New Resources

  • A video recording of “Contemporary Poets on Wallace Stevens,” a roundtable discussion at the 2020 Modern Language Association convention, is now available online. Click here to access the video on the University of Pennsylvania website, and here to watch the video on YouTube. The speakers were Kate Colby, Mónica de la Torre, Aldon Lynn Nielsen, and Tyrone Williams. The panel was chaired by Al Filreis. 
  • Wallace Stevens’ first poetry collection, Harmonium (1923), is now available for free on our website. Click here to access the volume.

Forthcoming Events

  • American Literature Association (Chicago), May 2022. “Wallace Stevens and Asia”: panel organized by Florian Gargaillo, with presentations by Apala Das, Peter Feng, and Christopher Spaide.

New & Forthcoming Publications

  • Perennial Earth: Poetry by Wallace Stevens and Paintings by Alexis Serio, ed. John Serio, introduction by Glen MacLeod (New Perennials Publishing, 2022).

The book pairs over thirty of Stevens’s poems or passages with Serio’s abstract landscapes. Although the paintings were not created in response to Stevens, they share with him a reliance on landscape to express deep thought and feeling as both artist and writer celebrate our physical world. NewPerennials press publishes works on social and ecological issues and provides free PDF copies at A printed version of the coffee table book will soon be available for purchase.

  • The New Wallace Stevens Studies, ed. Bart Eeckhout and Gül Bilge Han (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

The New Wallace Stevens Studies introduces a range of fresh voices and promising topics to the study of this great American poet. It is organized into three sections. The first explores concepts that have begun to emerge in Stevens criticism: imperialism and colonialism, his politics of utopia, his ideas about community-building and audience, his secularism, and his transnationalism. The second section applies recent methodological and theoretical advances that have left a prominent mark on literary studies – from world literature and ecocriticism to urban studies, queer studies, intersectional thinking, and cognitive literary studies. Essays in the third section reassess issues that have long inspired critics. Here investigations include Stevens’s reception by later poets, his attitude toward modern fiction, different modes of his poetic thinking, aspects of his rhetoric and style, and his lyrical ethics. This volume captures a cross-section of the most striking recent developments in Stevens criticism.

For more information, please click here.

  • Gül Bilge Han, Wallace Stevens and the Poetics of Modernist Autonomy (Cambridge University Press, 2019).

Wallace Stevens and the Poetics of Modernist Autonomy presents a rethinking of modernist claims to autonomy by focusing on the work of Wallace Stevens, one of the most renowned poets of the twentieth century. By showing how multiple socio-political currents underlie and motivate Stevens’ version of autonomy, the book challenges the commonly received accounts of the term as art and literature’s escape from the world. It provides new and close readings of Stevens’ work including poems from different stages of the poet’s career. It re-energizes a tradition of historicist readings of Stevens from the 1980s and 1990s. The study of Stevens’ work in this book is developed in constant dialogue with current studies in modernism and aesthetic theory, particularly those offered by Jacques Rancière and Alain Badiou. The book explores the question of autonomy in Stevens’ exploration of the aesthetic and social domains, and the vexed issue of his poetry’s relation to philosophical thinking.

For more information, click here.

  • Juliette Utard, Wallace Stevens, une poétique du fini (Honoré Champion, 2018).

In stark opposition to the accepted definition of modernism as an aesthetics of the incomplete, this study on Wallace Stevens identifies a novel dialectic: a rejection of closure on the one hand, and an affirmation of finitude on the other, which requires a heightened investment in the materiality of the completed book.

Contre la définition admise du modernisme comme esthétique de l’inachevé, Wallace Stevens, Une poétique du fini identifie un double mouvement, de rejet de la clôture et de revendication du fini, qui passe par un surinvestissement de la matérialité du livre achevé. Après avoir abordé les premiers recueils à travers leur « condition textuelle » pour faire le portrait du poète dans son travail de finition, l’ouvrage explore la fin de l’œuvre, dont il questionne les attendus chronologiques et théoriques. La poésie tardive apparaît comme un genre codifié, en dialogue avec les grands maîtres du « style tardif » dans les arts, qui invite à la nécessaire réévaluation du concept de dernière période.

For more information, click here.

  • Lisa Goldfarb, Unexpected Affinities: Modern American Poetry and Symbolist Poetics (Sussex University Press, 2018).

Unexpected Affinities: Modern American Poetry and Symbolist Poetics studies the impact of Stevensian and Valéryan poetics, and symbolist poetics more broadly, on a range of Anglo-American poets in untypical fashion. Pairing poets who are not usually studied in their relation to one another reveals mutuality and dissimilitude. Chapter I looks at Stevens and Valéry from the vantage point of the senses as opposed to the more usual lens of their similar cerebral or philosophical temperaments. Although critics have largely and justifiably seen Stevens and Eliot in oppositional terms (Stevens proclaims them “dead opposites”), Lisa Goldfarb asks what happens when we look at them from the vantage point of their mutual interest in creating a musical poetics. Auden is principally known for his distaste for the symbolists and their magical poetics, yet he reserves special praise for Valéry and considers him as his poetic mentor; Chapter III studies their poetics side-by-side. With Stevens’ and Auden’s mutual appreciation of Valéry as a starting point, Chapter IV turns to a closer comparative study of Auden and Stevens, two poets who have traditionally been seen as operating in distinct poetic spheres. While Elizabeth Bishop famously eludes categorization in terms of poetic school or affiliation, a fifth chapter addresses her poetic music in relation to French symbolist poetics, one of the many poetic schools she admired. A sixth and final chapter examines Stevens’ musical legacy, in large part derived from the symbolists, and addresses the work of a range of modern and contemporary poets, with a final section devoted to the work of contemporary poet, Susan Howe.

For more information, click here.

  • Joan Richardson, How to Live, What to Do: Thirteen Ways of Looking at Wallace Stevens (University of Iowa Press, 2018).

How to Live, What to Do is an indispensable introduction to and guide through the work of a poet equal in power and sensibility to Shakespeare and Milton. Like them, Stevens shaped a new language, fashioning an instrument adequate to describing a completely changed environment of fact, extending perception through his poems to align what Emerson called our “axis of vision” with the universe as it came to be understood during his lifetime, 1879–1955, a span shared with Albert Einstein. Projecting his own imagination into spacetime as “a priest of the invisible,” persistently cultivating his cosmic consciousness through reading, keeping abreast of the latest discoveries of Einstein, Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Louis de Broglie, and others, Stevens pushed the boundaries of language into the exotic territories of relativity and quantum mechanics while at the same time honoring the continuing human need for belief in some larger order. His work records how to live, what to do in this strange new world of experience, seeing what was always seen but never seen before.

For more information, click here.

  • Wallace Stevens, Poetry, and France, edited by Juliette Utard, Bart Eeckhout, and Lisa Goldfarb (Editions rue d’Ulm, 2018). 

Wallace Stevens, Poetry, and France offers the first book-length study of the various effects—poetic and prosaic, serious and comic, strange and familiarproduced by the deployment of French languages and cultures in Stevenspoetry. Prominent Stevens scholars reexamine here a number of key issues raised by Stevens’ “special relation” to France from angles as diverse as translation studies, aesthetics, linguistics, comparative literature, French theory, and politics. With contributions by Charles Altieri, Antoine Cazé, Aurore Clavier, Angus Cleghorn, Bart Eeckhout, Lisa Goldfarb, Thomas Gould, Gül Bilge Han, Xavier Kalck, Anne Luyat, Glen MacLeod, Maureen N. McLane, Axel Nesme, Edward Ragg, Tony Sharpe, Lisa M. Steinman, and an introduction by Juliette Utard.

To view the ebook, click here.

  • Wallace Stevens in Context, edited by Glen MacLeod (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Wallace Stevens is generally considered one of the great twentieth-century American poets. Yet his original, sometimes highly abstract poetry can make him seem difficult and unapproachable to many readers. This book aims to overcome that difficulty by providing the contexts that clarify and explain Stevens’s ways of thinking and feeling. In thirty-six short essays, an international team of distinguished scholars provides a comprehensive overview of Stevens’s life and the world of his poetry. Individual chapters relate Stevens to such important contexts as the large Western movements of romanticism and modernism; particular American and European philosophical traditions; contemporary and later poets; the professional realms of law and insurance; the parallel art forms of painting, music, and theater; his publication history, critical reception, and international reputation. Other chapters address topics of current interest like war, politics, religion, race and the feminine. Informed by the latest developments in the field, but written in clear, jargon-free prose, Wallace Stevens in Context is an indispensable introduction to this great modern poet.

For more information, click here.

  • Poetry and Poetics after Wallace Stevens, edited by Bart Eeckhout and Lisa Goldfarb (Bloomsbury, 2017).

“As the figure of Wallace Stevens (1879-1955) becomes so entrenched in the Modernist canon that he serves as a major reference point for poets and critics alike, the time has come to investigate poetry and poetics after him. The ambiguity of the preposition is intentional: while after may refer neutrally to chronological sequence, it also implies ways of aesthetically modeling poetry on a predecessor. Likewise, the general heading of poetry and poetics allows the sixteen contributors to this volume to range far and wide in terms of poetics (from postwar formalists to poets associated with various strands of Postmodernism, Language poetry, even Confessional poetry), ethnic identities (with a diverse selection of poets of color), nationalities (including the Irish Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney and several English poets), or language (sidestepping into French and Czech poetry).

Besides offering a rich harvest of concrete case studies, Poetry and Poetics after Wallace Stevens also reconsiders possibilities for talking about poetic influence. How can we define and refine the ways in which we establish links between earlier and later poems? At what level of abstraction do such links exist? What have we learned from debates about competing poetic eras and traditions? How is our understanding of an older writer reshaped by engaging with later ones? And what are we perhaps not paying attention to-aesthetically, but also politically, historically, thematically-when we relate contemporary poetry to someone as idiosyncratic as Stevens?”

For more information, click here.

  • Paul Mariani, The Whole Harmonium: The Life of Wallace Stevens (Simon & Schuster, 2016).

“Wallace Stevens lived a richly imaginative life that found expression in his poetry. His philosophical questioning, spiritual depth, and brilliantly inventive use of language would be profound influences on poets as diverse as William Carlos Williams, Hart Crane, Elizabeth Bishop, and John Ashbery. The Whole Harmonium presents Stevens within the living context of his times, as well as the creator of a poetry which has had a profound and lasting impact on the modern imagination itself.

Stevens established his career as an executive even as he wrote his poetry, becoming a vice president with an insurance company in Hartford, Connecticut. His first and most influential book, Harmonium, was not published until he was forty-four years old. In these poems, Stevens drew on his interest in and understanding of modernism. Over time he became acquainted with the most accomplished of his contemporaries, Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams among them, but his personal style remained unique. He endured an increasingly unhappy marriage, losing himself by writing poetry in his study. Yet he had a witty, comic, and Dionysian side to his personality, including long fishing (and drinking) trips to Florida with his pals and a fascination with the sun-drenched tropics.

People generally know two things about Wallace Stevens: that he is a “difficult” poet and that he was an insurance executive for most of his life. Stevens may be challenging to understand, but he is also greatly rewarding to read. Now, sixty years after Stevens’s death, biographer and poet Paul Mariani shows how over the course of his life, Stevens sought out the ineffable and spiritual in human existence in his search for the sublime.”

For more information, click here.