Wallace Stevens


American Modernist Poet and Insurance Executive

Author Quotes

The people in the world, and the objects in it, and the world as a whole, are not absolute things, but on the contrary, are the phenomena of perception... If we were all alike: if we were millions of people saying do, re, mi, in unison, One poet would be enough... But we are not alone, and everything needs expounding all the time because, as people live and die, each one perceiving life and death for himself, and mostly by and in himself, there develops a curiosity about the perceptions of others. This is what makes it possible to go on saying new things about old things.

Day after day, throughout the winter, we hardened ourselves to live by bluest reason in a world of wind and frost.

Force is my lot and not pink-clustered roma ni avignon ni leyden, and cold, my element. Death is my master and, without light, I dwell.

He tries by a peculiar speech to speak the peculiar potency of the general, to compound the imagination's Latin with the lingua franca et jocundissima.

I certainly do not exist from nine to six, when I am at the office.

If in a shimmering room the babies came, drawn close by dreams of fledgling wing, it was because night nursed them in its fold.

In European thought in general, as contrasted with American, vigor, life and originality have a kind of easy, professional utterance. American—on the other hand, is expressed in an eager amateurish way. A European gives a sense of scope, of survey, of consideration. An American is strained, sensational. One is artistic gold; the other is bullion.

It can never be satisfied, the mind, never.

It is true that the rivers went nosing like swine, tugging at banks, until they seemed bland belly-sounds in somnolent troughs, that the air was heavy with the breath of these swine, the breath of turgid summer, and heavy with thunder's rattapallax.

It was the custom for his rage against chaos to abate on the way to church, in regulations of his spirit. How good life is, on the basis of propriety, to be followed by a platter of capon!

Mother of heaven, regina of the clouds, o sceptre of the sun, crown of the moon, there is not nothing, no, no, never nothing, like the clashed edges of two words that kill.

Oh, Blessed rage for order, pale Ramon,

Out of the first warmth of spring, and out of the shine of the menlocks, among the bare and crooked trees, she found a helping from the cold, like a meaning in nothingness.

Poetry is poetry, and one's objective as a poet is to achieve poetry precisely as one's objective in music is to achieve music

Say next to holiness is the will thereto, and next to love is the desire for love, the desire for its celestial ease in the heart, which nothing can frustrate, that most secure, unlike love in possession of that which was to be possessed and is.

Spread outward. Crack the round dome. Break through. Have liberty not as the air within a grave or down a well. Breathe freedom, oh, my native, in the space of horizons that neither love nor hate.

The body dies; the body's beauty lives. So evenings die, in their green going, a wave, interminably flowing.

The exceeding brightness of this early sun makes me conceive how dark I have become.

The honey of heaven may or may not come, but that of earth both comes and goes at once.

The maker's rage to order words of the sea, words of the fragrant portals, dimly-starred, and of ourselves and of our origins, in ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.

The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence.

Death is the mother of beauty, mystical, within whose burning bosom we devise our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly… Death is the mother of beauty. Only the perishable can be beautiful, which is why we are unmoved by artificial flowers… Death is the mother of Beauty; hence from her, alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams and our desires… Death is the mother of Beauty; hence from her, alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams and our desires.

Freedom is like a man who kills himself each night, an incessant butcher, whose knife grows sharp in blood.

Her green mind made the world around her green.

I do not know which to prefer, The beauty of inflections, Or the beauty of innuendoes, The blackbird whistling, Or just after.

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American Modernist Poet and Insurance Executive