Democritus plucked his eye out because he could not look at a woman without thinking of her as a woman. If he had read a few of our novels, he would have torn himself to pieces.
Topics: Authors & Writing, Fiction
Civilization must be destroyed. The hairy saints of the North have earned this crumb by their complaints.
They said, You have a blue guitar, you do not play things as they are. The man replied, Things as they are changed upon a blue guitar.
Intolerance respecting other people’s religion is toleration itself in comparison with intolerance respecting other people’s art.
If poetry should address itself to the same needs and aspirations, the same hopes and fears, to which the Bible addresses itself, it might rival it in distribution.
The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
What our eyes behold may well be the text of life but one’s meditations on the text and the disclosures of these meditations are no less a part of the structure of reality.
How full of trifles everything is! It is only one’s thoughts that fill a room with something more than furniture.
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
Perhaps there is a degree of perception at which what is real and what is imagines are one: a state of clairvoyant observation, accessible or possibly accessible to the poet or, say, the acutest poet.
It is the unknown that excites the ardor of scholars, who, in the known alone, would shrivel up with boredom.
How red the rose that is the soldier
Topics: The Military
To be young is all there is in the world. They talk so beautifully about work and having a family and a home (and I do, too, sometimes)—but it’s all worry and head-aches and respectable poverty and forced gushing. Telling people how nice it is, when, in reality, you would give all of your last thirty years for one of your first thirty. Old people are tremendous frauds.
Union of the weakest develops strength not wisdom. Can all men, together, avenge one of the leaves that have fallen in autumn?. But the wise man avenges by building his city in snow.
Successful careers are those that realize in the man the dreams of the child.
Poetry has to be something more than a conception of the mind. It has to be a revelation of nature. Conceptions are artificial. Perceptions are essential.
The reading of a poem should be an experience. Its writing must be all the more so.
Topics: Authors & Writing
In poetry, you must love the words, the ideas and the images and rhythms with all your capacity to love anything at all
The bread of life is better than any souffle.
One cannot spend one’s time in being modern when there are so many more important things to be.
The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence.
Style is not something applied. It is something that permeates. It is of the nature of that in which it is found, whether the poem, the manner of a god, the bearing of a man. It is not a dress.
All the great things have been denied and we live in an intricacy of new and local mythologies, political, economic, poetic, which are asserted with an ever-enlarging incoherence.
To regard the imagination as metaphysics is to think of it as part of life, and to think of it as part of life is to realize the extent of artifice. We live in the mind.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Stanley Kunitz American Poet
- Mark Van Doren American Poet, Critic
- Howard Nemerov American Poet, Novelist
- Conrad Aiken American Poet, Novelist
- Archibald MacLeish American Poet, Dramatist
- Norman Mailer American Novelist, Journalist
- Theodore Roethke American Poet
- Robert Frost American Poet
- Marianne Moore American Poet
- Sylvia Plath American Poet, Novelist