There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.
Life—the way it really is—is a battle not between good and bad, but between bad and worse
For darkness restores what light cannot repair.
Love as content is in the habit of limiting formal patterns. The same goes for faith. After all, there are only so many adequate manifestations for truly strong sentiments; which, in the end, is what explains rituals.
...in the business of writing what one accumulates is not expertise but uncertainties. Which is but another name for craft.
... Now to die of grief would mean, I'm afraid, to die belatedly, while latecomers are unwelcome, particularly in the future. ...
What makes art in general, and literature in particular, remarkable, what distinguishes them from life, is precisely that they abhor repetition. In everyday life, you can tell the same joke thrice and, thrice getting a laugh, become the life of the party. In art, though, this sort of conduct is called 'cliche.'
The one who writes a poem writes it above all because verse writing is an extraordinary accelerator of conscience, of thinking, of comprehending the universe.
Prose is admittedly an art rooted in social intercourse, and a fiction writer is faster to find a common denominator with his cell mates than a poet is.
I was fortunate enough to write about things I really love, and love can be very analytic.
When you have those two languages - an analytic one like English and a synthetic, very sensual thing like Russian, you get almost a psychotic sense of humanity that permeates nearly everything. It can help you understand, and it can discourage you, because you see how little can be done.
For the poet the credo or doctrine is not the point of arrival but is, on the contrary, the point of departure for the metaphysical journey.
By failing to read or listen to poets, society dooms itself to inferior modes of articulation: those of the politician, the salesman or the charlatan... In other words, it forfeits its own evolutionary potential.
Basically, it's hard for me to assess myself, a hardship not only prompted by the immodesty of the enterprise, but because one is not capable of assessing himself, let alone his work. However, if I were to summarize, my main interest is the nature of time. That's what interests me most of all. What time can do to a man.
It is not just shameful for a contemporary American poet to use rhymes, it is unthinkable. It seems banal to him; he fears banality worse than anything, and therefore, he uses free verse - though free verse is no guarantee against banality.
I simply loved all my life; loved is too strong a word, but I had a tremendous sentiment, partly conditioned, of course, by the reality of where I grew up, for the spirit of individualism, for the idea of your being on your own in a big way.
It is almost a rule that the more complex a man is, the simpler his billing. A person with a retrospective ability gone rampant often would be called an historian. Similarly, one to whom reality doesn't seem to make sense gets dubbed a philosopher.
The real biographies of poets are like those of birds, almost identical - their data are in the way they sound. A poet's biography lies in his twists of language, in his meters, rhymes, and metaphors.
With poets, the choice of words is invariably more telling than the story line; that's why the best of them dread the thought of their biographies being written.
The blue-collar is not supposed to read Horace, nor the farmer in his overalls Montale or Marvell. Nor, for that matter, is the politician expected to know by heart Gerard Manley Hopkins or Elizabeth Bishop. This is dumb as well as dangerous.