Sunday, August 31, 2014

Literary Site: Wallace Stevens Walk - Hartford, CT

Wallace Stevens Walk
Hartford, CT

Start 690 Asylum Avenue
GPS: N41° 46.113; W72° 41.257

Short Description:

The Wallace Stevens Walk follows the footsteps of poet from his workplace at the Hartford Insurance Co. at 690 Asylum Avenue. From there, go west on Asylum Avenue until a Terry Road. Make a right on to Terry Road and then a left onto Westerly Terrace to reach his home at 118 Westerly Terrace.  Along the way are 13 granite stones, each inscribed with a verse from his poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird".

Long Description:

Wallace Stevens  was an American poet born in Reading, PA in 1879. He attended Harvard University and the New York Law School then, in 1916, he joined the Hartford Accident & Indemnity Company, serving  as vice president from 1934 until his death in 1955. He is considered one of the foremost modern American poets and was awarded the Pulitizer Prize in 1954 for his work Collected Poems.

Wallace Stevens never learned to drive. He would  walk to and from work, often composing poetry along the way.  Thirteen granite stones are erected along his path. Each inscribed with a stanza from his poem, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

Among twenty snowy mountains,  
The only moving thing  
Was the eye of the blackbird.  

GPS:  N41° 46.113; W72° 41.257

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

GPS: N41° 46.171; W72° 41.456

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

GPS: N41° 46.198; W72° 41.554

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

GPS: N41° 46.286; W72° 41.830

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

GPS: N41° 46.320; W72° 41.948

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

GPS: N41° 46.350; W72° 42.054

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

GPS: N41° 46.337; W72° 42.132

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

GPS: N41° 46.429; W72° 42.286

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
GPS:  N41° 46.596; W72° 42.657

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

GPS: N41° 46.710; W72° 42.690

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

GPS: N41° 46.919; W72° 42.680

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

GPS: N41° 46.997; W72° 42.764

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

GPS:  N41° 47.097; W72° 42.767

Wallace Stevens Home - 118 Westerly Terrace

While living in this home Wallace Stevens  wrote and published several collections of poems. Wikipedia list the following publications.


Harmonium (1923)
Ideas of Order (1936)
Owl's Clover (1936)
The Man with the Blue Guitar (1937)
Parts of a World (1942)
Transport to Summer (1947)
The Auroras of Autumn (1950)
Collected Poems (1954)
Posthumous collections
Opus Posthumous (1957)
The Palm at the End of the Mind (1972)
Collected Poetry and Prose (New York: The Library of America, 1997)
Selected Poems (John N. Serio, ed.) (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009)


The Necessary Angel (essays) (1951)

Posthumous publications

Letters of Wallace James Stevens, edited by Holly Stevens (1966)
Secretaries of the Moon: The Letters of Wallace Stevens & Jose Rodriguez Feo, edited by Beverly Coyle and Alan Filreis (1986)
Sur plusieurs beaux sujects: Wallace Stevens's Commonplace Book, edited by Milton J. Bates (1989)
The Contemplated Spouse: The Letters of Wallace Stevens to Elsie Kachel, edited by D.J. Blount (2006)

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