For the past five or six years I have included six poems by Wallace Stevens in the readings for a required first-year law course. They are the only poems I teach in the course.
Thomas Grey's thoughtful essay raises a seemingly unlikely question. Should Stevens's poetry be considered part of the legal canon? Do his poems possess legal authority? That in answer some kind of a "yes" or "maybe" might seriously be considered may at first surprise even the Stevens fans among legal academics. Yet why do I have the firm intuition that the poems are useful, relevant, important for law students to know? Why do they strike me as somehow deeply law-related?
Professor Grey's question about poetry and legal authority prompts me to reflect upon and try to clarify my intuitions about law and Wallace Stevens. I share these reflections because those whose interest is aroused by Professor Grey's question might possibly be interested also in one personal and partial answer: how one teacher has found Stevens essential in one practical legal context, the training of law students in the ways of legal thought. So I offer this report from practice.
Radin, Margaret Jane
""After The Final No There Comes A Yes": A Law Teacher's Report,"
Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities:
2, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjlh/vol2/iss2/3