Wallace Stevens


American Modernist Poet and Insurance Executive

Author Quotes

If it were lost in übermenschlichkeit, perhaps our wretched state would soon come right.

In his time, this one had little to speak of, the softest word went gurrituck in his skull. For him the moon was always in Scandinavia and his daughter was a foreign thing.

It comes about that the drifting of these curtains is full of long motions; as the ponderous deflations of distance; or as clouds inseparable from their afternoons.

It leaps through us, through all our heavens leaps, extinguishing our planets, one by one, leaving, of where we were and looked, of where we knew each other and of each other thought, a shivering residue, chilled and foregone, except for that crown and mystical cabala.

It was when the trees were leafless first in November and their blackness became apparent, that one first knew the eccentric to be the base of design.

Music is feeling, then, not sound; and thus it is that what I feel, here in this room, desiring you.

On a few words of what is real in the world I nourish myself. I defend myself against whatever remains.

Out of the window, I saw how the planets gathered like the leaves themselves turning in the wind.

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.

The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm - The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The milkman came in the moonlight and the moonlight was less than moonlight. Nothing exists by itself. The moonlight seemed to.

The philosophers' man alone still walks in dew, still by the sea-side mutters milky lines concerning an immaculate imagery.

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.

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American Modernist Poet and Insurance Executive