The intellect is a very nice whirligig toy, but how people take it seriously is more than I can understand.
There are few things more difficult than to appraise the work of a man suddenly dead in his youth; to disentangle “promise” from achievement; to save him from that sentimentalizing which confuses the tragedy of the interruption with the merit of the work actually performed.
It is difficult to write a paradise when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse. It is obviously much easier to find inhabitants for an inferno or even a purgatorio.
Topics: Paradise, Authors & Writing
People find ideas a bore because they do not distinguish between live ones and stuffed ones on a shelf.
A civilized man is one who will give a serious answer to a serious question. Civilization itself is a certain sane balance of values.
A great age of literature is perhaps always a great age of translations.
It is more than likely that the brain itself is, in origin and development, only a sort of great clot of genital fluid held in suspense or reserved. This hypothesis would explain the enormous content of the brain as a maker or presenter of images.
The curse of me and my nation is that we always think things can be bettered by immediate action of some sort, any sort rather than no sort.
Mass ought to be in Latin, unless you could do it in Greek or Chinese. In fact, any abracadabra that no bloody member of the public or half-educated ape of a clargimint could think he understood.
Topics: Religion, Churches
What matters is not the idea a man holds, but the depth at which he holds it.
The secret of popular writing is never to put more on a given page than the common reader can lap off it with no strain whatsoever on his habitually slack attention.
Topics: Authors & Writing
A man of genius has a right to any mode of expression.
‘Tis the white stag, Fame, we’re a-hunting, bid the world’s hounds come to horn!
Literature is news that stays news.
If a patron buys from an artist who needs money (needs money to buy tools, time, food), the patron then makes himself equal to the artist; he is building art into the world; he creates.
Good art however “immoral” is wholly a thing of virtue. Good art can NOT be immoral. By good art I mean art that bears true witness, I mean the art that is most precise.
Topics: Arts, Artists, Art
As a bathtub lined with white porcelain, when the hot water gives out or goes tepid, so is the slow cooling of our chivalrous passion, o my much praised but-not-altogether-satisfactory lady.
It ought to be illegal for an artist to marry. If the artist must marry let him find someone more interested in art, or his art, or the artist part of him, than in him. After which let them take tea together three times a week.
AS A MIND, who the hell else is there left for me to take an interest IN??
Utter originality is, of course, out of the question.
Gloom and solemnity are entirely out of place in even the most rigorous study of an art originally intended to make glad the heart of man.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Stanley Kunitz American Poet
- Mark Van Doren American Poet, Critic
- Langston Hughes American Poet, Writer
- Rod McKuen American Poet
- Aaron Copland American Composer
- Marianne Moore American Poet
- Czeslaw Milosz Polish-American Poet, Novelist
- John Cage American Composer
- Henry Adams American Historian
- Ernest Hemingway American Author