Q is for Quotations.

Quotations, randomly posted

In the spring or early summer of 1912, ‘H.D’, Richard Aldington, and myself decided we were agreed upon the three principles following:

Ezra Pound 1939 Wyndham Lewis 1882-1957 Purchased 1939 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05042

Ezra Pound 1939 Wyndham Lewis 1882-1957 Purchased 1939, Tate Gallery, London

(1) Direct treatment of the ‘thing’ whether subjective or objective.
(2) To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.
(3) As regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of a metronome.”

These, and many other lessons on poetics, were taught by Ted (WorDoctor) Dyck. In addition to myself the workshop participants where Mick Burrs, Anne Campbell, Gerald Hill, Elizabeth Phillips, Bruce Rice, Susan Rodning, Jerry Rush, Brenda Riches, Susan Andrews and Paul Wilson.




“A poet knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Leonardo da Vinci

Lessing Quote Picture

 “Art is not difficult because it wishes to be difficult, rather because it wishes to be art. However much the writer might long to be straightforward, these virtues are no longer available to him. He discovers that in being simple, honest, straightforward, nothing much happens.”
Donald Barthelme lt. In a 1987 essay, “Not-Knowing.”

I live on Earth at present/ … I am not a thing—a noun./ I seem to be a verb,’
Buckminster Fuller.


“That dealybob is too far from the hole. It should be built right in.”
Loretta Lynn

Always drink upstream from the herd.
-Will Rogers

Hope Plett would certainly have married her first love if he hadn’t died in a plane crash minutes after flying at a low altitude over her house.
David Bergen  – opening sentence of his new novel Age of Hope. 

To is a preposition, come is a verb.
Lenny Bruce 

“I’m no longer interested in the possible.”
Robert Kroetsch in The Crow Journals

“I live my life one poem at a time.”
Robert Kroetsch in Prairie Fire, 1999

Getting old isn’t for sissies.
Bette Davis

A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.
Mark Twain

Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.
Mark Twain

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
Mark Twain 

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.
Kurt Vonnegut 

Everything that has ever been called folk art has always reflected domination.
Theodor Adorno 

The task of art today is to bring chaos into order.
Theodor Adorno

A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.
Friedrich Nietzsche

A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.
Friedrich Nietzsche

All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.
Friedrich Nietzsche

And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
Friedrich Nietzsche

This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.
Dorothy Parker

She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.
Dorothy Parker, speaking of Katharine Hepburn

Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common.
Dorothy Parker 

You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.
Dorothy Parker

So, you’re the man who can’t spell ‘fuck.’
Dorothy Parker to Norman Mailer after publishers had convinced Mailer to replace the word with a euphemism, ‘fug,’ in his 1948 book, “The Naked and the Dead.”

Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself – it is the occurring which is difficult.
Stephen Leacock

Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale 

Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.
Margaret Atwood 

You fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye
Margaret Atwood

There’s an epigram tacked to my office bulletin board, pinched from a magazine — “Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pâté.”
Margaret Atwood, Negotiating with the Dead 

In your life there are a few places, or maybe only the one place, where something happened, and then there are all the other places.
Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness 

You cannot let your parents anywhere near your real humiliations.
Alice Munro, Open Secrets

Always remember that when a man goes out of the room, he leaves everything in it behind… When a woman goes out she carries everything that happened in the room along with her.
Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness 

Even a Menno sheltered from the world knows not to stick her tongue into the mouth of a boy who owns an Air Supply record. You might stick your tongue into the mouth of a boy who owned some Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but you would not date him on a regular basis, or openly.
Miriam Toews 

He is the same chap who informed me that there are unusually high numbers of Mennonites who suffer from depression but nobody knows why. I said, Well, thank you for that! As cheerfully as if I was accepting a plate of homemade Christmas cookies from one of my students.
 Miriam Toews, Swing Low 

Her life with others no longer interests him. He wants only her stalking beauty, her theatre of expressions. He wants the minute secret reflection between them, the depth of field minimal, their foreignness intimate like two pages of a closed book.
 Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient 

All I ever wanted was a world without maps.
 Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient 

Everything is biographical, Lucian Freud says. What we make, why it is made, how we draw a dog, who it is we are drawn to, why we cannot forget. Everything is collage, even genetics. There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross.”
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.
Michael Ondaatje, Divisadero 

…sometimes we enter art to hide within it. It is where we can go to save ourselves, where a third-person voice protects us.
Michael Ondaatje, Divisadero 

Death means you are in the third person.
 Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
 Sylvia Plath 

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
Winston Churchill

There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist 

Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.
Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country 

Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.
Virginia Woolf 

Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
Flannery O’Connor 

Dance is a song of the body. Either of joy or pain.
Martha Graham

Repetition not for monotony but the ecstasy it induces.
Martha Graham

In 1980, a well-meaning fundraiser came to see me and said, “Miss Graham, the most powerful thing you have going for you to raise money is your respectability.” I wanted to spit. Respectable! Show me any artist who wants to be respectable.
Martha Graham

Write what should not be forgotten.
Isabel Allende

Erotica is using a feather, pornography is using the whole chicken.
Isabel Allende

Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead.
Lucille Ball

You see much more of your children once they leave home.
Lucille Ball

I don’t do T & A very well because I haven’t got much of either.
Lucille Ball

I love my past. I love my present. I’m not ashamed of what I’ve had, and I’m not sad because I have it no longer.

A happy childhood is poor preparation for human contacts.

Her childhood, then her adolescence, had taught her patience, hope, silence and the easy manipulation of the weapons and virtues of all prisoners.

It is not a bad thing that children should occasionally, and politely, put parents in their place.

Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are God.

I am open to conviction on all points except dinner and debts. I hold that the one must be eaten and the other paid. Those are my only prejudices.
George Elliot

The moment of change is the only poem.
Adrienne Rich

Liszt said to me today that God alone deserves to be loved. It may be true, but when one has loved a man it is very different to love God.
George Sand

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
Virginia Woolf

I meant to write about death, only life came breaking in as usual.
Virginia Woolf

I read the book of Job last night, I don’t think God comes out well in it.
Virgina Woolf

They took away time, and they gave us the clock.
Abdullah Ibrahim

Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.
Wyatt Earp

My parents taught me to believe that through the creative act, we’re able to transcend and give a response to desecration.
Atom Egoyan

For the speedy reader paragraphs become a country the eye flies over looking for landmarks, reference points, airports, restrooms, passages of sex.
William H. Gass

Getting even is one reason for writing.
William H. Gass

I write because I hate. A lot. Hard.
William H. Gass 

It’s not the word made flesh we want in writing, in poetry and fiction, but the flesh made word.
William H. Gass

Never make a decision when you need to pee.
Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers 

Deprivation is the mother of poetry.
Leonard Cohen, The Favorite Game 

I began to write fiction on the assumption that the true enemies of the novel were plot, character, setting and theme.
 John Hawkes

You should always be trying to write a poem you are unable to write, a poem you lack the technique, the language, the courage to achieve. Otherwise you’re merely imitating yourself, going nowhere, because that’s always easiest.”
John Berryman

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn
 John Berryman The Dream Songs 

That is our ‘pointed task. Love & die.
John Berryman

Is getting well ever an art or art a way to get well?
Robert Lowell Jr.

Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.
Gustave Flaubert

Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it.
 Gustave Flaubert
Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.
Gustave Flaubert


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