15 May 2014

Poetry Thursday - On the Surface of Things by Wallace Stevens

"Of the Surface of Things" by Wallace Stevens 

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.
From my balcony, I survey the yellow air,
Reading where I have written,
‘The spring is like a belle undressing.’
The gold tree is blue.
The singer has pulled his cloak over his head.
The moon is in the folds of the cloak.

(from Poetry Daily, where you can find an eye-opening analysis of the poem)

"One must read poetry with one's nerves," said Wallace Stevens; he also said, "The imperfect is our paradise." And much more.

Stevens (1879-1955) practised law from 1904 to 1916; his poems were first published in 1914, and his first book was published in 1923. He didn't give up the day job, but continued in business. "More than any other modern poet, Stevens was concerned with the transformative power of the imagination. Composing poems on his way to and from the office and in the evenings, Stevens continued to spend his days behind a desk at the office, and led a quiet, uneventful life.

"Though now considered one of the major American poets of the century, he did not receive widespread recognition until the publication of his Collected Poems, just a year before his death. " (via)

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