Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

98 Inspirational Quotes By Wallace Stevens, The Author Of The Collected Poems

Famous As: Modernist poet
Born On: October 2, 1879
Died On: August 2, 1955
Born In: Reading, Pennsylvania, United States
Died At Age: 75
Wallace Stevens was a lawyer by training and trade, but he went on to become one of the most influential American modernist poets. He ini-tially studied at Harvard and later on was employed as a journalist, be-fore going to New York Law School. Stevens may have been better known for his modernist poems but he worked full time for an insurance company located in the state of Connecticut and worked on his poetry in his spare time. He eventually ended up as the vice president of the insurance company. Some of his most famous poems are ‘The Snow Man’, ‘The Idea of Order at Key West’, ‘Anectode of the Jar’ and ‘The Emperor of the Ice Cream Jar’ among others. His book of Collected Poems won him the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1955 and remains a hugely popular book among poetry enthusiasts. According to those close to him, he supported the Republican Party but was not an active member of any political outfit. Stevens was a highly intelligent man, with a great sense of humour and hence it is not a surprise that he has left behind a treas-ure trove of quotes. Here are some of the very best.
Listed In:
Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.

Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.

Wallace Stevens
Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container.

Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container.

Wallace Stevens
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendos
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

I do not know which to prefer, The beauty of inflections Or the beauty of innuendos The blackbird whistling Or just after.

Wallace Stevens
Death is the mother of beauty. Only the perishable can be beautiful, which is why we are unmoved by artificial flowers.

Death is the mother of beauty. Only the perishable can be beautiful, which is why we are unmoved by artificial flowers.

Wallace Stevens
The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.

Wallace Stevens
Throw away the light, the definitions, and say what you see in the dark.

Throw away the light, the definitions, and say what you see in the dark.

Wallace Stevens
Reality is a clich from which we escape by metaphor.

Reality is a clich from which we escape by metaphor.

Wallace Stevens
The exceeding brightness of this early sun
Makes me conceive how dark I have become.

The exceeding brightness of this early sun Makes me conceive how dark I have become.

Wallace Stevens
It is not everyday that the world arranges itself into a poem.

It is not everyday that the world arranges itself into a poem.

Wallace Stevens
We live in an old chaos of the sun.

We live in an old chaos of the sun.

Wallace Stevens
The final belief is to believe in a fiction, which you know to be a fiction, there being nothing else. The exquisite truth is to know that it is a fiction and that you believe in it willingly.

The final belief is to believe in a fiction, which you know to be a fiction, there being nothing else. The exquisite truth is to know that it is a fiction and that you believe in it willingly.

Wallace Stevens
The reader became the book; and summer night
Was like the conscious being of the book.

The reader became the book; and summer night Was like the conscious being of the book.

Wallace Stevens
The imperfect is our paradise.

The imperfect is our paradise.

Wallace Stevens
A poet looks at the world as a man looks at a woman.

A poet looks at the world as a man looks at a woman.

Wallace Stevens
The mind can never be satisfied.

The mind can never be satisfied.

Wallace Stevens
One must read poetry with one's nerves.

One must read poetry with one's nerves.

Wallace Stevens
I am what is around me.

I am what is around me.

Wallace Stevens
For the listener, who listens in the snow, / And, nothing himself, beholds /
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

For the listener, who listens in the snow, / And, nothing himself, beholds / Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Wallace Stevens
The way through the world
Is more difficult to find than the way beyond it.

The way through the world Is more difficult to find than the way beyond it.

Wallace Stevens
I certainly do not exist from nine to six, when I am at the office.

I certainly do not exist from nine to six, when I am at the office.

Wallace Stevens
In the presence of extraordinary actuality, consciousness takes the place of imagination.

In the presence of extraordinary actuality, consciousness takes the place of imagination.

Wallace Stevens
The poem must resist the intelligence
Almost successfully.

The poem must resist the intelligence Almost successfully.

Wallace Stevens
Poetry is an abstraction bloodied.

Poetry is an abstraction bloodied.

Wallace Stevens
I was myself the compass of that sea:
I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.

I was myself the compass of that sea: I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw Or heard or felt came not but from myself; And there I found myself more truly and more strange.

Wallace Stevens
Out of this same light, out of the central mind,
We make a dwelling in the evening air,
In which being there together is enough.

Out of this same light, out of the central mind, We make a dwelling in the evening air, In which being there together is enough.

Wallace Stevens
Children picking up our bones
Will never know that these were once
As quick as foxes on the hill;

Children picking up our bones Will never know that these were once As quick as foxes on the hill;

Wallace Stevens
I am the truth, since I am part of what is real, but neither more nor less than those around me.

I am the truth, since I am part of what is real, but neither more nor less than those around me.

Wallace Stevens
It is the unknown that excites the ardor of scholars, who, in the known alone, would shrivel up with boredom.

It is the unknown that excites the ardor of scholars, who, in the known alone, would shrivel up with boredom.

Wallace Stevens
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

I know noble accents And lucid, inescapable rhythms; But I know, too, That the blackbird is involved In what I know.

Wallace Stevens
I still feel the need of some imperishable bliss.

I still feel the need of some imperishable bliss.

Wallace Stevens
The river is moving. The blackbird must be flying.

The river is moving. The blackbird must be flying.

Wallace Stevens
After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things. It is as if
We had come to an end of the imagination,
Inanimate in an inert savoir.

After the leaves have fallen, we return To a plain sense of things. It is as if We had come to an end of the imagination, Inanimate in an inert savoir.

Wallace Stevens
God and the imagination are one.

God and the imagination are one.

Wallace Stevens
Of the Surface of Things

In my room, the world is beyond my understanding;
But when I walk I see that it consists of three or four
Hills and a cloud.

Of the Surface of Things In my room, the world is beyond my understanding; But when I walk I see that it consists of three or four Hills and a cloud.

Wallace Stevens
It can never be satisfied, the mind, never.

It can never be satisfied, the mind, never.

Wallace Stevens
The yellow glistens.
It glistens with various yellows,
Citrons, oranges and greens
Flowering over the skin.

The yellow glistens. It glistens with various yellows, Citrons, oranges and greens Flowering over the skin.

Wallace Stevens
It is never the thing but the version of the thing.

It is never the thing but the version of the thing.

Wallace Stevens
The great poems of heaven and hell have been written and the great poem of earth remains to be written.

The great poems of heaven and hell have been written and the great poem of earth remains to be written.

Wallace Stevens
A pear should come to the table popped with juice,
Ripened in warmth and served in warmth. On terms
Like these, autumn beguiles the fatalist.

A pear should come to the table popped with juice, Ripened in warmth and served in warmth. On terms Like these, autumn beguiles the fatalist.

Wallace Stevens
People should like poetry the way a child likes snow, and they would if poets wrote it.

People should like poetry the way a child likes snow, and they would if poets wrote it.

Wallace Stevens
It is necessary to any originality to have the courage to be an amateur.

It is necessary to any originality to have the courage to be an amateur.

Wallace Stevens
Conceptions are artificial. Perceptions are essential.

Conceptions are artificial. Perceptions are essential.

Wallace Stevens
The imagination loses vitality as it ceases to adhere to what is real.

The imagination loses vitality as it ceases to adhere to what is real.

Wallace Stevens
A change of style is a change of meaning.

A change of style is a change of meaning.

Wallace Stevens
One must have a mind of winter.

One must have a mind of winter.

Wallace Stevens
We must endure our thoughts all night, until the bright obvious stands motionless in cold.

We must endure our thoughts all night, until the bright obvious stands motionless in cold.

Wallace Stevens
From this the poem springs: that we live in a place 
That is not our own and, much more, not ourselves 
And hard it is in spite of blazoned days.

From this the poem springs: that we live in a place That is not our own and, much more, not ourselves And hard it is in spite of blazoned days.

Wallace Stevens
A violent order is disorder; and a great disorder is an order.
These two things are one.

A violent order is disorder; and a great disorder is an order. These two things are one.

Wallace Stevens
Next to love is the desire for love.

Next to love is the desire for love.

Wallace Stevens
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires.

Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her, Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams And our desires.

Wallace Stevens
After the final no there comes a yes / And on that yes the future world depends.

After the final no there comes a yes / And on that yes the future world depends.

Wallace Stevens
There is nothing in life except what one thinks of it.

There is nothing in life except what one thinks of it.

Wallace Stevens
The fire burns as the novel taught it how.

The fire burns as the novel taught it how.

Wallace Stevens
Sigh for me, night-wind, in the noisy leaves of the oak. / I am tired. Sleep for me, heaven over the hill. / Shout for me, loudly and loudly, joyful sun, when you rise.

Sigh for me, night-wind, in the noisy leaves of the oak. / I am tired. Sleep for me, heaven over the hill. / Shout for me, loudly and loudly, joyful sun, when you rise.

Wallace Stevens
One cannot spend one's time in being modern when there are so many more important things to be.

One cannot spend one's time in being modern when there are so many more important things to be.

Wallace Stevens
Poetry is the scholar's art.

Poetry is the scholar's art.

Wallace Stevens
The imagination is man's power over nature.

The imagination is man's power over nature.

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

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
There will never be an end
To this droning of the surf.

There will never be an end To this droning of the surf.

Wallace Stevens
There is no wing like meaning

There is no wing like meaning

Wallace Stevens
If sex were all, then every trembling hand
Could make us squeak, like dolls, the wished-for words.

If sex were all, then every trembling hand Could make us squeak, like dolls, the wished-for words.

Wallace Stevens
Thought tends to collect in pools.

Thought tends to collect in pools.

Wallace Stevens
... unreal things have a reality of their own, in poetry as elsewhere.

... unreal things have a reality of their own, in poetry as elsewhere.

Wallace Stevens
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Let be be finale of seem. The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Wallace Stevens
Reality Is an Activity of the Most August Imagination.

Reality Is an Activity of the Most August Imagination.

Wallace Stevens
It is a world of words to the end of it, / In which nothing solid is its solid self.

It is a world of words to the end of it, / In which nothing solid is its solid self.

Wallace Stevens
Beneath every no lays a passion for yes that had never been broken.

Beneath every no lays a passion for yes that had never been broken.

Wallace Stevens
The partaker partakes of that which changes him. The child that touches takes character from the thing, the body, it touches.

The partaker partakes of that which changes him. The child that touches takes character from the thing, the body, it touches.

Wallace Stevens
We say God and the imagination are one . . .
How high that highest candle lights the dark.

We say God and the imagination are one . . . How high that highest candle lights the dark.

Wallace Stevens
I do not know which to prefer, 
The beauty of inflections 
Or the beauty of innuendoes, 
The blackbird whistling 
Or just after.

I do not know which to prefer, The beauty of inflections Or the beauty of innuendoes, The blackbird whistling Or just after.

Wallace Stevens
Eyes dripping blue, so much to learn.

Eyes dripping blue, so much to learn.

Wallace Stevens
Everything is complicated; if that were not so, life and poetry and everything else would be a bore.

Everything is complicated; if that were not so, life and poetry and everything else would be a bore.

Wallace Stevens
I like Rhine wine, blue grapes, good cheese, endive and lots of books, etc., etc., etc., as much as I like supreme fiction.

I like Rhine wine, blue grapes, good cheese, endive and lots of books, etc., etc., etc., as much as I like supreme fiction.

Wallace Stevens
He brushed away the thunder, then the clouds, then the colossal illusion of heaven. Yet still the sky was blue.

He brushed away the thunder, then the clouds, then the colossal illusion of heaven. Yet still the sky was blue.

Wallace Stevens
I placed a jar in Tennessee and round it 
was upon a hill.

I placed a jar in Tennessee and round it was upon a hill.

Wallace Stevens
Poetry is a finikin thing of air
That lives uncertainly and not for long
Yet radiantly beyond much lustier blurs.

Poetry is a finikin thing of air That lives uncertainly and not for long Yet radiantly beyond much lustier blurs.

Wallace Stevens
They said

They said"You have a blue guitar You do not play things as they are". The man replied,"things as they are Are changed upon the blue guitar".

Wallace Stevens
Thought is an infection. In the case of certain thoughts it becomes an epidemic. p901

Thought is an infection. In the case of certain thoughts it becomes an epidemic. p901

Wallace Stevens
The old seraph, parcel-gilded, among violets Inhaled the appointed odor, while the doves Rose up like phantoms from chronologies.

The old seraph, parcel-gilded, among violets Inhaled the appointed odor, while the doves Rose up like phantoms from chronologies.

Wallace Stevens
The most beautiful thing in the world is, of course, the world itself.

The most beautiful thing in the world is, of course, the world itself.

Wallace Stevens
Man is an eternal sophomore.

Man is an eternal sophomore.

Wallace Stevens
The lion sleeps in the sun.
its nose on its paws.
it can kill a man.

The lion sleeps in the sun. its nose on its paws. it can kill a man.

Wallace Stevens
There is a perfect rout of characters in every man—and every man is like an actor’s trunk, full of strange creatures, new & old. But an actor and his trunk are two different things

There is a perfect rout of characters in every man—and every man is like an actor’s trunk, full of strange creatures, new & old. But an actor and his trunk are two different things

Wallace Stevens
From oriole to crow, note the decline
In music. Crow is realist. But, then,
Oriole, also, may be realist.

From oriole to crow, note the decline In music. Crow is realist. But, then, Oriole, also, may be realist.

Wallace Stevens
It is not in the premise that reality
Is a solid. It may be a shade that traverses
A dust, a force that traverses a shade.

It is not in the premise that reality Is a solid. It may be a shade that traverses A dust, a force that traverses a shade.

Wallace Stevens
After the final no there come a yes, and on that yes a future world depends.

After the final no there come a yes, and on that yes a future world depends.

Wallace Stevens
Then the sea and heaven rolled as one and from the two came fresh transfigurings of freshest blue.

Then the sea and heaven rolled as one and from the two came fresh transfigurings of freshest blue.

Wallace Stevens
Desiring the exhilarations of changes: 
The motive for metaphor, shrinking from
The weight of primary noon ...

Desiring the exhilarations of changes: The motive for metaphor, shrinking from The weight of primary noon ...

Wallace Stevens
The stars are putting on their glittering belts,
They throw around their shoulders cloaks that flash 
Like a great shadow's last embellishment

The stars are putting on their glittering belts, They throw around their shoulders cloaks that flash Like a great shadow's last embellishment

Wallace Stevens
Sentimentality is a failure of feeling. p.903

Sentimentality is a failure of feeling. p.903

Wallace Stevens
In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.

In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.

Wallace Stevens
Accuracy of observation is the equivalent of accuracy of thinking.

Accuracy of observation is the equivalent of accuracy of thinking.

Wallace Stevens
Fromage and coffee and cognac and no gods.

Fromage and coffee and cognac and no gods.

Wallace Stevens
Reality is the beginning not the end,
Naked Alpha, not the hierophant Omega, 
Of dense investiture, with luminous vassals.

Reality is the beginning not the end, Naked Alpha, not the hierophant Omega, Of dense investiture, with luminous vassals.

Wallace Stevens
A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman.

A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman.

Wallace Stevens
The wound kills that does not bleed.

The wound kills that does not bleed.

Wallace Stevens
They will get it straight one day at the Sorbonne.
We shall return at twilight from the lecture
Pleased that the irrational is rational

They will get it straight one day at the Sorbonne. We shall return at twilight from the lecture Pleased that the irrational is rational

Wallace Stevens