Wallace Stevens Quotes

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Wallace Stevens
Born (1879-10-02)October 2, 1879
Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died August 2, 1955(1955-08-02) (aged 75)
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
Occupation Poet, Insurance Executive
Nationality American
Period 1914–1955
Literary movement Modernism
Notable works Harmonium
“The Idea of Order at Key West”
“The Man With the Blue Guitar”
The Auroras of Autumn
“Of Modern Poetry”
Notable awards Robert Frost Medal (1951)
Spouse Elsie Viola Kachel (m. 1909-1955)
Children Holly Stevens (born 1924)

To regard the imagination as metaphysics is to think of it as part of life, and to think of it as part of life is to realize the extent of artifice. We live in the mind.
Wallace Stevens
In the world of words, the imagination is one of the forces of nature.
How full of trifles everything is! It is only one's thoughts that fill a room with something more than furniture.
Wallace Stevens
If some really acute observer made as much of egotism as Freud has made of sex, people would forget a good deal about sex and find the explanation for everything in egotism.
Wallace Stevens
After the final no there comes a yes and on that yes the future of the world hangs.
Wallace Stevens
The day of the sun is like the day of a king. It is a promenade in the morning, a sitting on the throne at noon, a pageant in the evening.
Wallace Stevens
Accuracy of observation is the equivalent of accuracy of thinking.
Intolerance respecting other people's religion is toleration itself in comparison with intolerance respecting other people's art.
Wallace Stevens
As life grows more terrible, its literature grows more terrible.
The reason can give nothing at all Like the response to desire.
Money is a kind of poetry.
The way through the world is more difficult to find than the way beyond it.
Wallace Stevens

Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.
Most people read poetry listening for echoes because the echoes are familiar to them. They wade through it the way a boy wades through water, feeling with his toes for the bottom: The echoes are the bottom.
Wallace Stevens
The most beautiful thing in the world is, of course, the world itself.
The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence.
Wallace Stevens
The imagination is man's power over nature.
If poetry should address itself to the same needs and aspirations, the same hopes and fears, to which the Bible addresses itself, it might rival it in distribution.
Wallace Stevens
Reality is not what it is. It consists of the many realities which it can be made into.
Wallace Stevens
The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.
Nothing could be more inappropriate to American literature than its English source since the Americans are not British in sensibility.
Wallace Stevens
We say God and the imagination are one… How high that highest candle lights the dark.
Wallace Stevens
It can never be satisfied, the mind, never.
A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman.
A poem need not have a meaning and like most things in nature often does not have.
Wallace Stevens
The point of vision and desire are the same.
Thought is an infection. In the case of certain thoughts, it becomes an epidemic.
Wallace Stevens
Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.
New York is a field of tireless and antagonistic interests undoubtedly fascinating but horribly unreal. Everybody is looking at everybody else a foolish crowd walking on mirrors.
Wallace Stevens
What our eyes behold may well be the text of life but one's meditations on the text and the disclosures of these meditations are no less a part of the structure of reality.
Wallace Stevens
Our bloom is gone. We are the fruit thereof.
Perhaps it is of more value to infuriate philosophers than to go along with them.
Wallace Stevens
I do not know which to prefer, The beauty of inflections, Or the beauty of innuendoes, The blackbird whistling, Or just after.
Wallace Stevens
Everything is complicated; if that were not so, life and poetry and everything else would be a bore.
Wallace Stevens
It is the unknown that excites the ardor of scholars, who, in the known alone, would shrivel up with boredom.
Wallace Stevens
One cannot spend one's time in being modern when there are so many more important things to be.
Wallace Stevens
The genuine artist is never 'true to life.' He sees what is real, but not as we are normally aware of it. We do not go storming through life like actors in a play. Art is never real life.
Wallace Stevens
One's ignorance is one's chief asset.
The poet is the priest of the invisible.
The fire burns as the novel taught it how.
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.
Wallace Stevens
Death is the mother of Beauty; hence from her, alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams and our desires.
Wallace Stevens
In poetry, you must love the words, the ideas and the images and rhythms with all your capacity to love anything at all.
Wallace Stevens
Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!