Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stevens thou shouldst be living at this hour

He was a very imaginative claims man. I mean that he was never satisfied handling cases entirely according to routine. One of the
things in the old days was, if you had a contractor who defaulted, don't try to finish the contract or you'll lose your pants. Well, Stevens very often violated that principle, and he finished contracts and was always pretty successful. He was at that time and for many years before his death the dean of claims men in the whole country. I've often wondered how he could separate his mind between poetry and all that's involved in poetry and this mundane, realistic surety-claims world. They're just two ends of the pole: one is fantasy and the other is real as real can get.

Hale Anderson, quoted in Parts of a World: Wallace Stevens Remembered by Peter Brazeau. Extract in Harpers, September 1983. (Subscribers only, which is why Harpers is a bargain at $16.97 a year.)

No comments: