Feb 14, 2011
Nomad Exquisite by Wallace Stevens : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry
"Nomad Exquisite" made me think about Florida and some other, larger ideas in ways I never have. Whether or not it or other Stevens poems have caught your eye—and mind and heart—you might check out Wikipedia’s info on this Hartford lawyer of a poet. Much of the info was new to me. Maybe most startling was the fact that Stevens’ first book of poetry, Harmonium, sold only one hundred copies.
Rightly or wrongly, I like to think of great poets like Stevens, or Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins, laboring in near-anonymity. And they kept on working because they were at some level aware they were creating some precious, mysterious thing—gems, maybe, but less confined than stones to the material world. It was something much more valuable than their own names on book covers. And that was enough.
If that’s not the way it was, it should have been. Thousands of wannabes and a handful of geniuses are silently making the same claim for themselves—anonymous devotion, brilliant minds, receptive spirits. There’s the sadness and the mystery and the triumph. At his greatest moments, all any maker knows is that he’s alone, trying to shape something into perfection, knowing he won’t, and quietly going on with it anyway, devoted to the making, envisioning the end product, laboring and hoping for something worthwhile.