Wallace Stevens


American Modernist Poet and Insurance Executive

Author Quotes

A poem need not have a meaning and like most things in nature often does not have.

Among twenty snowy mountains the only moving thing was the eye of the blackbird.

At the earliest ending of winter, in March, a scrawny cry from outside seemed like a sound in his mind. He knew that he heard it, a bird's cry, at daylight or before, in the early March wind.

A scholar, in his Segmenta, left a note, as follows, The Ruler of Reality, if more unreal than New Haven, is not a real ruler, but rules what is unreal.

An uncertain green, piano-polished, held the tranced machine of ocean, as a prelude holds and holds.

At the piano, scales, arpeggios and chords, the morning exercises, the afternoon's reading, the night's reflection, that's how to produce a virtuoso.

A tempest cracked on the theatre. Quickly, the wind beat in the roof and half the walls. The ruin stood still in an external world. It had been real. It was something overseas that I remembered, something that I remembered overseas, that stood in an external world.

And as he came he saw that it was spring, a time abhorrent to the nihilist or searcher for the fecund minimum.

At twelve, the disintegration of afternoon began, the return to phantomerei, if not to phantoms. Till then, it had been the other way: one imagined the violet trees but the trees stood green, at twelve, as green as ever they would be. The sky was blue beyond the vaultiest phrase.

A too-fluent green suggested malice in the dry machine of ocean, pondering dank stratagem. Who then beheld the figures of the clouds like blooms secluded in the thick marine?

And deck the bananas in leaves plucked from the Carib trees, fibrous and dangling down, oozing cantankerous gum out of their purple maws.

Be thou that wintry sound as of the great wind howling, by which sorrow is released, dismissed, absolved in a starry placating.

Abba, dark death is the breaking of a glass. The dazzled flakes and splinters disappear. The seal is as relaxed as dirt, Perdu.

And it has to find what will suffice. It has to construct a new stage.

Beauty is momentary in the mind, the fitful tracing of a portal; but in the flesh it is immortal. The body dies; the body's beauty lives.

Above the forest of the parakeets, a parakeet of parakeets prevails, a pip of life amid a mort of tails.

And shall the earth seem all of paradise that we shall know? The sky will be much friendlier then than now, a part of labor and a part of pain, and next in glory to enduring love, not this dividing and indifferent blue.

Behold the approach of him whom none believes, whom all believe that all believe, a pagan in a varnished car.

Accuracy of observation is the equivalent of accuracy of thinking.

And the beauty of the moonlight falling there, falling as sleep falls in the innocent air.

But I am, in any case, a most inappropriate man in a most unpropitious place.

Study of Two Pears -
Opusculum paedagogicum
The pears are not viols,
Nudes or bottles.
They resemble nothing else.

They are yellow forms
Composed of curves
Bulging toward the base.
They are touched red.

They are not flat surfaces
Having curved outlines.
They are round
Tapering toward the top.

In the way they are modelled
There are bits of blue.
A hard dry leaf hangs
From the stem.

The yellow glistens.
It glistens with various yellows,
Citrons, oranges and greens
Flowering over the skin.

The shadows of the pears
Are blobs on the green cloth.
The pears are not seen
As the observer wills.

A poet looks at the world as a man looks at a woman.

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American Modernist Poet and Insurance Executive