In an essay titled "The Present State of Poetry," Delmore Schwartz recalled: "In 1936 I heard Wallace Stevens read his poetry at Harvard: it was the first time Stevens had ever read his poetry in public, and this first reading was at once an indescribable ordeal and a precious event to Stevens.... Before and after reading each poem [he] spoke of the nature of poetry... he said, among other things, that the least sound counts, the least sound and the least syllable. He illustrated this observation by telling of how he had awakened after midnight the week before and heard the sounds made by a cat walking delicately and carefully on the crusted snow outside his house."
[Re Stevens's "The River of Rivers in Connecticut"] This unnamed river of rivers may also serve as a trope for Thoreau's Concord River once called Musketaquid or Meadow. On its banks, local Connecticut place names, Haddam and Farmington, gathered into steeples on their village commons, glisten and sway.
River of peace and quietness. River of battlefield ghosts - this great original river before - is where poetry flows into prayer.
-- Susan Howe, from "Choir answers to Choir: Notes on Jonathan Edwards and Wallace Stevens" in Chicago Review 54:4
(Speaking of Stevens, Al Filreis praises Eleanor Cook's terrific A Field Guide to Wallace Stevens on his blog. Eleanor was a delight to work with when I was at Literary Imagination.)
Pictured: Stevens' quiet house in Connecticut