Monday’s Verse, Mar. 10, 2008

Dear Readers,

I’ve been a fan of Wallace Stevens since 1988. And I’ve been a law student for 18 months. But I did not know until this week-end that he was a lawyer. A lawyer! He got his degree from New York Law School in the early 20th Century, practiced corporate law in the city for a couple years, and, as we all know, eventually got into the insurance game, spending the bulk of his professional career as a vice president with the Hartford Company. Was he, then, a man disposed to know that we are not only conditioned and limited by words, but made out of words? But the statements in this poem go even further, delving into fate, fantasy, and the subconscious–the use of repetition nails down his various foci. One never really understands Stevens, I often conclude. But whatever would limit the forms and aims of art, that is what he fought against. -ed.


What should we be without the sexual myth,
The human reverie or poem of death?
Castratos of moon-mash–Life consists
Of propositions about life. The human
Revery is a solitude in which
We compose these propositions, torn by dreams,
By the terrible incantations of defeats
And by the fear that defeats and dreams are one.
The whole race is a poet that writes down
The eccentric propositions of its fate.

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