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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Quotationsmore quotations »
''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).
''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).
''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).
''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).
''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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