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.