In 1942, Wallace Stevens published what is perhaps his greatest gift to the world of art, poetry, and metaphysics, Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction. Consisting of three sections, each made up of 10-poems, and a prologue and epilogue, Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction functions as an analysis of art, reality, and the modern human. This collection of poems, as Raina Kostova points out, “is not about a supreme fiction but constitutes a move toward one [...] in which poetic language, as a medium, will attempt to capture- or rather lure- a supreme fiction to take place.” Notes is a meditation on the role that human expression plays in creating and establishing it. Stevens solidifies this point when he states, “the power of literature is that in describing the world, it creates what it describes.”
In light of the environmental and ecological war that has been waged against the Earth, a new supreme fiction is needed now more than ever. To look toward art and poetry to help catalyze future happenings, inspire and change perspectives, write new fictions, and as Deleuze and Guattari claim, “call[] for a future form, for a new Earth and people that do not yet exist.”
To begin moving toward a new supreme fiction, I have decided to revisit one of my favorite poems from Notes, “Oak Leaves are Hands.” I wanted to return to this work, to reframe it, as a supreme fiction written for the Anthropocene; an absurd homage to Stevens’ sincere curiosity and to the oak tree that inspired it. The recording I have produced was made using my voice and a contact microphone.