Faces appear, are washed away, Dear today and tomorrow far off. Why did I once turn down the corner of this page? Now the book always opens To the same place. And then it’s strange: It’s as if from the moment of farewell, The years have not passed beyond recall. — Anna Akhmatova, from “Imitation… Continue reading Anna Akhmatova
…What do I want from you? What I want from all of poetry and from each line of a poem: the truth of this moment. — Marina Tsvetaeva in a letter to Rainer Maria Rilke, August 22 1926, Letters: Summer 1926 (New York Review Books, 2001)
How is your life with that other one? Simpler, is it? A stroke of the oars and a long coastline— and the memory of me is soon a drifting island (not in the ocean—in the sky!) — Marina Tsvetaeva, from “An Attempt at Jealousy,” Poetry (March 2012)
For I do not exist: there exist but the thousands of mirrors that reflect me. With every acquaintance I make, the population of phantoms resembling me increases. Somewhere they live, somewhere they multiply. I alone do not exist. — Vladimir Nabokov, The Eye (Phaedra, 1965)Originally published 1930.
Where to start? Everything cracks and shakes. The air trembles with similes. No one word’s better than another; the earth moans with metaphors, and the shays hitched to shimmering flocks of birds all heaving together fly apart, racing against the day’s favorites. — Osip Mandelstam, from “He Who Finds a Horseshoe,” trans. Clarence Brown and… Continue reading Osip Mandelstam
…but it is in despair that the most burning pleasures occur… ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground, W…but it is in despair that the most burning pleasures occur… ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead. (Signet; Reissue edition, November 2,… Continue reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Mind you, sometimes the angels smoke, hiding it with their sleeves, and when the archangel comes, they throw the cigarettes away: that’s when you get shooting stars. —Vladimir Nabokov