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Wallace Stevens quotes (showing 1-30 of 178)

“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
“Death is the mother of beauty. Only the perishable can be beautiful, which is why we are unmoved by artificial flowers.”
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
“The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.”
Wallace Stevens, The Collected Poems
“Throw away the light, the definitions, and say what you see in the dark.”
Wallace Stevens
“Reality is a cliché from which we escape by metaphor.”
Wallace Stevens, The Necessary Angel: Essays on Reality and the Imagination
“The exceeding brightness of this early sun
Makes me conceive how dark I have become.”
Wallace Stevens, The Palm at the End of the Mind: Selected Poems and a Play
“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 imperfect is our paradise.”
Wallace Stevens
“The reader became the book; and summer night
Was like the conscious being of the book.”
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, Opus Posthumous: Poems, Plays, Prose
“A poet looks at the world as a man looks at a woman. ”
Wallace Stevens
“I am what is around me.”
Wallace Stevens
“The mind can never be satisfied.”
Wallace Stevens
tags: mind
The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.”
Wallace Stevens, Transport to Summer
“For the listener, who listens in the snow, / And, nothing himself, beholds /
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.”
Wallace Stevens
tags: man, snow, the
“One must read poetry with one's nerves.”
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
“The poem must resist the intelligence
Almost successfully.”
Wallace Stevens, The Collected Poems
“in the presence of extraordinary actuality, consciousness takes the place of imagination.”
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
“The people in the world, and the objects in it, and the world as a whole, are not absolute things, but on the contrary, are the phenomena of perception... If we were all alike: if we were millions of people saying do, re, mi, in unison, One poet would be enough... But we are not alone, and everything needs expounding all the time because, as people live and die, each one perceiving life and death for himself, and mostly by and in himself, there develops a curiosity about the perceptions of others. This is what makes it possible to go on saying new things about old things.”
Wallace Stevens
“Children picking up our bones
Will never know that these were once
As quick as foxes on the hill;”
Wallace Stevens, The Palm at the End of the Mind: Selected Poems and a Play
tags: poets
“It is the unknown that excites the ardor of scholars, who, in the known alone, would shrivel up with boredom.”
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
“I still feel the need of some imperishable bliss.”
Wallace Stevens, Harmonium

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