Il 27 settembre 1897, Garrett Barcalow Stevens scrive al figlio diciassettenne Wallace in una lunga lettera che:
“When we try to picture what we see, the purely imaginary is trascended, like listening in the dark we seem to really hear what we are listening for – but discerning real objects one can draw straight or curved lines and the thing may be mathematically demonstrated – but whodoes not prefer the sunlight – and the shadow reflected.
Point in all this screed – Paint truth but not always in drab clothes. Catch the reflected sun-rays, get pleasurable emotions – instead of stings and tears.
I must have eaten something at dinner that dispelled my humour. (…)
The funniest thing about this letter is that there isn’t a bit of fun in it.”
da Letters of Wallace Stevens, selected and edited by Holly Stevens, University of California Press, 1981 (V edizione)