US Stamps

By Michael Baadke

Born Oct. 2: Wallace Stevens

October 02, 2016 03:30 AM

  • A United States forever stamp honoring poet Wallace Stevens was issued April 21, 2012.

By Michael Baadke

American poet Wallace Stevens was born Oct. 2, 1879, in Reading, Pa. While at Harvard University, Stevens contributed poetry to both the Harvard Advocate art and literary magazine and Harvard Monthly. He wrote briefly for the New York Evening Post before earning a degree at New York Law School, and eventually claiming a career in Connecticut as an insurance company executive.

He remained at The Hartford for decades while composing and publishing imaginative poems filled with vivid imagery and descriptive, often dense details and language. Stevens was in his mid-forties when he published his first book, Harmonium, and would go on to publish several more acclaimed books during his lifetime.

He received the 1951 National Book Award for The Auroras of Autumn, and the publication of The Collected Poems in 1955 brought a second National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Stevens died Aug. 2, 1955, and is honored on a forever stamp issued April 21, 2012, in the Twentieth Century Poets set (Scott 4660).