Wallace Stevens

(October 2, 1879 – August 2, 1955 / Pennsylvania / United States)

Wallace Stevens
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Wallace Stevens was regarded as one of the most significant American poets of the 20th century. Stevens largely ignored the literary world and he did not receive widespread recognition until the publication of his Collected Poems (1954). In this work Stevens explored inside a profound philosophical framework the dualism between concrete reality and the human imagination. For most of his adult life, Stevens pursued contrasting careers as a insurance executive and a poet.

Wallace Stevens was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, as the son of Garrett Barcalow Stevens, a prosperous country lawyer. His mother's family, the Zellers, were of Dutch origin. Stevens attended the Reading Boys' ... more »

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Wallace Stevens Quotations

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  • ''What our eyes behold may well be the text of life but one's meditations on the text and the disclosures of these meditations are no less a part of the structure of reality.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. "Three Academic Pieces," no. 1, The Necessary Angel (first published 1947, repr. 1951).
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  • ''The genuine artist is never "true to life." He sees what is real, but not as we are normally aware of it. We do not go storming through life like actors in a play. Art is never real life.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. "On Poetic Truth," Opus Posthumous (1959).
    23 person liked.
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  • ''To regard the imagination as metaphysics is to think of it as part of life, and to think of it as part of life is to realize the extent of artifice. We live in the mind.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. "Imagination as Value," The Necessary Angel (1949, repr. 1951).
    19 person liked.
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  • ''Thought is an infection. In the case of certain thoughts, it becomes an epidemic.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. Opus Posthumous, "Adagia," (1959).
    25 person liked.
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  • ''One cannot spend one's time in being modern when there are so many more important things to be.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. Opus Posthumous, "Adagia," (1959).
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Comments about Wallace Stevens

  • Kathryn Horstmann (7/31/2020 11:14:00 AM)

    I am looking for Steven´s poem:
    " Variations on a Summer Day" which he wrote in Maine in the 1930s.
    Thanks for helping me find it!
    Yours,
    Kathy

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
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  • Leon Paul (9/26/2018 1:05:00 PM)

    I want to read his poem Sunday Morning

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  • Ann Driscoll, adriscoll5@yahoo.com (1/23/2018 1:48:00 PM)

    I want to buy a book of poems, poems written by Wallace Stevens


































    I want to buy an entire book of poems by Wallace Stevens

    3 person liked.
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  • Fabrizio Frosini (2/14/2016 3:49:00 PM)

    As I haven't found any translation of Wallace Stevens' “Montrachet-Le-Jardin”, even if it is so difficult to understand.. (a ''passage of whimsy and whimsical words''!) .. I'll try my own interpretation and give here a translation of the following 6 lines into Italian..

    What is there to love than I have loved?
    And if there be nothing more, O bright, O bright,
    The chick, the chidder-barn and grassy chives

    And great moon, cricket-impresario,
    And, hoy, the impopulous purple-plated past,
    Hoy, hoy, the blue bulls kneeling down to rest.

    - ITALIAN:

    Cosa v'è da amare che non abbia amato?
    E se nient'altro vi fosse, o radioso, o radioso,
    Il pulcino, il fienile irreperibile e l’erba cipollina

    E la grande luna, impresario dei grilli,
    E, ohi, lo spopolato passato violaceo,
    Ohi, ohi, i tori azzurri che s'inginocchiano per riposare.

    142 person liked.
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  • Fabrizio Frosini (1/6/2016 11:31:00 AM)

    Wallace Stevens' answer to the questions ''What is a poet? Why does one write poetry? '':
    ''A poet writes poetry because he is a poet; and he is not a poet because he is a poet but because of his personal sensibility. What gives a man his personal sensibility I don't know and it doesn't matter because no one knows. Poets continue to be born not made and cannot, I'm afraid, be predetermined.''

    194 person liked.
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  • Fabrizio Frosini (10/30/2015 7:08:00 PM)

    **who can tell me what the following lines from Wallace Stevens' “Montrachet-Le-Jardin” mean..? ? Thanks **

    What is there to love than I have loved?
    And if there be nothing more, O bright, O bright,
    The chick, the chidder-barn and grassy chives

    And great moon, cricket-impresario,
    And, hoy, the impopulous purple-plated past,
    Hoy, hoy, the blue bulls kneeling down to rest.

    227 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Richard Iordano (11/9/2009 3:47:00 AM)

    Hi The Library of America volume of Stevens' collected poetry and prose page 311 -312,4th stanza reads, ' Wanted to lean, wnated much most to be...' I thought it was a very weird line. I looked here and of course you have it differently.'...wanted most to be.
    There is a typo in the Library of America vol? Are there any more?
    thanks and let me know

    18 person liked.
    54 person did not like.
Best Poem of Wallace Stevens

The Emperor Of Ice-Cream

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal.
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its ...

Read the full of The Emperor Of Ice-Cream