Author Talk: The Life of Wallace Stevens by Paul Mariani (NWL)

Primary tabs

Program Type: Author Event
Age Group: Adult
Registration for this event is no longer open



THURSDAY - Professor Paul Mariani will visit the West Hartford Public Library, 20 South Main Street, on September 13 at 7:00pm to read from and discuss his acclaimed biography on Wallace Stevens. The event is free; registration is required.

The biography, The Whole Harmonium: The Life of Wallace Stevens, has been called, “incandescent….redefining biography of a major poet whose reputation continues to ascend” (Booklist, starred review).

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955) lived a richly imaginative life that he expressed in his poems. A lawyer who rose to become an insurance-company vice president, Stevens composed brilliant poems on long walks to work and at other stolen moments. He endured an increasingly unhappy marriage, and yet he had his Dionysian side, reveling in long fishing (and drinking) trips to the sun-drenched tropics of Key West. He was at once both the Connecticut businessman and the hidalgo lover of all things Latin. His first book of poems, Harmonium, published when he was forty-four, drew on his profound understanding of Modernism to create a distinctive and inimitable American idiom. Over time he became acquainted with peers such as Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams, but his personal style remained unique.

The Whole Harmonium “is an excellent, superb, thrilling story of a mind….unpacking poems in language that is nearly as eloquent as the poet’s, and as clear as faithfulness allows” (The New Yorker)

Please note the books will not be for sale at this event, but you may bring your copy for signing after the presentation.

ABOUT PAUL MARIANI:  Paul Mariani is the University Professor of English emeritus at Boston College. He has published 250 essays, introductions, and reviews, as well as scholarly chapters in anthologies and scholarly encyclopedias, and is the author of 18 books, including biographies of William Carlos Williams, Berryman, Lowell, Hart Crane, Hopkins, and –most recently—Wallace Stevens (Simon & Schuster 2016). He has published seven volumes of poetry, most recently Epitaphs for the Journey, as well as a spiritual memoir, Thirty Days: on Retreat with the Exercises of St. Ignatius. His awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim and the NEA and NEH. He is the recipient of the John Ciardi Award for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry. For fifteen years he taught at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and another fifteen years at the Image Conferences in Colorado, Santa Fe, and Seattle. His life of Hart Crane, The Broken Tower, a feature-length film, directed by and starring James Franco, was released in 2012. He served as Poetry Editor of America Magazine from 2000—2006. His poetry has appeared in Poetry, Image, The Agni Review, First Things, New England Review, Hudson Review, Tri-Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, New Criterion, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, Sewanee Theological Review, Gettysburg Review, Santa Clara Review, Doubletake, Boston College Magazine, and Southern Quarterly, as well as in numerous anthologies of contemporary poetry.

*** Hartford Courant article on Wallace Stevens and the Paul Mariani biography
*** Article on Paul Mariani's biography from The New Yorker magazine: Insurance Man: The Life and Art of Wallace Stevens

EVENT PARKING: There is ample library event parking in the nearby Isham Garage. Please bypass the garage payment kiosks and come directly to the Noah Webster Library Meeting Room, 20 South Main Street, where you may validate your parking with your license plate number.

WEST HARTFORD READS! - This program is being held as part of a series of poetry events leading up to the Oct. 4 appearance of Billy Collins at West Hartford Town Hall.

The event is made possible by the Thomas F. Kilfoil Memorial Bequest, West Hartford Public Library Foundation.