Monday, September 23, 2013

Jottings from the notebook

INTERVIEWER:  Do you have any advice for young writers starting out?
JAMES TATE:  No—if a writer is going to get anywhere, he doesn’t listen to anybody.

Write as if you live in an occupied country.
     —Edwin Rolfe

We’re not calling them “divorced” anymore—we’re calling them certified pre-owned spouses.

Still, repression’s
got a lot going for it: from the repressed mind
comes beautiful stories, whereas from the liberated mind comes
websites that show women having sex with vegetables.
      — David Kirby, “Pink is the Navy Blue of India”

Weepers choose the music.
     —Vera Pavlova

Every birth a crime, every sentence life.
     —Basil Bunting

I try to surround myself with people who can never disappoint high expectations.

We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and a mystery.
     —HG Wells

A liberated woman is a fish that has fought its way ashore.
     —Karl Kraus

The lesser of two evils: a choice that evil always demands we make, revealing itself in the demand.
     —Clive James

The dawn has to kill
A universe of stars every morning
Just to get born.

Most people are other people.
     —Oscar Wilde

The sea depends on the drop of water. 
      —Franz Kafka

Kings do not touch doors.
     —Francis Ponge

Inside is the only kind of baseball in poetry, which is why it’s so hard to keep score.
     —Michael Robbins

Nobody walks away from an argument thinking “I lost.”

A muse inspires when she comes.
A wife inspires when she leaves.
A mistress inspires when she does not come.
     —Vera Pavlova

There are two sets of principles: power and privilege, and truth and justice.  If you pursue one, it is always at the expense of the other.
     —Julien Benda

The simplest way to stop a revolution?
Give it an office in the institution. 

The opening line of a poem is like finding a piece of fruit on the ground, a piece of fallen fruit that you’ve never seen before.  The poet’s task is to create the tree from which such a fruit would fall.
     —Paul Valery

We each really only speak one sentence in our lifetime.  If you are blessed, it is heard by someone who knows you and loves you and will be sorry to hear the sentence end.
     —Ernest Fenollosa to Ezra Pound

A girl has her dreams; a boy has his fantasies.
     —Teo Pozzi

Every good joke must be a small revolution.
     —Peter Barnes

No intelligent idea can gain general acceptance unless some stupidity is mixed in with it.
     —Fernando Pessoa




No comments: