Wallace Stevens is for many readers the supreme poet of twentieth century America, his unique voice combining meditative speculation with what he called 'the essential gaudiness of poetry', in an oeuvre of astonishing profusion and exuberance.
The Selected Poems was compiled by the poet at the request of Faber & Faber, in 1953, shortly before his death, and was intended to be representative of the range of his acheievement, from the whimsical and exotic lyrical inventions of Harmonium to the pondered large-scale and crafted masterpieces of his middle years.
Wallace Stevens, of Pennsylvania Dutch descent, was born in 1879. He studied at Harvard and worked briefly as a journalist, before going on to study law. In 1908 he began working for the legal department of the Hartford Accident and Indemnity insurance company, in Connecticut, of which he became vice-president in 1934. He died in Hartford in 1955.