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

Inspirational quotes by Wallace Stevens on life, nature, God, observation, beauty and other things.

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

Quick Facts

Famous As: Poet

Born On: October 2, 1879

Died On: August 2, 1955

Born In: Reading

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.
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Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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

Wallace Stevens

The imperfect is our paradise.

Wallace Stevens

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

Wallace Stevens

The mind can never be satisfied.

Wallace Stevens

I am what is around me.

Wallace Stevens

One must read poetry with one's nerves.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

The poem must resist the intelligence Almost successfully.

Wallace Stevens

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.

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

I still feel the need of some imperishable bliss.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

Conceptions are artificial. Perceptions are essential.

Wallace Stevens

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

Wallace Stevens

A change of style is a change of meaning.

Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

Thought tends to collect in pools.

Wallace Stevens

... 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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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

Wallace Stevens

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

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

Man is an eternal sophomore.

Wallace Stevens

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

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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

Wallace Stevens

Sentimentality is a failure of feeling. p.903

Wallace Stevens

In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.

Wallace Stevens

Accuracy of observation is the equivalent of accuracy of thinking.

Wallace Stevens

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.

Wallace Stevens

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

Wallace Stevens

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

Wallace Stevens