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Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens (1880-1955), American Modernist poet. Stevens lived most of his life in Hartford, Connecticut, where he worked for the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, in which he rose to the position of vice president.

His poetry is noted for the extreme refinement of its language and its oblique imagery. It shows the influence of the fin-de-siècle Aesthetic Movement and of Imagism, but possesses its own highly distinctive intellectual character, often concentrating on the way language freezes experiences into carefully wrought form. These ideas are expressed in poems such as "The Man With the Blue Guitar," "The Emperor of Ice Cream," "Peter Quince at the Clavier," and "The Idea of Order at Key West." Poems such as "Loneliness in Jersey City" also are skilful examples of plausible language without denotative meaning.