Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one’s soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject.
I have often said that just as the French revolution, for instance, understood itself through antiquity, I think our time can be understood through the French revolution. It is quite a natural process to use other times to understand your own time.
My obsessions stay the same – historical memory and historical erasure. I am particularly interested in the Americas and how a history that is rooted in colonialism, the language and iconography of empire, disenfranchisement, the enslavement of peoples, and the way that people were sectioned off because of blood.
Man’s great misfortune is that he has no organ, no kind of eyelid or brake, to mask or block a thought, or all thought, when he wants to.
I had lived all of my youthful dreams, but I couldn’t think of many adult ones. I finally realized that we don’t have many dreams for adults because, historically, people have always died much younger than they do today.
That a man be willing, when others are so too, as far forth as for peace and defence of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself.
Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.
Some things have to be believed to be seen.
I am sure of nothing so little as my own intentions.
Everything in nature has its own intrinsic charm, as the work of its Creator’s hand; but the chief beauty of the whole lies in its suggested relations to humanity. Things announce and wait for persons. The house would not have been thus beautifully built and furnished, except for an expected tenant.