02 October 2013

Dear Fat Stevens, b. October 2, 1879

Dear fat Stevens, thawing out so beautifully at forty! I was one day irately damning those who run to London when Stevens caught me up with his mild: "But where in the world  will you have them run to?" --Williams, "Prologue," Kora in Hell


...My idea is that in order to carry a thing to the extreme necessity to convey it one has to stick to it; ...Given a fixed point of view, realistic, imagistic or what you will, everything adjusts itself to that point of view; and the process of adjustment is a world in flux, as it should be for a poet.  --A Letter from Stevens to Williams quoted in Williams' "Prologue" to Kora in Hell


The Paltry Nude Starts on a Spring Voyage

 But not on a shell, she starts,
 Archaic, for the sea.
 But on the first-found weed
 She scuds the glitters,
 Noiselessly, like one more wave.

She too is discontent
 And would have purple stuff upon her arms,
 Tired of the salty harbors,
 Eager for the brine and bellowing
 Of the high interiors of the sea.

 The wind speeds her on,
 Blowing upon her hands
 And watery back.
 She touches the clouds, where she goes
 In the circle of her traverse of the sea.

Yet this is meagre play
 In the scrurry and water-shine
 As her heels foam ---
 Not as when the goldener nude
 Of a later day

Will go, like the centre of sea-green pomp,
 In an intenser calm,
 Scullion of fate,
 Across the spick torrent, ceaselessly,
 Upon her irretrievable way.

(1919)--Stevens at 40


Bantams in Pine-Woods
(Audio of Stevens reading in 1954)

Chieftain Iffucan of Azcan in caftan
Of tan with henna hackles, halt!

Damned universal cock, as if the sun
Was blackamoor to bear your blazing tail.

Fat! Fat! Fat! Fat! I am the personal.
Your world is you. I am my world.

You ten-foot poet among inchlings. Fat!
Begone! An inchling bristles in these pines,

Bristles, and points their Appalachian tangs,
And fears not portly Azcan nor his hoos.

(1922)--Stevens at 43

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