a Wallace Stevens tribute. What’s not to love? One of my favorite by Stevens, Andrew, and I think you did it honor while presenting your own style, in the scientific descriptions. I think this is great.

    • Thank you very much for your kind comments! I really appreciate your feedback.

      The poem by Stevens is one of my favorites.

      I was also influenced by an essay on Stevens and artist Meret Oppenheim by Priscilla Long, titled “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Fur-Covered Teacup.”

      Best wishes, Andy

      • sonofwalt says:

        Oh, I’m relieved to come back and read this again and see that this is an essay. . . but it reads more like a prose poem, Long’s piece I mean. Wow. Thanks for the extra info!

      • Thank you for your comments. Definitely.

        Your comment that Priscilla Long’s essay reads like a prose poem is interesting. She’s also a poet!

        BTW, she has an excellent book on writing and working on craft titled The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life (2010). Highly recommended.

        Best wishes, Andy

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