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Thread: Wallace Stevens

  1. #376
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    FROM STEVENS, COLLECTED POETRY & PROSE
    From uncollected poems: SECRET MAN

    The sounds of rain on the roof
    Are like the sound of doves.
    It is long since there have been doves
    On any house of mine.
    It is better for me
    In the rushes of autumn wind
    To embrace autumn, without turning
    To remember summer.
    Besides, the world is a tower.
    Its winds are blue.
    The rain falls at its base,
    Summers sink from it.
    The doves will fly round.
    When morning comes
    The high clouds will move,
    Nobly as autumn moves.
    The man of autumn,
    Behind its melancholy mask,
    Will laugh in the brown grass,
    Will shout from the tower’s rim.
    Last edited by quasimodo1; 07-03-2010 at 02:28 PM. Reason: due to a template error, this poem ought to appear in stanzas of four lines each.

  2. #377
    ésprit de l’escalier DanielBenoit's Avatar
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    Not Ideas about the Thing But the Thing Itself

    At the earliest ending of winter,
    In March, a scrawny cry from outside
    Seemed like a sound in his mind.

    He knew that he heard it,
    A bird's cry at daylight or before,
    In the early March wind.

    The sun was rising at six,
    No longer a battered panache above snow . . .
    It would have been outside.

    continued at http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20447
    The Moments of Dominion
    That happen on the Soul
    And leave it with a Discontent
    Too exquisite — to tell —
    -Emily Dickinson
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVW8GCnr9-I
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckGIvr6WVw4

  3. #378
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    The Man Whose Pharynx Was Bad

    The time of year has grown indifferent.
    Mildew of summer and the deepening snow
    Are both alike in the routine I know.
    I am too dumbly in my being pent.
    The wind attendant on the solstices
    Blows on the shutters of the metropoles,
    Stirring no poet in his sleep, and tolls
    The grand ideas of the villages.

    The malady of the quotidian...
    Perhaps, if summer ever came to rest
    And lengthened, deepened, comforted, caressed
    Through days like oceans in obsidian

    Horizons full of night's midsummer blaze;
    Perhaps, if winter once could penetrate
    Through all its purples to the final slate,
    Persisting bleakly in an icy haze;

    One might in turn become less diffident---
    Out of such mildew plucking neater mould
    And spouting new orations of the cold.
    One might. One might. But time will not relent.
    Last edited by quasimodo1; 08-16-2010 at 12:02 PM. Reason: also posted 5/18/09 (quatrains)

  4. #379
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    CONTINUAL CONVERSATION WITH A SILENT MAN
    The old brown hen and the old blue sky,
    Between the two we live and die--
    The broken cartwheel on the hill.

    As if, in the presence of the sea,
    We dried our nets and mended sail
    And talked of never-ending things,

    Of the never-ending storm of will,
    One will and many wills, and the wind,
    Of many meanings in the leaves,

    Brought down to one below the eaves,
    Link, of that tempest, to the farm,
    The chain of the turquoise hen and sky

    And the wheel that broke as the cart went by.
    It is not a voice that is under the eaves.
    It is not speech, the sound we hear

    In this conversation, but the sound
    Of things and their motion: the other man,
    A turquoise monster moving round.

  5. #380
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    From Stevens, Collected Poetry & Prose. From Uncollected Prose. RUBBINGS OF REALITY If a man writes a little every day, as Williams does, or used to do,it may be that he is merely practicing in order to make perfect. On the other hand he may be practicing in order to get at his subject. If his subject is, say, a sense, a mood, an integration, and if his representation is faint or obscure, and if he practices in order to overcome his faintness or obscurity, what he really does is to bring, or try to bring, his subject into that degree of focus at which he sees it, for a moment, as it is and at which he is able to represent it in exact definition. A man does not spend his life doing this sort of thing unless doing it is something he needs to do. One of the sanctions of the writer is that he is doing something that he needs to do. The need is not the desire to accomplish through writing something not incidental to the writing itself. Thus a political or religious writer writes for political or religious reasons. Williams writes, I think, in order to write. He needs to write. What is the nature of this need? What does a man do when he delineates the images of reality? Obviously, the need is a general need and the activity a general activity. It is of our nature that we proceed from the chromatic to the clear, from the unknown to the known. Accordingly the writer who practices iin order to make perfect is really practicing to get at his subject and, in that exercise, is participating in a universal activity. He is obeying his nature. Imagism (as one of Williams' many involvements, however long ago) is not something superficial. It obeys an instinct. Moreover, imagism iis an ancient phase of poetry. It is something permanent. Williams is a writer to whome writing is the grinding of a glass, the polishing of a lens by means of which he hopes to be able to see clearly. His delineations are trials. They are rubbings of reality. ..... This is an intellectual "tenue". It is easy to see how underneath the chaos of life today and at the bottom of all the disintegrations there is the need to see, to understand: and, in so far as one is not completely baffled, to re-create. This is not emotional. It springs from the felief that we have only our own iintelligence on which torely. This manifests itself in many ways, in every living art as in every living phase of politics or science. If we could suddenly re-make the world on the bais of our own intelligence, see it clearly and represent it without faintness or obscurity, Williiams' poems would have a place there. {Briarcliff Quarterly, October 1946, excerpt}

  6. #381
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    Nuances of a Theme by Williams

    It's a strange courage
    you give me, ancient star:
    William Carlos Williams

    Shine alone in the sunrise
    toward which you lend no part!
    William Carlos Williams

    I

    Shine alone, shine nakedly, shine like bronze
    that reflects neither my face nor any inner part
    of my being, shine like fire, that mirrors nothing.

    II

    Lend no part to any humanity that suffuses
    you in its own light.
    Be not chimera of morning,
    Half-man, half-star.
    Be not an intelligence,
    Like a widow's bird
    Or an old horse.

  7. #382
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    ...from Stevens, Collected Poetry & Prose. ...from Uncolllected Prose. ON "THE EMPEROR

    OF ICE CREAM" --- I think I should select from my poems as my favorite "The Emporer of

    Ice Cream". This wears a deliberately commonnplace costume, and yet seems to me to contain

    something of the essential gaudiness of poetry; that is the reason why I like it. I do

    not remember the circumstances under which this poem was written, unless this means the

    state of mind from which it came. I dislike niggling, and like letting myself go. Poems

    of this sort are the pleasantest on which to look back, because they seem to remain

    fresher than others. This represented what was in my mind at the moment, with the least

    possible manipulation. {Fifty Poets: An American Auto-Anthology, 1933}

  8. #383
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallce Stevens

    From Stevens, Collected Poetry & Prose. from Uncollected Prose. ON RECEIVING THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

    FOR POETRY: When a poet comes out of his cavern or wherever it is that he secretes hinmself, even if

    it is a law office or a place of business, and suddenly finds himself confronted by a great crowd of

    people, the last thing in the world that enters his mind is to thank those who are responsible for his

    being there. And this is paricularly true if the crowd has come not so much on his account as on

    account, say, of a novelist or some other figure, who is, as a rule, better known to it than any poet.

    And yet the crowd will have come to some extent on his account, because the poet exercises a power

    over life, by expressing life, just as the novelist does; and I am by no means sure that the poet

    does not exercise this power at more levels than the novelist, with more colors, with as much

    perception and certainly with more music, not merely verbal music, but the rhythms and tones of human

    feeling. I think then that the first thing that poet should do as he comes out of his cavern is to

    put on the strength of his particular calling as a poet, to address himself to what Rilke called the

    mighty burden of poetry and to have the courage to say that, in his sense of things, the significance

    of poetry is second to none. we can never have great poetry unless we believe that poetry serves

    great ends. We must recognize this from the beginning so that it will affect everything we do. Our

    belief in the greatness of poetry is a vital part of its greatness, an implicit part of the belief of

    others in its greatness. Now, at seventy-five, as I look back on the little that I have done and as I

    turn the pages of my own poems gathered together in a single volume, I have no choice except to

    paraphrase the old verse that says that it is not what I am, but what I aspired to be that comforts

    me. It is not what I have written that consitutes my true poems, the uncollected poems which I have

    not had the strength to realize. Humble as my actual contribution to poetry may be and homever

    modest my experience of poetry has been, I have learned through that contribution and by the aid of

    that experience of the greatness that lay beyond, the power over the mind that lies in the mind

    itself, the incalculable expanse of the imagination as it reflects itself in us and about us. This is

    the precious scope which every poet seeks to achieve as best he can. Awards and honors have nothing

    to do with this. The role of awards and honors in the life of a poet is simply to bring him back to

    reality, to remind him, in the midst of all his hopes for poetry, that he lives in the world of

    Darwin and not in the world of PLato. He does not accept them as a true satisfaction because there is

    no true satisfaction for the poet but poetry itself. He accepts them not for their immediate meaning

    but as symbols and it is their secondary value that makes him the richer for having recieved them.

    And having said this much, I feel better able to express my obligation to this body and to the judges

    for the privilege of being herwe today and for the honor they have done me and to say that I am

    grateful to them and thank them. And I am grateful to mhy publisher, Alfred Knopf, and his staff,

    and thank them for the notably handsome job they made of the COLLECTED POEMS. {January 25, 1955}

  9. #384
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    Excerpt from Secretaries of the Moon

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [Havana]
    Oct. 20, 1945
    My very dear friend:

    How opportune the arrival of your charming letter! I had just taken a wonderful bath ( it is 12 :40 morning, bright skies of azure tinges and a subtle breeze that spells perhaps a great hurricane or then a nice afternoon at the ball game. Yes, I go to such things: today the Almendares plays again the Habana in the inaugural game. Oh, it is silly but I find the people who go to this affair, a baseball game, amusing and really more interesting to talk to than most of the so-called clever fellows, of course I do not speak of really intelligent people like Lezama or Mariano ) and this bath was the first bath after four days with an acute attack of sinusitis which makes me very miserable. For that reason I have deserted Villa Olga. I had no one to take care of poor Pepe there. Pompilio is very indifferent in these matters and Lucera, well, she just makes funny faces and goes on chewing her pensive leaves of grass. I was delighted to read the little discourse on my animals (they are not worthy of such elegant attention ) and most assured by your opinion on the ignorant man. I say "assured" because I have many such ignorant men for friends and I have been criticized bitterly by some of my literary friends who consider it a waste of time and a contamination. "Think of your Spanish and your modales (manners)" they exclaim. Sometimes they accuse me of having the democratic virus and cite Baudelaire to reinforce their silly ideas. Of course, all these lads are the very ones who are so bored most of the time, and come to Villa Olga to entertain themselves, or their souls. They are amazed at the fact that I am contented, occupied and even a little fatter. They all go away, however, for the city has too many shallow distractions for such people.

    I agree with you, old wise man (how old are you anyway? I hope the old won't disgust you ) in that I do not think as much as I should. But remember that thinking is a difficult process and I did much rather look at Pompilio eating his oats or just converse with Evaristo, a blond guajiro who comes to bring the groceries. I will try to think more intensely and precisely as you recommend.

    I saw an article, very poor indeed, on your genre of poesia in the latest Sewanee. I could not define your poetry so easily, but I like it very much and read it quite often. In that Sewanee came the Phi Beta Kappa poem which I had already read (fragments ) in the Harvard Bulletin. Of lately I have been reading only poetry, 16 and 17th century Spanish poetry which is marvelous. That is enough for a few months, with our daily exercises of gymnastic thought.

    My essay on Scott Fitzgerald is gathering moths in the deepness of a drawer. I came to him with the best of intentions but he bores me so and there are so many more interesting things to read and do.... I am coming to regard reading now as a close circle and only the most excellent of poets and writers get around the circle. For instance, I discover that I knew nothing of the French theatre: Racine, Moliere and Corneille were unknown figures although I had gone thru the gestures of perusing some of their plays when learning French. I must therefore spend some time in their wonderful world, above all Moliere's.

    I might close by reiterating my invitation to have you lock up the Insurance and take a trip to Habana this winter. If you decide to do that, let me know in time. Otherwise, I might go to N.Y. this Xmas to see my sister Olga.

    An affectionate embrace,
    Jose
    Last edited by quasimodo1; 12-18-2010 at 12:13 AM. Reason: http://writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/Stevens/jose-letter3.html

  10. #385
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    In 1916 the still relatively unknown Wallace Stevens won a two hundred dollar prize in a contest run by "Poetry" magazine. Quote from the Poetry Foundation... "The prize announcement, made in June 1916, hedged a bit, declaring: 'none of the submitted plays unites under a single title our own conditions of poetic beauty, actability, and a subject either American or of modern significance through life unlocalized.' Still, Steven's "Three Travelers Watch a Sunrise," stood out to all but one of the judges as "a strange and fantastic work of original genius . . . however diverting or repelling its story." Indeed, reading selections from the play today, one recoils at some of the racial and social attitudes it seems to promote. The prize itself was never awarded again, and the appearance of verse dramas in Poetry from that time on has been few and far between." For a slideshow including images of the original text in Poetry magazine... { http://www.poetryfoundation.org/jour...html?id=184137 }

  11. #386
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    "Gubbinal"

    Gubbinal

    by Wallace Stevens

    That strange flower, the sun,
    Is just what you say.
    Have it your way.

    The world is ugly,
    And the people are sad.

    That tuft of jungle feathers,
    That animal eye,
    Is just what you say.

    That savage of fire,
    That seed,
    Have it your way.

    The world is ugly,
    And the people are sad.
    { http://asitoughttobe.com/2010/03/20/...llace-stevens/ }
    "I feel I am free but I know I am not" Emil Cioran

  12. #387
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens walking tour...

    http://www.wesleyan.edu/wstevens/alk.html
    OF MERE BEING

    The palm at the end of the mind,
    Beyond the last thought, rises
    In the bronze distance.

    A gold-feathered bird
    Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
    Without human feeling, a foreign song.

    You know then that it is not the reason
    That makes us happy or unhappy.
    The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

    The palm stands on the edge of space.
    The wind moves slowly in the branches.
    The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.


    ~Wallace Stevens, 1954~
    Last edited by quasimodo1; 05-14-2012 at 02:12 AM. Reason: http://ofmerebeing.com/the-poem/
    "I feel I am free but I know I am not" Emil Cioran

  13. #388
    I know not many people respond anymore but I hope you keep posting quasimodo. I discovered Stevens last year and really like him. This thread has been a pleasure to work through.
    Vladimir: (sententious.) To every man his little cross. (He sighs.) Till he dies. (Afterthought.) And is forgotten.

  14. #389
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    "I feel I am free but I know I am not" Emil Cioran

  15. #390
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    Ariel was glad he had written his poems.
    They were of a remembered time
    Or of something seen that he liked. . . .

    It was not important that they survive.
    What mattered was that they should bear
    Some lineament or character,

    Some affluence, if only half-perceived,
    In the poverty of their words,
    Of the planet of which they were part.
    { from "The Planet on the Table" by Wallace Stevens }
    Last edited by quasimodo1; 05-30-2012 at 07:33 PM. Reason: http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/wallace-stevens-a-spirit-storming/
    "I feel I am free but I know I am not" Emil Cioran

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