I start out my day with poetry. Wallace Stevens is always on hand. There is a richness there that constantly informs. I return, again and again, to his poem, The Idea of Order at Key West:
I also love The Man with the Blue Guitar. Stevens helped me understand the way an artist sees the visible world and gives it a mixture of voice and silence in witnessing it.
I first encountered Stevens' poetry in an anthology that included three of his poems: The Man with the Blue Guitar, The Emperor of Ice Cream, and Anecdote of the Jar. I didn't know what to make of them, but I was intrigued. Several lines stayed with me, which is the way poetry works with me. So I read more of his poems and I continue to read and reread them and understand them in different ways. Just as rereading a novel at different times of your life brings forth a whole new book, poems keep renewing themselves, or I come to them new. Over the years, in some strange alchemy, the lines feel grafted to my bones. I like to read his poems out loud. The experience is something like listening to music you love with headphones on; by giving it voice the work becomes embodied. It's a different sort of concentration and it allows more of the poem to sink in.