Mary Jarrell: On "Recollections of Stevens by Acquaintances"

"The next morning we were at breakfast at the Yale Club. Randall was across the table, and I was somehow next to Stevens, We were talking generally, and I said something about seeing Ninotchka in New York with Randall. Stevens came alive immediately. "Garbo!" he said. He talked about always wishing he could meet her and how beautiful she was, that she really was his favorite actress in the world. There was a pause. I knew Randall well enough to know that he was being a little audacious – here it was, a table full of people – but he had a direct question that he wanted to ask Stevens. He felt that he was not going to be able to ask him this question if he didn’t get on with it. So he just shifted the subject entirely to "Sunday Morning" and said, "I’ve noticed that you have changed some lines in "Sunday Morning." How did you happen to do that?" Stevens pulled this famous Robert Browning thing. He began to look very vague and disbelieving, as if he hadn’t remembered whether he changed them or not. He hesitated and started to say something about "I don’t know why." Then he said, "Let’s talk about Greta Garbo again!""

From Peter Brazeau, ed. Parts of a World: Wallace Stevens Remembered (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1985), 179-180.

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Criticism Overview
Title Mary Jarrell: On "Recollections of Stevens by Acquaintances" Type of Content Biographical
Criticism Author Mary Jarrell Criticism Target Wallace Stevens
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 16 Nov 2015
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication Parts of a World: Wallace Stevens Remembered
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