Wallace Stevens

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

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).
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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).
  • ''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).
  • ''Yet there is no spring in Florida, neither in boskage perdu, nor on the nunnery beaches.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. "Indian River."
  • ''Style is not something applied. It is something that permeates. It is of the nature of that in which it is found, whether the poem, the manner of a god, the bearing of a man. It is not a dress.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. (Originally published 1951). Opus Posthumous, "Two or Three Ideas," (1959).
  • ''One's ignorance is one's chief asset.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. Opus Posthumous, "Adagia," (1959).
  • ''Most modern reproducers of life, even including the camera, really repudiate it. We gulp down evil, choke at good.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. Opus Posthumous, "Adagia," (1959).
  • ''The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence.''
    Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. (Originally published 1944). "The Figure of the Youth as Virile Poet," lecture, Aug. 1943, The Necessary Angel (1951).

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The Planet On The Table

Ariel was glad he had written his poems.
They were of a remembered time
Or of something seen that he liked.

Other makings of the sun
Were waste and welter
And the ripe shrub writhed.

His self and the sun were one

[Hata Bildir]