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Parts of a World: Wallace Stevens Remembered Paperback – May 1, 1985


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Pr (May 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865471908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865471900
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,916,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By THUMBTOM on September 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Twenty years after we have gone, will there come a Peter Brazeau, funded as he was for the great Wallace Stevens, prepared to locate and interview everyone WE ever worked with, or spoke to, or wrote to; able to string together their guileless reflections and memories, and order them all into a volume like this from which any reader so inclined could draw upon to write up a proper biography? I hope so. It would be a service.

After reading this book, mostly transcriptions of recordings, boasting that it is little more than "Notes towards a Supreme Fiction", I felt I knew this giant of a man enough to take up my pen to make a proper job of his life. The truth is that to write a "proper" biography, one that reads like a story, using this material and nothing else, would take many volumes and deprive readers of the pleasure of filling in the blanks. The bare bones of this filing cabinet of biographical material sheds plenty of light upon the poetry of Stevens who doggedly refused to explain it. We are forced inward upon our own devices. There is no author to help us. In the deep end we can close the book or learn to swim.

Brazeau records the recollections of everyone then alive, twenty years after his death, who ever knew him. Not one understood a word of his obtuse poetry though some loved it just the same. Not one who ever asked him for an explanation was ever favoured with enlightenment. It must be that Stevens wants us to understand that "explanations" would defeat what his poetry was set up to offer.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Silenos on April 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brazeau's 1977 reminiscence of Stevens through the comments of many of the people who had known, or just met him, either in his capacity as a man of business and a lawyer or a writer of poetry, is the essential introduction to the man, and, taken with the usual caveats, a fascinating point of entry into the poetry itself. Some of the entries are remarkably perspicacious - notably that of Jose Feo, the Cuban scholar, who underlines just how grounded in a sensual appreciation of the things of the world Stevens's language was. Stevens was many ways, and despite the ravings of that pompous windbag up there at Yale, our most "French" poet, in his grasp of quasi musical color notably, which is just what you'd expect from someone who not only was apt to recommend Ponge and Char as reading material but also contributed introductions to Valery's Dialogues, a poet whose temperament was not unlike his own - while others are written by blowhards tooting their own puny horns. None however are less than illuminating. Brazeau's method, and its effect, is akin to Welles's in Citizen Kane: the many refracted views may never offer a total grasp of the man - it was Welles's point of course that such a complete picture was ultimately impossible - but they come closer than any biography written and, I wager, to be written. Incidentally, if Stevens had a Rosebud, I didn't find it here. Why this book is not in permanent circulation escapes me. Essential.
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By stephen on June 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good book.
Best, too, to buy the hardback because at some time during a poem of his, you may want to relax, and get to know him ... and maybe 20 years down the track.
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By brian Jorgensen on June 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The more one reads about Stevens, the more interesting he becomes. If you like Stevens, this book offers a good deal of insight and evocation of him and some of his friends and colleagues.
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