One of the major poets of the twentieth century, Wallace Stevens's remarkable oeuvre is a quasi-spiritual quest for the supreme fiction, for a poetry that “must take the place / Of empty heaven and its hymns” and thus help modern man find meaning in a godless world. The poet's role, for Stevens, is that of high priest of the imagination: it is the poet who “gives to life the supreme fictions without which we are unable to conceive of it.”
Stevens's extended meditations on poetry and his insistence, in his “endlessly elaborating poem[s] ”, that “the theory / Of poetry is the theory of life”, has made him the critics' poet. To some a belated Romantic, to others a modernist in the Symbolist tradition, Stevens has b…
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Jenkins, Lee M.. "Wallace Stevens". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 December 2004
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