Wallace Stevens

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

Wallace Stevens Quotes

  • ''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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Madame la Fleurie

Weight him down, O side-stars, with the great weightings of
the end.
Seal him there. He looked in a glass of the earth and thought
he lived in it.
Now, he brings all that he saw into the earth, to the waiting
parent.
His crisp knowledge is devoured by her, beneath a dew.


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