For I need to know precisely this one thing: am I feeling what I am feeling, or am I feeling what I wanted to feel? or am I feeling what I would need to feel? —Clarice Lispector, The Passion According to G.H. (Published 1964, published in English 1988 / 2012)
no do not mistake this myth for love— that is a different kind of burning —Sandra Cisneros, from “Valparaiso,” My Wicked, Wicked Ways. (Knopf November 17th 1992 )
If you love me, you don’t love me in a way I understand. — Richard Siken, from “Wishbone,” Crush. (Yale University Press April 11, 2005)
It is found again. What? Eternity. It is the sea Gone with the sun. —Arthur Rimbaud, from “L’Éternite” (1872), Collected Poems. Trans. Oliver Bernard. (1962).
Give me back my shape. I am ready to construe the days / I coupled with dust in the shadow of a stone. / My ankles brighten. Brightness ascends my thighs. / I am lost, I am lost, in the robes of all this light. —Sylvia Plath, from “Witch Burning,” The Collected Poems. (San Val… Continue reading Sylvia Plath
Epilogue Those blessèd structures, plot and rhyme— why are they no help to me now I want to make something imagined, not recalled? I hear the noise of my own voice: The painter’s vision is not a lens, it trembles to caress the light. But sometimes everything I write with the threadbare art of… Continue reading Robert Lowell
There is no escape. You can’t be a vagabond and an artist and still be a solid citizen, a wholesome, upstanding man. You want to get drunk, so you have to accept the hangover. You say yes to the sunlight and pure fantasies, so you have to say yes to the filth and the nausea.… Continue reading Hermann Hesse
The slow overture of rain, each drop breaking without breaking into the next, describes the unrelenting, syncopated mind. Not unlike the hummingbirds imagining their wings to be their heart, and swallows believing the horizon to be a line they lift and drop. —Jorie Graham, from “Mind,” Hybrids of Plants and of Ghosts. (Princeton University Press;… Continue reading Jorie Graham
Literature is like phosphorus: it shines with its maximum brilliance at the moment when it attempts to die. — Roland Barthes, Writing Degree Zero. (Hill and Wang; Reissue edition April 1, 1977) Originally published 1953,
world is probably made of roses & hello: (of solongs and,ashes) — E.E. Cummings, from “into the strenuous briefness,” 100 Selected Poems. (Grove Press January 10, 1994) Originally published 1954.