cat feet on crusted snow

In 1936 I heard Wallace Stevens read his poetry at Harvard: it was the first time Stevens had ever read his poetry in public, and this first reading was at once an indescribable ordeal and a precious event to Stevens.... Before and after reading each poem [he] spoke of the nature of poetry... he said, among other things, that the least sound counts, the least sound and the least syllable. He illustrated this observation by telling of how he had awakened after midnight the week before and heard the sounds made by a cat walking delicately and carefully on the crusted snow outside his house.

—Delmore Schwartz, "The Present State of Poetry” (1958), Selected Essays of Delmore Schwartz (Univ. of Chicago, 1970), eds. Donald A. Dike and David H. Zucker.

[Quote first encountered on Don Share's Squadermania blog.]

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