The Wallace Stevens House, Hartford, Ct.
Wallace Stevens [USA]
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Wallace Stevens was the second of five children of a lawyer father and a mother who had been a former schoolteacher. Stevens’ upbringing in this middle-class, Presbyterian, bible-reading family was quite conventional. He played football, was educated in the classics, and graduated in 1897, the same year as his brother.
Stevens attended Harvard University as a special student, allowing him a reduced tuition but no degree. While there he began writing fiction and poems for the local campus magazine, and in following years he was elected president of the Harvard Advocate, the literary magazine. While at Harvard, Stevens also encountered the noted philosopher-poet George Santayana, with whom he met several times and with whom he shared some of his poetry.
Harmonium was not a financial success, but contained some of this most outstanding poems of any first publication by a poet. Among the works in this volume were the noted poems “The Snow Man,” “The Emperor of Ice-Cream,” “Sunday Morning,” “Anecdote of the Jar,” “Peter Quince at the Clavier,” and “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”
BOOKS OF POETRY
Harmonium (New York: Knopf, 1923; revised and enlarged, 1931); Ideas of Order (New York: Alcestis Press, 1935; enlarged edition, New York: Knopf, 1936); Owl’s Clover (New York: Alcestis Press, 1936); The Man with the Blue Guitar & Other Poems (New York: Knopf, 1937); Parts of a World (New York: Knopf, 1942); Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction (Cummington, Massachusetts: Cummington Press, 1942); Esthétique du Mal (Cummington, Massachusetts: Cummington Press, 1945); Transport to Summer (New York: Knopf, 1947); Three Academic Pieces: The Realm of Resemblance, Someone Puts a Pineapple Together, Of Idea Time and Choice (Cummington, Massachusetts: Cumming Press, 1947); A Primitive Like an Orb (New York: Gotham Book Mart, 1948); The Auroras of Autumn (New York: Knopf, 1950); Selected Poems (London: Fortune Press, 1952); Selected Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1953); Mattino Domenicale [in English and Italian, translations by Renato Poggioli (Turin: Guilio Einaudi, 1954); Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird (New York: Knopf, 1954); The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens (New York: Knopf, 1954; London: Faber & Faber, 1955); Opus Posthumous, edited by Samuel French Morse (New York: Knopf, 1954; London: Faber & Faber, 1959); Poems of Wallace Stevens, edited by Samuel French Morse (New York: Vintage, 1959); The Palm at the End of the Mind: Selected Poems and a Play by Wallace Stevens, edited by Holly Stevens (New York: Knopf, 1971).