Wallace Stevens


American Modernist Poet and Insurance Executive

Author Quotes

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 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.

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 supreme fiction, madame. Take the moral law and make a nave of it and from the nave build haunted heaven. Thus, the conscience is converted into palms, like windy citherns hankering for hymns.

She has composed, so long, a self with which to welcome him, companion to his self for her, which she imagined, two in a deep-founded sheltering, friend and dear friend.

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American Modernist Poet and Insurance Executive