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Poetry in the Poconos #3: "The Snow Man" by Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens was born in 1879 (in Reading, PA) and died in 1955. Stevens wrote poetry in the evenings, but made his living as businessman and lawyer.


Perhaps Stevens might be best known for getting into a fight with Ernest Hemingway. Stevens broke his hand while punching Hemingway in the jaw, and Hemingway beat him up pretty badly. The sad fact is that Stevens started the whole thing. At a Key West party, Stevens took it upon himself to defame the character of the novelist as well as that of his sister, who was attending the party. Hemingway got word of this while at home, and he raced to the party just as Stevens was making his exit where the fist fight began.

After the fight, Hemingway helped Stevens get home, and they made up afterwards. This altercation doesn’t have very much to do with Stevens’ poem below, but it is an interesting anecdote.


If you would like to read more poetry by Wallace Stevens, or if you’re looking for poetry recommendations, give us a call at 570-894-8860 or email us at poconolibrary.info@gmail.com, and ask for Joe.


"The Snow Man"

By Wallace Stevens


One must have a mind of winter

To regard the frost and the boughs

Of the pine-trees crusted with snow,


And have been cold a long time

To behold the junipers shagged with ice,

The spruces rough in the distant glitter


Of the January sun, and not to think

Of any misery in the sound of the wind,

In the sound of a few leaves,


Which is the sound of the land

Full of the same wind

That is blowing in the same bare place


For the listener, who listens in the snow,

And, nothing himself, beholds

Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.


Click on this link to hear me read it: https://youtu.be/v7DitqbFKG

#pahumanities #phc #pennsylvaniahumanitiescouncil


Funding has been provided by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Corona Virus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.

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