Five Book (and one record) Birthday Salute to Wallace Stevens
Soldier, there is a war between the mind
And sky, between thought and day and night. It is
For that the poet is always in the sun,
Patches the moon together in his room
to his Virgilian cadences, up down,
Up down. It is a war that never ends.
-from Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction
Today is the birthday of Wallace Stevens. Literary critic Harold Bloom called Stevens “the best and most representative American poet of our time.” Though he spent most of his life working as an executive for an insurance company he also achieved the honor of being one of America’s most respected poets.
From his biography at The Poetry Foundation:
He was a master stylist, employing an extraordinary vocabulary and a rigorous precision in crafting his poems. But he was also a philosopher of aesthetics, vigorously exploring the notion of poetry as the supreme fusion of the creative imagination and objective reality.
1. The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens Alfred A. Knopf, U.S.A., 1954. First edition, first printing. Number 2201 of 2500 numbered copies. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
2. Harmonium (First Edition, first issue, signed). The poet’s first collection, published when he was 44 years old, after almost a decade of appearances only in magazines. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1923.
3. Study of Two Pears / Etude de deux poires. A Poem by Wallace Stevens with a translation into French by Bernard Noel and mezzotints by Judith Rothchild
Published 2003 in Octon, France by Verdigris Press. One of 44 copies from a total issue of 50, all on Hahnemuhle paper, each copy signed in pencil by the artist, Judith Rothchild, and the printer, Mark Lintott, and hand-numbered in pencil.
4. Parts of a World New York, 1942. First Edition. [One of 1,000 copies].
5. Poems.San Francisco: The Arion Press, 1985. with original etching by Jasper Johns.
First edition of this selection edited, with an introduction, by Helen Vendler. The frontispiece is an original etching by Jasper Johns, signed by him in the margin. One of three hundred numbered copies (of 326) printed on English mould-made paper under the direction of Andrew Hoyem,
6. Wallace Stevens Reading His Poems
Reportedly recorded in June, 1956, this example is undated but Caedmon address features a zip code and jacket front panel states “For Stereo or Monaural Phonographs,” indicating a release in the early- to mid-1960s.
Wallace Stevens books in print