Age about 30, I stopped looking up my books in bookstores. Paying attention to the marketplace isn’t a healthy thing for me.
There can be no literary equivalent to truth.
Childhood was terrifying for me. A kid has no control. You’re three feet tall, flat broke, unemployed, and illiterate. Terror snaps you awake. You pay keen attention. People can just pick you up and move you and put you down.
Make the wise man within you your living ideal.
Poetry operates by hints and dark suggestions. It is full of secrets and hidden formulae, like a witch’s brew.
Because most people are not sufficiently employed in themselves, they run about loose, hungering for employment, and satisfy themselves in various supererogatory occupations. The easiest of these occupations, which have all to do with making things already made, is the making of people: it is called the art of friendship.
It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.
Place me behind prison walls – walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground. There is a possibility that in some way or another I may be able to escape. But stand me on that floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of that circle? No. Never.
I’ve been teaching classes on memoirs since 1986, and I’ve been reading them all my life, and I think that I would like to write a critical book that might have some of those how-to elements in it.
I feel an intense intimacy with those who have this loathing interest in me. Further than this, I know what they mean, I sympathize with them, I understand them. There should be a name (as poetic as love) for this relationship between loather and loathed; it is of the closest and more full of passion than incest.