Wallace Stevens biography

Wallace Stevens

Poet, Author

1879 – 1955


Who was Wallace Stevens?

Wallace Stevens was an American Modernist poet. He was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, educated at Harvard and then New York Law School, and he spent most of his life working as an executive for an insurance company in Hartford, Connecticut. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his Collected Poems in 1955.

Some of his best-known poems include "Anecdote of the Jar", "Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock", "The Emperor of Ice-Cream", "The Idea of Order at Key West", "Sunday Morning", "The Snow Man", and "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

Famous Quotes:

  • They said, You have a blue guitar, you do not play things as they are. The man replied, Things as they are changed upon a blue guitar.
  • The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence.
  • To be young is all there is in the world. They talk so beautifully about work and having a family and a home (and I do, too, sometimes) --but it's all worry and head-aches and respectable poverty and forced gushing. Telling people how nice it is, when, in reality, you would give all of your last thirty years for one of your first thirty. Old people are tremendous frauds.
  • 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.
  • The poet is the priest of the invisible.
  • The imagination is man's power over nature.
  • Democritus plucked his eye out because he could not look at a woman without thinking of her as a woman. If he had read a few of our novels, he would have torn himself to pieces.
  • Nothing could be more inappropriate to American literature than its English source since the Americans are not British in sensibility.
  • Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!
  • Everything is complicated; if that were not so, life and poetry and everything else would be a bore.

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Oct 2, 1879
Also known as
  • Stevens, Wallace
  • White American
  • United States of America
  • New York Law School
    ( - 1903)
  • Harvard University
  • Harvard College
Lived in
  • St. Louis
  • Hartford
  • Reading
Aug 2, 1955

on July 23, 2013


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