Wallace Stevens (October 2, 1879 – August 2, 1955) was an American modernist poet. He was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, educated at Harvard and then New York Law School, and he spent most of his life working as an executive for an insurance company in Hartford, Connecticut. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his Collected Poems in 1955.
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To be young is all there is in the world. . . . [Adults] talk so beautifully about work and having a family and a home (and I do, too, sometimes) — but it's all worry and headaches and respectable poverty and forced gushing. . . . Telling people how nice it is, when, in reality, you would give all of your last thirty years for one of your first thirty. Old people are tremendous frauds.
I thought how utterly we have forsaken the earth, in the sense of excluding it from our thoughts. There are but few who consider its physical hugeness, its rough enormity. It is still a disparate monstrosity, full of solitudes, barrens, wilds. It still dwarfs, terrifies, crushes. The rivers still roar, the mountains still crash, the winds still shatter. Man is an affair of cities. His gardens, orchards, and fields are mere scrapings. Somehow, however, he has managed to shut out the face of the giant from his windows. But the giant is there, nevertheless.
Disposition to derision and insult is awakened by the softness to foppery, the swell of insolence, the liveliness of levity, or the solemnity of grandeur by the sprightly trip, the stately stalk, the formal strut, and the lofty mein by gestures intended to catch the eye, and by looks elaborately formed as evidences of importance.