Wallace Stevens: Theōria and Technic

Wallace Stevens’s novelty remains obscured by certain critics and philosophers who themselves oppose one another. The former desire Stevens a national figure of Americana; others emphasize their own aesthetic theory. Most shun philosophical implications which place the poetry in service of philosophy. Stevens’s ‘theōria’ holds implications beyond conventional truth disputes. This seminar explores theōria as contra-criticism which views technological determinism as a most potent critic of the imagination. Thus Stevens’s “poetry itself” and “a poetry of thought” offer ethical considerations for humans under the reins of technic.

With this course you will be able to

  • Consider written poetry an object which represents but does not wholly define “poetry itself”;
  • Consider poetry in relation to philosophy, science, and technology;
  • Evaluate poems as discrete objects and equally parts of a thinking apparatus;
  • Consider theōria in distinction to philosophical or critical positions regarding poetry;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of Stevens’s theōria;
  • Ponder an ethics of the imagination in terms of artificial general intelligence.

Students who register for this course get:

  • 9 video-taped lectures, with a total running time of more than 7 hours and 30 minutes;
  • Comprehensive lecture notes;
  • An indicative reading list;
  • A set of optional tasks to check your learning;
  • Course diploma (beta version).
  • Desire to learn: participants should be familiar with basic philosophical concepts, art, and have a general understanding of artificial intelligence.
  • This course is designed for graduate and post graduate level work. Advanced undergraduates are equally welcome;
  • Literature, Philosophy, STEM.


Additional materials

Download the lecture notes.

Download the reading list.

Download the assignment sheet.

Instructor: Adam Staley Groves

Dr. Adam Staley Groves is an experienced university lecturer specializing in the development of undergraduate, interdisciplinary education. Originally from the Midwestern United States, Adam has resided in Singapore for over a decade. Adam holds PhDs in Modern Thought from the University of Aberdeen (2016) and in Philosophy from European Graduate School (2011). He is currently a Lecturer with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and previously a Fellow of Tembusu College at the National University of Singapore where he received awards for teaching excellence and module development. In 2011, Adam published his first full volume of poetry Poetry Vocare which was followed up with Filial Arcade (2014) available through Punctum Books, New York. Adam has written poetry as well as criticism regarding the paintings of Ruben Pang. His precise interest concerns poetry and technic, specifically what Wallace Stevens calls “a poetry of thought.” His interests include painting, music, and writing.