John Keats--The poet must be capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries,
without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. (Letter
to his brothers, December
Albert Einstein--One should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.
Theodor Adorno--Art is the enemy of culture.
W.H. Auden--A poem should be a verbal earthly paradise, a timeless world of
play, which gives us delight precisely because of its contrast
to our historical existence
with all its insoluble problems and inescapable suffering . .
. . At the same time we want
a poem to be true . . . and a poet cannot bring us any truth without
introducing into his
poetry the problematic, the painful, the disorderly, the ugly.
Donald Hall--The happy poem sleeps in the sun.
Mark Doty--Into the paradise of euphony, the good poet must introduce hell.
Broken paradises are the only kind worth reading.
May Swenson -- No one could tell/ who was addressed/ or ever undressed . . .
("Her Early Work")
Gertrude Stein--Remarks are not literature.
Frank O'Hara--Nobody should experience anything they don't need to, if they
need poetry bully for them. I like movies too.
Thylias Moss--I am not satisfied with my poems unless they have attempted some
reaching, some moving toward a more that ever moves away; that
is occupied with its
own reaching; certain marvelous coincidences, that my toes although
right now only
appreciating the rug, dig through fiber and evidence of machine-manufacture,
encountering premium water (would that be wine?), atmospheric
roses, the scent that
rises from the water as toes stir, as toenails loosen and drift,
reforming a flower in the distance, just one, just distance, safe
distance from even
sweet-smelling density, clutter; look -- from here, such pretty
W.H. Auden--All the judgments, aesthetic or moral, that we pass, however objective
we try to make them, are in part a rationalization and in part
a corrective discipline of our
subjective wishes. So long as a man writes poetry or fiction,
his dream of Eden is his
own business, but the moment he starts writing literary criticism,
honesty demands that
he describe it to his readers, so that they may be in a position
to judge his judgments.
Ann Lauterbach--The poem is an answer to a question or questions no one, including
the poet, had thought to ask. . . . Bad poetry, I would submit,
asks questions, raises
issues, makes complaints, marks territories. Bad poetry does not
take on the difficult
task, where the question and its answer are as one. . . . What
if "truth" and "beauty" are
not eternal and static, but variable, and in an infinitely extendible
and unstable equation?
And what if it is precisely the relation between these two terms
(truth as form, beauty
as hermeneutic) which it is the task of the poet in any given
time to manifest? And what
happens when you begin to notice, as it began to be noticed as
Modernism began to
wane, that there is no such thing as an aesthetic value which
is not to some extent
inflected, informed, by other values which, in turn, arise from
particular, individual as
well as cultural, ways of believing, perceiving and knowing? What
if, in fact, the
"aesthetic" is the very site of turbulence and uncertainty through
or by which an artist
attempts to come to terms with the various field of human investment
the choices, decisions and judgments, which ratify a life? The
aesthetic would then be the
result of complex determinants, not fixed, not pre-determined,
not necessarily knowable
in the first place, but always, definingly, a place of discovery.
. . . Discovery, by its
very nature, cannot be reduced to formulas, captions, or categories.
Charles Altieri--(Citing Nietzsche) What matters most about a culture emphasizing
espistemic values is the difference between the questions that
it allows itself to ask and
the questions that it marginalizes. For those questions what are
primary also offer the
most pronounced and most powerful principles of identification
and valorization within
Ann Lauterbach--A rose, after all, is still only a rose, but it smells sweeter
there are three of them.
Walt Whitman--I have no mockings or arguments. . . . / I witness and wait.
("Song of Myself")
Hart Crane-- And so it was I entered the broken world/ To trace the visionary
company of love, its voice/ An instant in the wind . . . ("The
Reginald Shepherd-- T.S. Eliot said that the poet must be as intelligent aspossible;
Wallace Stevens said that the poem must resist the intelligencealmost
successfully . . . .
Poetry's resistance to communication --an estrangement from alienation
language to itself -- itsrefusal to be of use, is the promise
of happiness it emobodies,
a promise continually broken by society but kept alive by art,
which thus becomes a
standing reproach to society.
Friedrich Nietzsche--The slave revolt in morality begins when ressentiment itself
becomes creative and gives birth to values: the ressentiment of
natures that are denied the
true reaction, that of deeds, and compensatethemselves with an
imaginary revenge. While every noble morality develops from a
triumphant affirmation of itself, slave
morality from the outset saysNo to what is "outside," what is
"different," what is "not
itself," and thisNo is its creative deed. This inversion of the
value-positing eye--this need
to direct on's view outward instead of back to oneself--is of
the essence of ressentiment;
in order to exist, slave morality always first needs a hostileworld;
psychologically speaking, external stimuli in order to actat all--its
action is fundamentally
Parochial punks, trimmers, nice people,
Get the hell out of the way of the laurel. It is
And it isn't for you.
("Several Voices Out of a Cloud")
Anonymous--Attention span is a moral problem.