Bring on the Wallace Stevens

I’ve been going back and reading Wallace Stevens lately. I first came across his poetry a while back in a college modernist lit class, and keep coming back every so often. For the next couple days I’m going to go on a little Stevens bender around here, sort of like my Frans Masereel festival a while back (which was ruined by pesky lawyer-types, but that’s another story).
To start things off, a bit from a New York Times interview with Wallace Stevens. Stevens worked a regular day job in insurance while writing his poetry in the evenings.

Regarding the inevitable work-by-day, muse-by-night question which he has been asked for upward of forty years: “I’ve always skipped answering that. I prefer to think I’m just a man, not a poet part time, business man the rest. This is a fortunate thing, considering how inconsiderate the ravens are. I don’t divide my life, just go on living.”

Later in life Stevens even turned down a gig at Harvard because he didn’t want to leave his insurance job. There’s a refreshing lack of self-pity. Selling insurance is fine. Writing poetry is nice, too. Just a guy doing things he likes.

I’m no different from anyone else, just a run of the mine person. I like painting, books, poems. In my younger days I liked girls. But let’s not stress that. I have a wife.

4 thoughts on “Bring on the Wallace Stevens

  1. It’s interesting that he says “run of the mine” rather than “run of the mill,” isn’t it? You pull your daily bread from what comes out of the mill, while you can pull either your hearth fires or your diamonds from deep in the heart of the mine.

  2. Jen, I thought that was a cool turn of phrase, too. I wonder if it’s a northern idiom?Austin, it looks like Stevens & Williams already had a jump on our beloved instructions for How to be Creative, part #7. I *think* I’m starting to understand that part.

  3. […] BRUSHWORK Monday, June 16th, 2008 I prefer to think Im just a man, not a poet part time, business man the rest.Im no different from anyone else, just a run of the mine person. I like painting, books, poems. In my younger days I liked girls. But lets not stress that. I have a wife. Wallace Stevens […]

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