It was only after five years in the army, when I was having to do a very boring job in a very boring place, that I thought: ‘Why not try writing a novel?’ partly out of youthful arrogance and partly because there had been a long line of writers in my mother’s family.
Lenin was the first to discover that capitalism ‘inevitably’ caused war; and he discovered this only when the First World War was already being fought. Of course he was right. Since every great state was capitalist in 1914.
The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.
Stadium rock and commercial rock are the opposite of what poetry needs. An audience of around 200 is ideal for poetry.
A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy dare live.
Sometimes I have thought that a song should look disappointing on the page – a little thin, perhaps, a little repetitive, or a little on the obvious side, or a mixture of all of these things.
I’m alive today, therefore I’m just as much a part of our time as everybody else. The times will just have to enlarge themselves to make room for me, won’t they, and for everybody else.
America is a large friendly dog in a small room. Every time it wags its tail it knocks over a chair.
The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring. And that is not happiness.
That is the best government which desires to make the people happy, and knows how to make them happy.