Wallace Stevens Quotes

I can't make head or tail of Life. Love is a fine thing, Art is a fine thing, Nature is a fine thing; but the average human mind and spirit are confusing beyond measure. Sometimes I think that all our learning is the little learning of the maxim. To laugh at a Roman awe-stricken in a sacred grove is to laugh at something today.
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. Letters of Wallace Stevens, no. 107, journal entry, February 5, 1906, ed. Holly Stevens (1967).
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On a few words of what is real in the world I nourish myself. I defend myself against Whatever remains.
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. "Repetitions of a Young Captain."
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He held the world upon his nose And this-a-way he gave a fling. His robes and symbols, ai-hi-hi And that-a-way he twirled the thing. Sombre as fir-trees, liquid cats Moved in the grass without a sound.
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. "The Man with the Blue Guitar."
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A. A violent order is disorder; and B. A great disorder is an order. These Two things are one. (Pages of illustrations.)
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. "Connoisseur of Chaos."
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In the far South the sun of autumn is passing Like Walt Whitman walking along a ruddy shore. He is singing and chanting the things that are part of him, The worlds that were and will be, death and day. Nothing is final, he chants. No man shall see the end. His beard is of fire and his staff is a leaping flame.
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. "Like Decorations in a Nigger Cemetery."
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You know that the nucleus of a time is not The poet but the poem, the growth of the mind Of the world, the heroic effort to live expressed As victory. The poet does not speak in ruins Nor stand there making orotund consolations. He shares the confusions of intelligence.
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. "Reply to Papini."
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I know my lazy, leaden twang Is like the reason in a storm; And yet it brings the storm to bear. I twang it out and leave it there.
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. "The Man with the Blue Guitar."
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The squirming facts exceed the squamous mind, If one may say so.
Wallace Stevens 1879-1955, U.S. poet. "Connoisseur of Chaos," Parts of a World (1942).
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The chrysanthemums' astringent fragrance comes Each year to disguise the clanking mechanism Of machine within machine within machine.
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. "Like Decorations in a Nigger Cemetery."
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The night knows nothing of the chants of night. It is what it is as I am what I am: And in perceiving this I best perceive myself And you.
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), U.S. poet. "Re-statement of Romance."
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