We think not in words but in shadows of words. — Vladimir Nabokov, Strong Opinions (McGraw-Hill, 1973)
The word ‘despair’ is overused and banalized now, but it’s a serious word, and I’m using it seriously. It’s close to what people call dread or angst, but it’s not these things, quite. It’s more like wanting to die in order to escape the unbearable sadness of knowing I’m small and weak and selfish and… Continue reading David Foster Wallace
Think of someone you want to touch whom you cannot touch, someone forbidden. Think of a room where there is nothing except the two of you: still, you cannot touch them. Think of the heat between two hands about to touch, the language that exists in that silence. — Chelsea Hodson, from “A Simple Woman,”… Continue reading Chelsea Hodson
[P]hilosophy is the art of masking inner torments. — Emil M. Cioran, On the Heights of Despair. (University Of Chicago Press,1996) Originally published 1933.
Vanish. Pass into nothingness: the Keats line that frightened her. Fade as the blue nights fade, go as the brightness goes. Go back into the blue. I myself placed her ashes in the wall. I myself saw the cathedral doors locked at six. I know what it is I am now experiencing. I know what… Continue reading Joan Didion
In the mansion called literature I would have the eaves deep and the walls dark, I would push back into the shadows the things that come forward too clearly, I would strip away the useless decoration. I do not ask that this be done everywhere, but perhaps we may be allowed at least one mansion… Continue reading Jun’ichirō Tanizaki
The poet is buried in the obliterated whiteness beneath the dark letters of a poem. — Jennifer Moxley, “Fragments of a Broken Poetics,” Chicago Review, Spring 2010