no one behind the language

October 21, 2018

Poems are nearer to prayers than to stories, but in poetry there is no one behind the language being prayed to. It is the language itself which has to hear and acknowledge. For the religious poet, the Word is the first attribute of God. In all poetry words are a presence before they are a means of communication.

John Berger
and our faces, my Heart, brief as Photos

that absurd habit

October 13, 2018

sun sea and gull

Yes, I read. I have that absurd habit. I like beautiful poems, moving poetry, and all the beyond of that poetry.

I am extraordinarily sensitive to those poor, marvellous words left in our dark night by a few men I never knew

Louis Aragon
Treatise on Style

sit down and write

October 11, 2018

woman in silk and mist

Now I only write fiction, and I work terribly hard at it. I research incessantly, partly to put off the terrible moment when I have to sit down and write. I go over my words again and again – take out commas and put them back in, search for the right phrase to capture an idea. Sometimes I think I overdo all my revising, but that’s the way it is. Writing is my profession. I still do book reviews occasionally, but 20 years ago, after my first novel came out, I decided that life was too short to write journalism.

Angela Carter
A Maker of Magic Souffles
Interview with New York Times 7th September 1986

Words

October 11, 2018

She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.

Michael Ondaatje
The English Patient

go deeper and deeper

September 16, 2018

You have to look back at all those bad words, bad metaphors, everything started wrong, and then see how it came into being, the slow progress of it, because you’re always fighting to find out what it was you want to say. You’ve got to go deeper and deeper each time. You wonder why you didn’t drown at the time – deeper and deeper.

Anne Sexton
Interview in No Evil Star

so messy

August 30, 2018

It’s all so messy: her hair, the bed, our words and hearts; life!

She is a thousand pages

August 30, 2018

She is a library. A mess of words. Of thoughts unspoken. She is a thousand pages, all waiting to be read. Touched.

All she needs is for someone to take her off the shelf.

Monica Lynn
She’s the kind of book only the heart could understand

an author’s words

August 7, 2018

Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.

Paul Auster
The Brooklyn Follies

A sea of ink

July 31, 2018

I would have written you, myself, if I could put down in words everything I want to say to you. A sea of ink would not be enough. But you built me dreams instead.

Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus

These days I can’t get over being old. It’s new to me, that my life like a book has to end. And because I’ve always lived in books, lines and phrases others have written stay close to me. Shakespeare’s ‘Love is not love/ Which alters when it alteration finds’ spoke as I tried to grasp how fragile a very old marriage is.

Myra Shapiro
Afterword to The Alteration of Love