Being with you or not being with you is the only meaningful method I have of measuring time.

Jorge Luis Borges
The Book of Sand

Fresh cherries and Borges – what more could a birthday girl want?

Nights

October 1, 2019

Nights are proud waves: darkblue topheavy waves laden with all hues of deep spoil, laden with things unlikely and desirable.

Nights have a habit of mysterious gifts and refusals, of things half given away, half withheld, of joys with a dark hemisphere. Nights act that way, I tell you.

Jorge Luis Borges
Two English Poems

assaulted by poetry

September 10, 2019

The task of being a poet is not completed at a fixed schedule. No one is a poet from eight to twelve and from two to six. Whoever is a poet is one always, and continually assaulted by poetry.

Jorge Luis Borges
Blindness
Trans. Eliot Weinberger

an artist must feel this

February 9, 2019

A writer – and, I believe, generally all persons – must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.

Jorge Luis Borges
Twenty-Four Conversations with Borges: Interviews by Roberto Alifano 1981-1983

Do I exist?

January 5, 2019

I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers I have read, all the people I have met, all the women I have loved; all the cities I have visited, all my ancestors.

[No estoy seguro de que existo, en realidad yo soy todos los escritores que he leído, todas las personas que he conocido, todas las mujeres que he amado,. Todas las ciudades que tengo visitados, todos mis antepasados.]

Jorge Luis Borges
Interview with JOSÉ LUIS A. FERMOSEL for El Pais 26th September 1981

destined for literature

August 25, 2018

Before I ever wrote a single line, I knew, in some mysterious and therefore unequivocal way, that I was destined for literature. What I didn’t realize at first is that besides being destined to be a reader, I was also destined to be a writer, and I don’t think one is less important than the other.

Jorge Luis Borges
Seven Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges
Fernando Sorrentino

books - Rafael Catala

It’s possible that the fact that literature has been commercialized now in a way it never was before has had an influence. That is, the fact that people now talk about “bestsellers,” that fashion has an influence (something that didn’t use to happen). I remember that when I began to write, we never thought about the success or failure of a book. What’s called “success” now didn’t exist at that time. And what’s called “failure” was taken for granted. One wrote for oneself and, maybe, as Stevenson used to say, for a small group of friends. On the other hand, one now thinks of sales. I know there are writers who publicly announce they’ve had their fifth, sixth, or seventh edition released and that they’ve earned such and such an amount of money. All that would have appeared totally ridiculous when I was a young man; it would have appeared incredible. People would have thought that a writer who talks about what he earns on his books is implying: “I know what I write is bad but I do it for financial reasons or because I have to support my family.” So I view that attitude almost as a form of modesty. Or of plain foolishness.

Jorge Luis Borges
Seven Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges
Fernando Sorrentino

beyond intelligence

April 17, 2017

Poetry springs from something deeper; it’s beyond intelligence. It may not even be linked with wisdom. It’s a thing of its own; it has a nature of its own. Indefinable.

Jorge Luis Borges
Interview c. 1966 featured in The Art of Fiction

premature_anthony_-goicolea

The other one, the one called Borges, is the one things happen to. I walk through the streets of Buenos Aires and stop for a moment, perhaps mechanically now, to look at the arch of an entrance hall and the grillwork on the gate; I know of Borges from the mail and see his name on a list of professors or in a biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses, maps, eighteenth-century typography, the taste of coffee and the prose of Stevenson; he shares these preferences, but in a vain way that turns them into the attributes of an actor. It would be an exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship; I live, let myself go on living, so that Borges may contrive his literature, and this literature justifies me. It is no effort for me to confess that he has achieved some valid pages, but those pages cannot save me, perhaps because what is good belongs to no one, not even to him, but rather to the language and to tradition. Besides, I am destined to perish, definitively, and only some instant of myself can survive in him. Little by little, I am giving over everything to him, though I am quite aware of his perverse custom of falsifying and magnifying things. Spinoza knew that all things long to persist in their being; the stone eternally wants to be a stone and the tiger a tiger. I shall remain in Borges, not in myself (if it is true that I am someone), but I recognize myself less in his books than in many others or in the laborious strumming of a guitar. Years ago I tried to free myself from him and went from the mythologies of the suburbs to the games with time and infinity, but those games belong to Borges now and I shall have to imagine other things. Thus my life is a flight and I lose everything and everything belongs to oblivion, or to him. I do not know which of us has written this page.

Jorge Luis Borges
Borges and I

A poet never rests…

September 23, 2016

boat

The task of art is to transform what is continuously happening to us, to transform all these things into symbols, into music, into something which can last in man’s memory. That is our duty. If we don’t fulfil it, we feel unhappy. A writer or any artist has the sometimes joyful duty to transform all that into symbols. These symbols could be colours, forms or sounds. For a poet, the symbols are sounds and also words, fables, stories, poetry. The work of a poet never ends. It has nothing to do with working hours. Your are continuously receiving things from the external world. These must be transformed, and eventually will be transformed. This revelation can appear anytime. A poet never rests. He’s always working, even when he dreams. Besides, the life of a writer, is a lonely one. You think you are alone, and as the years go by, if the stars are on your side, you may discover that you are at the centre of a vast circle of invisible friends whom you will never get to know but who love you. And that is an immense reward.

Jorge Luis Borges
The Task of Art