American Culture · American Literature · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Poetry

Mary Szybist

The Troubadours Etc. Just for this evening, let’s not mock them. Not their curtsies or cross-garters or ever-recurring pepper trees in their gardens promising, promising. At least they had ideas about love. All day we’ve driven past cornfields, past cows poking their heads through metal contraptions to eat. We’ve followed West 84, and what else?… Continue reading Mary Szybist

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Classic · Collection · Excerpt · Fiction · Passage · Philosophy · Poetry · Portuguese Culture · Portuguese Literature

Fernando Pessoa

I’ve dreamed a lot. I’m tired now from dreaming but not tired of dreaming. No one tires of dreaming, because to dream is to forget, and forgetting does not weigh on us, it is a dreamless sleep throughout which we remain awake. In dreams I have achieved everything. — Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet.… Continue reading Fernando Pessoa

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American Culture · American Literature · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Excerpt · Fragment · Passage · Poetry

Julie Suk

Sometimes I go to bed scared of not coming through, the night full of the radiant falling into themselves, fragments curving back, a drop of sweat, a single pulse, felt as they were moments ago. — Julie Suk, from “The Night is Full of Us,” Lie Down with Me: New and Selected Poems. (Autumn House,… Continue reading Julie Suk

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Avant-garde · Classic · Excerpt · Fiction · Irish Culture · Irish Literature · Modernism · Novel · Paraphrase · Passage · Postmodernism · Quote · Stream of Consciousness · Theatre of the Absurd

Samuel Beckett

If there is one question I dread, to which I have never been able to invent a satisfactory reply, it is the question what am I doing. ― Samuel Beckett, Molloy. (Grove Press, January 12, 1994) Originally published 1951.

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American Culture · American Literature · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Excerpt · Fragment · Passage · Poetry

John Koethe

There’s such pleasure sitting here, looking And listening at the same time: materiality is the point, Texture, coarseness, stuff—call it what you will. You put some clay or words into the furnace and wait For what emerges from the fire once it’s died down. —John Koethe, from “The Japanese Aesthetic,” The Swimmer: Poems (Farrar, Straus,… Continue reading John Koethe

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American Culture · American Literature · Classic · Contemporary · Excerpt · Fiction · Modernism · Novel · Paraphrase · Passage · Quote

Ernest Hemingway

In the old days he would not have worried, but the fighting part of him was tired now, along with the other part, and he was alone in all of this now and he lay on the big, wide, old bed and could neither read nor sleep. — Ernest Hemingway, To Have and Have Not.… Continue reading Ernest Hemingway

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Absurdism · Classic · Excerpt · Fiction · French Culture · French Literature · Novel · Paraphrase · Passage · Philosophy · Quote

Albert Camus

I, too, felt ready to start life all over again. It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference… Continue reading Albert Camus

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Abstract · American Culture · American Literature · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Excerpt · Passage · Postmodernism · The New York School

John Ashbery

[S]o when it comes Time to depart our good-byes will read automatically true or false According to what has gone before. And that loneliness will accompany us On the far side of parting, when what we dream, we read. —John Ashbery, from “Wet Are the Boards,” April Galleons: Poems (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1999)

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Abstract · American Culture · American Literature · Autobiographical · Biographical · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Excerpt · Memoir · Non-fiction · Paraphrase · Passage · Poetry · Quote · The New York School

Frank O’Hara

If life were merely a habit, I should commit suicide; but even now, more or less desperate, I cannot but think, ‘Something wonderful may happen.’ It is not optimism, it is a rejection of self-pity (I hope) which leaves a loophole for life… I merely choose to remain living out of respect for possibility. And… Continue reading Frank O’Hara

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