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Robert Lowell

Mr. Edwards And The Spider I saw the spiders marching through the air, Swimming from tree to tree that mildewed day In latter August when the hay Came creaking to the barn. But where The wind is westerly, Where gnarled November makes the spiders fly Into the apparitions of the sky, They purpose nothing but… Continue reading Robert Lowell

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Albert Camus

I hadn’t understood how days could be both long and short at the same time: long to live through, maybe, but so drawn out that they ended up flowing into one another. They lost their names. — Albert Camus, The Stranger. (Vintage March 13, 1989) Originally published 1942.

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John Ashbery

Alone with our madness and favorite flower We see that there really is nothing left to write about. Or rather, it is necessary to write about the same old things In the same way, repeating the same things over and over For love to continue and be gradually different. —  John Ashbery, from “Late Echo,”… Continue reading John Ashbery

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Michael Ondaatje

For we live with those retrievals from childhood that coalesce and echo throughout our lives, the way shattered pieces of glass in a kaleidoscope reappear in new forms and are songlike in their refrains and rhymes, making up a single monologue. We live permanently in the recurrence of our own stories, whatever story we tell.… Continue reading Michael Ondaatje

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Anzhelina Polonskaya

So today I tried to write again about the most important things—the enormous sun rising beyond the smokestacks. The crimes of the entire nation. And the twisted throat of a song bird accomplishing its daily heroics during an argument. But I couldn’t get a line by Elena Shwarts out of my head: the heart is… Continue reading Anzhelina Polonskaya

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Søren Kierkegaard

What is a poet? An unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music…. And people flock around the poet and say: ‘Sing again soon’ – that is, ‘May new sufferings torment your soul but… Continue reading Søren Kierkegaard

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Percy Bysshe Shelley

 “And on the pedestal, these words appear: My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.” ― Percy Bysshe Shelley, from “Ozymandias,” originally published in the 11 January… Continue reading Percy Bysshe Shelley

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John Keats

 Think of my Pleasure in Solitude, in comparison of my commerce with the world – there I am a child – there they do not know me not even my most intimate acquaintance – I give into their feelings as though I were refraining from irritating a little child – Some think me middling, others… Continue reading John Keats

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Wendell Berry

Accept what comes from silence. Make the best you can of it. Of the little words that come out of the silence, like prayers prayed back to the one who prays, make a poem that does not disturb the silence from which it came. — Wendell Berry, from “How To Be a Poet,” Given. (Counterpoint… Continue reading Wendell Berry

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George Eliot

To be a poet is to have a soul so quick to discern, that no shade of quality escapes it, and so quick to feel, that discernment is but a hand playing with finely-ordered variety on the chords of emotion–a soul in which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling flashes back as a new… Continue reading George Eliot

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