13 Ways of Looking at Wallace Stevens: A Special Exhibition
Published by the Huntington Library/Art Gallery/Botanical Gardens
Today, Wallace Stevens is mostly revered for his illustrious poetry career during the early 20th century. While Stevens’ poetry left a significant impact on future generations of poets, many often disregard his numerous other accolades. To celebrate their Wallace Stevens archive, the Huntington Library in San Marino, California presented an exhibition to celebrate the poet’s life and works in 1975.
The Huntington Library published a catalog titled the 13 Ways of Looking at Wallace Stevens in conjunction with the exhibition. One of Stevens’ best-known poems, “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” inspired the title of this catalog. This publication explores 13 different aspects of Stevens’ life, ranging from his time as a student to his brief tenure as a lawyer to his role as a highly respected poet. Furthermore, the catalog serves to describe some of the contents, such as letters and old photographs, from the exhibition. The image above, from the Special Collections Department of Johns Hopkins University’s Sheridan Libraries, depicts what a typical page in this exhibition catalog contains: an artifact pertinent to a stage or a hobby in Stevens’ life and a short summary describing it.
The small size of the catalog hints that the publishers intended for it to be carried around and used to supplement key items in the exhibition. The unique illustration on the cardboard cover is a reproduction of one of Stevens’ bookplates. Reading this catalog provides the audience with a well-rounded education on some of the lesser-known aspects of Stevens’ life.