Friday, January 2, 2015

Poetry: Wallace Stevens (1879 - 1955)

Born in Pennsylvania, Wallace Stevens was educated at Harvard College and New York University Law School. He practiced law in New York City from 1904 to 1916, a time of great artistic and poetic activity there. On moving to Hartford, Connecticut, to become an insurance executive in 1916, he continued writing poetry. His life is remarkable for its compartmentalisation: His associates in the insurance company did not know that he was a major poet.

In private he continued to develop extremely complex ideas of aesthetic order throughout his life in aptly named books such as Harmonium (enlarged edition 1931), Ideas of Order (1935), and Parts of the World (1942). Some of his best known poems are "Sunday Morning", "Peter Quince at the Clavier", "The Emperoro of Ice-Cream", "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird", and "The Idea of Order at Key West".
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