Wallace Stevens Quotes

Wallace Stevens was one of the most renowned American poets of the 20th century. His work is marked by its philosophical and abstract nature, and his poems are known for their dense and layered language. Here are some of the best quotes from Wallace Stevens that offer a unique perspective on life and encourage us to think about things in a different way.

  • The summer night is like a perfection of thought.

    Wallace Stevens
  • Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!

    Wallace Stevens
  • The poet is the priest of the invisible.

    Wallace Stevens
  • Nothing could be more inappropriate to American literature than its English source since the Americans are not British in sensibility.

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

    Wallace Stevens
  • In poetry, you must love the words, the ideas and the images and rhythms with all your capacity to love anything at all.

    Wallace Stevens
  • Reality is not what it is. It consists of the many realities which it can be made into.

    Wallace Stevens
  • Style is not something applied. It is something that permeates. It is of the nature of that in which it is found, whether the poem, the manner of a god, the bearing of a man. It is not a dress.

    Wallace Stevens
  • One’s ignorance is one’s chief asset.

    Wallace Stevens
  • If some really acute observer made as much of egotism as Freud has made of sex, people would forget a good deal about sex and find the explanation for everything in egotism.

    Wallace Stevens
  • New York is a field of tireless and antagonistic interests undoubtedly fascinating but horribly unreal. Everybody is looking at everybody else a foolish crowd walking on mirrors.

    Wallace Stevens
  • As life grows more terrible, its literature grows more terrible.

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

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

    Wallace Stevens
  • Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.

    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
  • The point of vision and desire are the same.

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

    Wallace Stevens
  • Most people read poetry listening for echoes because the echoes are familiar to them. They wade through it the way a boy wades through water, feeling with his toes for the bottom: The echoes are the bottom.

    Wallace Stevens
  • Intolerance respecting other people’s religion is toleration itself in comparison with intolerance respecting other people’s art.

    Wallace Stevens
  • The imagination is man’s power over nature.

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

    Wallace Stevens
  • The reason can give nothing at all Like the response to desire.

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

    Wallace Stevens
  • 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.

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

    Wallace Stevens
  • The day of the sun is like the day of a king. It is a promenade in the morning, a sitting on the throne at noon, a pageant in the evening.

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

    Wallace Stevens
  • Death is the mother of Beauty; hence from her, alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams and our desires.

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

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

    Wallace Stevens
  • The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence.

    Wallace Stevens
  • How full of trifles everything is! It is only one’s thoughts that fill a room with something more than furniture.

    Wallace Stevens
  • In the world of words, the imagination is one of the forces of nature.

    Wallace Stevens
  • To regard the imagination as metaphysics is to think of it as part of life, and to think of it as part of life is to realize the extent of artifice. We live in the mind.

    Wallace Stevens
  • A poem need not have a meaning and like most things in nature often does not have.

    Wallace Stevens
  • If poetry should address itself to the same needs and aspirations, the same hopes and fears, to which the Bible addresses itself, it might rival it in distribution.

    Wallace Stevens
  • Perhaps it is of more value to infuriate philosophers than to go along with them.

    Wallace Stevens
  • The genuine artist is never ‘true to life.’ He sees what is real, but not as we are normally aware of it. We do not go storming through life like actors in a play. Art is never real life.

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

    Wallace Stevens
  • Our bloom is gone. We are the fruit thereof.

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

    Wallace Stevens
  • Money is a kind of poetry.

    Wallace Stevens
  • After the final no there comes a yes and on that yes the future of the world hangs.

    Wallace Stevens

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