Wallace Stevens


American Modernist Poet and Insurance Executive

Author Quotes

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.

Democritus plucked his eye out because he could not look at a woman without thinking of her as a woman. If he had read a few of our novels, he would have torn himself to pieces.

Freud's eye was the microscope of potency. By fortune, his gray ghost may meditate the spirits of all the impotent dead, seen clear, and quickly understand, without their flesh, how truly they had not been what they were.

Here in the centre stands the glass. Light is the lion that comes down to drink. There and in that state, the glass is a pool. Ruddy are his eyes and ruddy are his claws when light comes down to wet his frothy jaws.

I figured you as nude between monotonous earth and dark blue sky. It made you seem so small and lean.

If men at forty will be painting lakes the ephemeral blues must merge for them in one, the basic slate, the universal hue.

In Hydaspia, by Howzen, lived a lady, Lady Lowzen, for whom what is was other things.

It had been cold since December. Snow fell, first, at New Year and, from then until April, lay on everything. Now it had melted, leaving the gray grass like a pallet, closely pressed; and dirt. The wind blew in the empty place.

It makes so little difference, at so much more than seventy, where one looks, one has been there before. Wood-smoke rises through trees, is caught in an upper flow of air and whirled away. But it has been often so.

It would be enough if we were ever, just once, at the middle, fixed in this beautiful world of ours and not as now, helplessly at the edge, enough to be complete, because at the middle, if only in sense, and in that enormous sense, merely enjoy.

My beards, attend to the laughter of evil: the fierce ricanery with the ferocious chu-chot-chu between, the sobs for breath to laugh the louder, the deeper gasps uplifting the completest rhetoric of sneers.

Once it was, the repose of night, was a place, strong place, in which to sleep. It is shaken now. It will burst into flames, either now or tomorrow or the day after that.

Out of this same light, out of the central mind, we make a dwelling in the evening air, in which being there together is enough.

Poetry is the scholar's art.

Say that it is the serenade of a man that plays a blue guitar.

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.

The body is no body to be seen but is an eye that studies its black lid.

The figures of the past go cloaked. They walk in mist and rain and snow and go, go slowly, but they go.

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American Modernist Poet and Insurance Executive