HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens

by Wallace Stevens

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,73897,592 (4.44)22
This definitive poetry collection, originally published in 1954 to honor Stevens on his 75th birthday, contains: - "Harmonium" - "Ideas of Order" - "The Man With the Blue Guitar" - "Parts of the World" - "Transport Summer" - "The Auroras of Autumn" - "The Rock"
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 22 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
For Easter. A friend told me this is maybe the best poem in the English language, quoting bits of it as we were driving along. Had to look it up. Here it is.

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)
Sunday Morning

1

Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.

2

Why should she give her bounty to the dead?
What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measure destined for her soul.

3

Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave
Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind.
He moved among us, as a muttering king,
Magnificent, would move among his hinds,
Until our blood, commingling, virginal,
With heaven, brought such requital to desire
The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be
The blood of paradise? And shall the earth
Seem all of paradise that we shall know?
The sky will be much friendlier then than now,
A part of labor and a part of pain,
And next in glory to enduring love,
Not this dividing and indifferent blue.

4

She says, 'I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?'
There is not any haunt of prophecy,
Nor any old chimera of the grave,
Neither the golden underground, nor isle
Melodious, where spirits gat them home,
Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm
Remote on heaven's hill, that has endured
As April's green endures; or will endure
Like her remembrance of awakened birds,
Or her desire for June and evening, tipped
By the consummation of the swallow's wings.

5

She says, 'But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.'
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires. Although she strews the leaves
Of sure obliteration on our paths,
The path sick sorrow took, the many paths
Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love
Whispered a little out of tenderness,
She makes the willow shiver in the sun
For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze
Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears
On disregarded plate. The maidens taste
And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.

6

Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.

7

Supple and turbulent, a ring of men
Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn
Their boisterous devotion to the sun,
Not as a god, but as a god might be,
Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise,
Out of their blood, returning to the sky;
And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,
The windy lake wherein their lord delights,
The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills,
That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship
Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feel shall manifest.

8

She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, 'The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.'
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

Notes

1] In a letter to L. W. Payne, Jr., of March 31, 1928, Stevens draws attention to the poem's "paganism" (Letters, 250).
peignoir: loose dressing gown of a woman.

3] cockatoo: colourful and noisy parrot.

5] The Christian mass remembers Christ's crucifixion by sharing his body and blood as bread and wine with the faithful.

15] sepulchre: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre shelters the tomb in which Jesus' body was laid on Good Friday and discovered missing on the Sunday afterward.

31] Jove: Jupiter.

35] hinds: farm workers, here shepherds.

38] star: pointer to the birthplace of the Christ-child, as seen by the shepherds and the three kings.

52] chimera: bad dream, literally a she-monster whose body, in Greek myth, consists of a goat's torso, a lion's head, and a snake's tail.

54] gat: betook themselves.

74] disregarded plate: Stevens had to explain to Harriet Monroe, editor of Poetry, that he meant, by this, family silverware that was no longer used (Letters,183-84).

100] serafin: seraphim, angels.

119] undulations: wave-like rise-and-falls.

Online text copyright © 2009, Ian Lancashire (the Department of English) and the University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries. ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
The quintessential "poet's poet." Stevens used his poems to meditate on the art of poetry more thoroughly than perhaps any modern poet, on the way developing a complex and compelling account of human imagination. He was also a beautiful lyricist with a wonderful sense of humor, especially in his earliest poems. He is most famous for the poems in Harmonium, his first collection (which is found in its entirety in this volume), but I prefer later Stevens, the Stevens of "Man Carrying Thing" and "An Ordinary Evening in New Haven." ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
First read his poems in a grad course when this very book was our textbook; the images invoke many thoughts and feelings which I cannot articulate; and isn't that what the best poetry does for a reader? Check out "A Fading of the Sun." ( )
  HankIII | Jul 26, 2010 |
Not all of the poems are 5 star worthy. But you can see his writing evolve. And when he does it, he hits it so far out of the park you have to catch your breath. His poems can be so deep I uncover parts of existence I didn't know were there. ( )
  lesleyap | Dec 15, 2008 |
I think if I devoted more time to Wallace Stevens I'd appreciate him more. "Emperor of Ice Cream" was one of the first poems I really liked when I was younger, for its absurdity. Same with "Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock." One of these days I'll buckle down and put more effort into reading poems like "Idea of Order at Key West."
( )
  seanj | Jul 8, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

This definitive poetry collection, originally published in 1954 to honor Stevens on his 75th birthday, contains: - "Harmonium" - "Ideas of Order" - "The Man With the Blue Guitar" - "Parts of the World" - "Transport Summer" - "The Auroras of Autumn" - "The Rock"

No library descriptions found.

Book description
ABOUT THE COLLECTED POEMS OF WALLACE STEVENS

The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens is the definitive collection from the man Harold Bloom has called “the best and most representative American poet.”

Originally published in 1954 to honor Stevens’s seventy-fifth birthday, the book was rushed into print for the occasion and contained scores of errors. These have now been corrected in one place for the first time by Stevens scholars John N. Serio and Christopher Beyers, based on original editions and manuscripts. The Collected Poems is the one volume that Stevens intended to contain all the poems he wished to preserve, presented in the way he wanted. An essential collection for all readers of poetry, it is an enduring monument to his dazzling achievement.
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.44)
0.5
1 1
1.5 1
2 9
2.5
3 15
3.5 4
4 58
4.5 9
5 141

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 163,385,335 books! | Top bar: Always visible