Wallace Stevens

Literary Birthday – 2 October – Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens was born 2 October 1879, and died 2 August 1955.


  1. Death is the mother of beauty. Only the perishable can be beautiful, which is why we are unmoved by artificial flowers.
  2. Poetry is an effort of a dissatisfied man to find satisfaction through words.
  3. A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman.
  4. In the world of words, the imagination is one of the forces of nature.
  5. Reality is a cliché from which we escape by metaphor.
  6. Accuracy of observation is the equivalent of accuracy of thinking.
  7. In poetry, you must love the words, the ideas and the images and rhythms with all your capacity to love anything at all.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!
  11. Everything is complicated; if that were not so, life and poetry and everything else would be a bore.
  12. I like my philosophy smothered in beauty and not the opposite.

Wallace Stevens was an American Modernist poet. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for The Collected Poems in 1955.

Source for Image


Photograph by Sylvia Salmi. For countries that base the length of a copyright term on the date of the author’s death and do not use the rule of the shorter term: According to lakechapalaartists.com, Sylvia Salmi died in 1977. This means that, for example, in countries without the rule of the shorter term and a copyright term of 50 p.m.a. (including Canada), the photo will not be in the public domain until January 1, 2028 (the beginning of the 51st year after 1977)., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 2nd October 2013