Read selected poems of Wallace Stevens
American modernist poet Wallace Stevens was born on October 2nd, 1879 in Reading, Pennsylvania. In 1955 Stevens won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his Collected Poems.
Stevens is a rare example of a poet whose main output came at a fairly advanced age. His first major publication (four poems from a sequence entitled “Phases” in the November 1914 edition of Poetry Magazine) was written at the age of thirty-five, although as an undergraduate at Harvard, Stevens had written poetry and exchanged sonnets with George Santayana, with whom he was close through much of his life. Many of his canonical works were written well after he turned fifty. According to the literary critic Harold Bloom, who called Stevens the “best and most representative” American poet of the time, no Western writer since Sophocles has had such a late flowering of artistic genius. Helen Vendler notes that there are three distinguishable moods present in Stevens’ long poems: ecstasy, apathy, and reluctance between ecstasy and apathy. She also notes that his poetry was highly influenced by the paintings of Paul Klee and Paul Cézanne.
Stevens died of stomach cancer on August 2nd, 1955.