carl's Reviews > Collected Poetry & Prose

Collected Poetry & Prose by Wallace Stevens
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Mar 14, 2012

it was amazing

I have to admit that it is difficult for me to discuss Stevens' poetry as ... well its poetry, and true poetry at that. There is a direct experience with the secular in life, the mundane, the material that imbues his work. God is dead in this world in a very real and nonreligious way. You have no sense the author is ridding himself of such things as belief or spirit. Instead it is almost a homecoming. As you walk through his poetry you are reminded again and again that this is all there is, and yet, it is enough. In a collection of comic strips by Paul Madonna (All Over Coffee), Paul M. makes the comment at the end: Everything is its own reward. And I think Stevens would heartily agree.

And yet, because of that distance from 'spirituality' or 'religion' his work is more deeply spiritual than almost all of what passes as writing on those topics. By being grounded solidly in the real, in this world, he has oddly opened up space for another.

I cannot recommend Wallace Stevens enough. He is truly on my list of must-have books. There is great comfort there and great barrenness and somehow an oasis.

This particular edition is from the Library of America series. These books are not only excellent collections in their content, but the printing, the paper, the binding even make these books a joy to own and read.
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