Wallace Stevens on the poetry of war

13 Jan

IMG_1787

[Prose statement on the poetry of war]

The immense poetry of war and the poetry of a work of the imagination are two different things. In the presence of the violent reality of war, consciousness takes the place of the imagination. And consciousness of an immense war is a consciousness of fact. If that is true, it follows that the poetry of war as a consciousness of the victories and defeats of nations, is a consciousness of fact, but of heroic fact, of fact on such a scale that the mere consciousness of it affects the scale of one’s thinking and constitutes a participating in the heroic.

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