The work of Wallace Stevens, an insurance salesman and Pulitzer prize winning poet, is concerned with a more personal sense of disorder. T. S. Eliot fiercely critiqued the derangement and erosion of the modern world in “The Waste Land” and William Carlos Williams saw the rearrangement and disorder of the world of as fertile ground for new ideas and new poetic forms, whereas Stevens’ work seeks to grapple with internal disorder and attempts to reconcile the life of the imagination with a fluid reality.
Stevens saw the imagination as a necessary means through which the world is experienced. Through imagination, one strives to find suitable perceptions of the world that make up a coherent, unified vision of reality. The result of this is a fluid crazy-quilt-like perception of reality. The understand life, the human experience must be looked at from varying angles. Stevens’ work explores the human desire to find a sense of order in reality, but because the the imagination, the agent of perception and evaluation is in no way static, we will always be faced with a disordered, uncategorizable reality.