Robert DeVore: On "Recollections of Stevens by Acquaintances"

I first met Mr. Stevens in Philadelphia in 1928. We had a contractor who we were bonding to the Board of Education, guaranteeing the performance of his contract. The fellow went broke, and we had to contact the home office [of the Hartford Accident and Indemnity’s Insurance Department in New York] to let them know we were in trouble with this man. Mr. Stevens got on the phone and told the manager that it was important enough that he felt he ought to come down to Philadelphia. …

He wanted me to meet him at the station, take him to the attorney’s office. I stood at the gate in the station, and when he came through I didn’t have any trouble spotting him. Here was a fellow that matched the description the manager had given me: tall, austere, very dignified, an unusal-looking man. He said, "Let’s get on our way. We want to go to the attorney’s office and get into this thing right away. We don’t want to waste any time." I said, "No, sir!"

Then he said, "The attorney’s office is down on Chestnut Street, so on the way down what do you say we get some cinnamon buns." I said, "Cinnamon buns?" "Yes," he said, "I always, whenever I come to Philadelphia, buy these cinnamon buns at Lahr’s." I thought, This is strange to do before we’re going to an attorney’s office. He ordered a dozen to send to Hartford. I thought, Oh, that is it. Then he wanted a dozen more; they put them in a bag, and we started off. And I thought, My gosh, I wonder when he’s going to eat these things. Well, we got to the attorney’s office, and we went through the introductions and into the conference room. There were about seven of us. He opened up his bag, put it in the middle of the table, and said, "Let’s have a cinnamon bun." Everyone, trying to be polite, agreed with him, and we all reached in and got a handful of goo. And we started our conference."

From Peter Brazeau, ed. Parts of a World: Wallace Stevens Remembered (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1985), 12-13.

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Criticism Overview
Title Robert DeVore: On "Recollections of Stevens by Acquaintances" Type of Content Biographical
Criticism Author Robert DeVore 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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