James Robison on Stevens

1. To all readers of Stevens who have not already encountered Helen Vendler’s  Words Chosen Out Of Desire and On Extended Wings: Wallace Stevens’ Longer Poems , I recommend both books, or, rather, I suggest they are imperative to the fullest understanding and appreciation of Stevens. They redeem to his poetry qualities of passion and investment which are too easily lost in the blaze of his seemingly detached invention.
2. I overheard Donald Barthelme talking to a poet and Don said that Stevens had been Don’s “lodestar” as a young writer. No two writers more inspire me to try to write than Donald Barthelme and Wallace Stevens.
***
James Robison has had many stories in The New Yorker, has won a Whiting Grant, a Rosenthal from the American Academy, published two books and has had an issue of the Mississippi Review dedicated entirely to his short fictions. He has been in Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize, co-wrote a feature film that is just out, and is good company on long car trips.