Dan Pritchard quotes Vendler on Stevens in the context of a new Selected Poems.
'How differently might a reader take in “Burghers of Petty Death” if it had been called “A Son’s Lament for His Dead Parents,” or “The Snow Man” if it had been called “Stoicism in a Failed Marriage”? Like Dickinson, Stevens has won a wide audience in spite of the guard he put on his privacy, and we are now better acquainted with his sorrows. . . .'
Is that link made between the poet’s life and his poems important though? The Snow Man is worth reading because it’s a great poem and I’d feel that, while Stevens’ circumstances may be interesting for scholars, the poem has wider application than any personal grief.
Although...perhaps I'm wrong to read Vendler's comments in a reductive sense. Maybe it adds a new dimension to the poem if you read it in the context of a marriage?
The Snow Man
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
- Wallace Stevens, 1921