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Charles Baudelaire

When the sky appears in pain and sunset no more than a wound, what are the thoughts that occur to a libertine soul like yours? — Charles Baudelaire, from “Horreur Sympathique (Sympathetic Horror),” Les Fleurs Du Mal. Translated by Richard Howard. (David R. Godine October 1st 1983) Originally published 1857.

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American Culture · American Literature · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Excerpt · Fellowship of Southern Writers · Fragment · New Criticism · Passage · Poetry · Southern Literature

Robert Penn Warren

While out of Time, Timelessness brims Like oil on black water, to coil out and spread On the time that seems past and the time that may come, And both the same under The present’s darkening dome. —Robert Penn Warren, from “Antinomy: Time and Identity,” Being Here: Poetry 1977-1979 (Random House, 1980)

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Lemony Snicket

Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.  — Lemony Snicket, The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 10). (HarperCollins September 23, 2003)

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Theodore Roethke

I know the purity of pure despair, My shadow pinned against a sweating wall. That place among the rocks—is it a cave, Or winding path? The edge is what I have.  — Theodore Roethke, from “In a Dark Time,” Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. (Anchor Books January 10, 1975) Originally published 1961.

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