Wallace Stevens


American Modernist Poet and Insurance Executive

Author Quotes

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.

Description is revelation. It is not the thing described, nor false facsimile. It is an artificial thing that exists, in its own seeming, plainly visible, yet not too closely the double of our lives, intenser than any actual life could be.

From this the poem springs: that we live in a place that is not our own and, much more, not ourselves and hard it is in spite of blazoned days.

His firm stanzas hang like hives in hell or what hell was, since now both heaven and hell are one, and here, o terra infidel.

I have finished my combat with the sun; and my body, the old animal, knows nothing more.

If only he would not pity us so much, weaken our fate, relieve us of woe both great and small, a constant fellow of destiny, a too, too human god, self-pity's kin and uncourageous genesis.

In my room, the world is beyond my understanding; but when I walk I see that it consists of three or four hills and a cloud.

It is as if being was to be observed, as if, among the possible purposes of what one sees, the purpose that comes first, the surface, is the purpose to be seen, the property of the moon, what it evokes.

It may be that the ignorant man, alone, has any chance to mate his life with life that is the sensual, pearly spouse, the life that is fluent in even the wintriest bronze.

It's so fucking controlled. Poetry must not become a hospital.

My father's father, his father's father, his— shadows like winds go back to a parent before thought, before speech, at the head of the past.

One cannot spend one's time in being modern when there are so many more important things to be.

Panache upon panache, his tails deploy upward and outward, in green-vented forms, His tip a drop of water full of storms.

Poetry is the statement of a relation between a man and the world.

Secrete us in reality. Discover a civil nakedness in which to be, in which to bear with the exactest force the precisions of fate, nothing fobbed off, nor changed in a beau language without a drop of blood.

Suppose these houses are composed of ourselves, so that they become an impalpable town, full of impalpable bells, transparencies of sound, sounding in the transparent dwellings of the self, impalpable habitations that seem to move in the movement of the colors of the mind.

The bud of the apple is desire, the down-falling gold, the catbird's gobble in the morning half-awake these are real only if I make them so. Whistle for me, grow green for me and, as you whistle and grow green, intangible arrows quiver and stick in the skin and I taste at the root of the tongue the unreal of what is real.

The final belief is to believe in a fiction, which you know to be a fiction, there being nothing else. The exquisite truth is to know that it is a fiction and that you believe in it willingly.

The houses are haunted by white night-gowns.

The mind can never be satisfied.

The physical world is meaningless tonight and there is no other.

Do I sit, deformed, a naked egg, catching at good-bye, harvest moon, without seeing the harvest or the moon?

Funest philosophers and ponderers, their evocations are the speech of clouds.

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American Modernist Poet and Insurance Executive