Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wallace Stevens

Image found here.

Today is Wallace Stevens' birthday. Long-time visitors here know that Stevens' work is an important touchstone for this blog, so I would be remiss if I didn't post a little something in honor of this man on his day.

Below the fold: a couple of links to past posts of mine in which Stevens figures prominently, along with a poem of his.

First the posts, which also happen to be among the more commented-upon posts I've written:

A stretch of river XXXIX: Updating the wildlife census, and some thoughts on this blog's epigraph

Nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is: A ramble through "the natural world"

And now the poem: a small but important poem for reading him, Stevens' "Tea at the Palaz of Hoon" (text found here):

Not less because in purple I descended
The western day through what you called
The loneliest air, not less was I myself.

What was the ointment sprinkled on my beard?
What were the hymns that buzzed beside my ears?
What was the sea whose tide swept through me there?

Out of my mind the golden ointment rained,
And my ears made the blowing hymns they heard.
I was myself the compass of that sea:

I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.

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