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Federico García Lorca

Angel and muse come from without; the angel gives radiance, the muse gives precepts … On the other hand, the duende has to be roused in the very cells of the blood. — Federico García Lorca, from “Theory and Function of the Duende,” trans. J. L. Gilli, 1933, Toward the Open Field: Poets on the… Continue reading Federico García Lorca

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Theodore Roethke

The resonant, the orotund, the rounding of The round full phrases sounding like far sighs, As if an ancient hill has found a motion Long remembered, never brought to action … — Theodore Roethke, from “Words for Young Writers,” On Poetry & Craft (Copper Canyon Press, 2001)

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Joseph Brodsky

‘Believe your pain.’ This awful bear hug is no mistake. Nothing that disturbs you is. Remember all along that there is no embrace in this world that won’t finally unclasp. – Joseph Brodsky, On Grief and Reason: Essays. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Edition Unstated edition, April 10, 1997) Originally published 1995.

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Jean Genet

Beauty has no other origin than a wound, unique, different for each person, hidden or visible, that everyone keeps in himself, that he preserves and to which he withdraws when he wants to leave the world for a temporary but profound solitude. – Jean Genet, Fragments of the Artwork. (Stanford University Press; 1 edition, April… Continue reading Jean Genet

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Louis-Ferdinand Céline

I’d always worried about being practically empty, about having no serious reason for living. And now, confronted with the facts, I was sure of my individual nullity. In that environment, too different from the one where my petty habits were at home, I seem to have disintegrated, I felt very close to nonexistence. I discovered… Continue reading Louis-Ferdinand Céline

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