Early Wallace Stevens Poetry at The Harvard Advocate Blog
Stevens’ first book of poetry, Harmonium, was published when he was forty-four; scholars tend to agree that he completed his greatest works relatively late in his career. But Stevens’ three years at 54 Garden Street in Cambridge, Mass. were the setting for his self-conscious cultivation of an artistic identity. His interactions with Harvard professor, philosopher, and poet George Santayana; his membership in the Signet Society, an undergraduate arts and letters society; and his participation in various publications helped to initially shape his poetic consciousness. The tension between reality and the ideal, for example—a theme that would prove central to Stevens’ poetry—is already present in the pieces reproduced here. Encouraged by his father, Stevens would leave Harvard for law instead of art; but these relics prove that as a young man he was already a poet and, perhaps more significantly, thought of himself as one.
Make the jump to look at scans from the journal.