Wallace Stevens

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

Wallace Stevens Quotes

  • ''It is the unknown that excites the ardor of scholars, who, in the known alone, would shrivel up with boredom.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. Lecture, c. 1937. "The Irrational Element in Poetry," Opus Posthumous (1959).
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  • ''Unfortunately there is nothing more inane than an Easter carol. It is a religious perversion of the activity of Spring in our blood.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. Letter, April 23, 1916. Letters of Wallace Stevens, no. 202, ed. Holly Stevens (1967). To his future wife, Elsie Moll Kachel.
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  • ''If some really acute observer made as much of egotism as Freud has made of sex, people would forget a good deal about sex and find the explanation for everything in egotism.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. Letter, January 10, 1936. Letters of Wallace Stevens, no. 339, ed. Holly Stevens (1967).
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  • ''Everything is complicated; if that were not so, life and poetry and everything else would be a bore.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. letter, Dec. 19, 1935. Letters of Wallace Stevens, no. 336, ed. Holly Stevens (1967).
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  • ''The squirming facts exceed the squamous mind, If one may say so.''
    Wallace Stevens 1879-1955, U.S. poet. "Connoisseur of Chaos," Parts of a World (1942).
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  • ''All the great things have been denied and we live in an intricacy of new and local mythologies, political, economic, poetic, which are asserted with an ever-enlarging incoherence.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. "The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words," The Necessary Angel (1942, repr. 1951).
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  • ''Democritus plucked his eye out because he could not look at a woman without thinking of her as a woman. If he had read a few of our novels, he would have torn himself to pieces.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. Lecture first published (1942). "The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words," The Necessary Angel (1951).
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  • ''The day of the sun is like the day of a king. It is a promenade in the morning, a sitting on the throne at noon, a pageant in the evening.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. Journal entry, April 20, 1920. Souvenirs and Prophecies: the Young Wallace Stevens, ch. 6, ed. Holly Stevens (1966).
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  • ''How full of trifles everything is! It is only one's thoughts that fill a room with something more than furniture.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. Letter, May 16, 1907, to his future wife Elsie Moll Kachel. Souvenirs and Prophecies: The Young Wallace Stevens, ch. 9, ed. Holly Stevens (1977).
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  • ''New York is a field of tireless and antagonistic interests—undoubtedly fascinating but horribly unreal. Everybody is looking at everybody else—a foolish crowd walking on mirrors.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. Souvenirs and Prophecies: The Young Wallace Stevens, ch. 4, entry for June 15, 1900, ed. Holly Stevens (1977).
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Read more quotations »
Best Poem of Wallace Stevens

Disillusionment Of Ten O'Clock

The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches Tigers
In red weather.

Read the full of Disillusionment Of Ten O'Clock

The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think

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