Some noted, quoted things, in whatever order.

“Language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.” …Gustave Flaubert

“Prose is a man walking. Poetry is a man dancing.” …Paul Valery

“Whatever I have to do has not yet begun.” …W.S. Merwin

“you can’t you can never be sure/you die without knowing/whether anything you wrote was any good/if you have to be sure don’t write” … W.S. Merwin

“We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glow-worm.” … Winston Churchill

“Digression – a movement away from the gradus, or upward escalation, of the argument – is sometimes the only way to be thorough, and footnotes are the only form of graphic digression sanctioned by centuries of typesetters. And yet the MLA Style Sheet I owned in college warned against lengthy, “essay like” footnotes. Are they nuts?” … Nicholson Baker

“Words are all we have.” … Samuel Beckett

“Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine; – they are the life, the soul of reading.” … Laurence Sterne

“God may reduce you/on Judgment Day/to tears of shame,/reciting by heart/the poems you would/have written, had/your life been good.” … W.H. Auden

“You got a song, man, sing it./You got a bell, man, ring it.” … Robert Creeley

“There’s a time for reciting poems and a time for fists.” … Roberto Bolano

“…I need never go on another TV or radio show and find that, however the discussion was described beforehand, what we’re really meant to talk about is how poetry is dead, or the novel is rubbish, or the short story is irrelevant. Fuck that, quite frankly. Really. Fuck that with vigour and from a strange direction…” … A.L. Kennedy

“I stopped three feet from the top/of Everest. Fuck it, I’m not going/a single inch farther.” … James Harrison

“When we are young, the words are scattered all around us. As they are assembled by experience, so also are we, sentence by sentence, until the story takes shape.” … Louise Erdrich

“Like a tear falling in a field of snow…” … Frederick Seidel

“You fit into me/like a hook into an eye//a fish hook/an open eye” … Margaret Atwood

(now the ears of my ears are awake and/the eyes of my eyes are opened) … E.E. Cummings

“And poetry’s not there for information.” … W.S. Merwin

“As any poet can tell you, one often sees better with eyes closed than with eyes open.” … Charles Simic

“…We’re tied to the mast of these huge crazy ships, ploughing into dark, icy seas, and our only recourse is an occasional change of hat…” … from The Paris Review blog, 11 March 2011

“Let him that stealeth a Book from this Library, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with Palsy, and all his Members blasted. Let him languish in Pain, crying aloud for Mercy and let there be no surcease to his Agony till he sink in Dissolution. Let Booksworms gnaw his entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not, and when at last he goeth to his final Punishment, let the flames of Hell consume him for ever and aye!” … Curse Against Book Stealers, Monastery of San Pedro, Barcelona

“Some people – and I am one of them – hate happy ends. We feel cheated. Harm is the norm. Doom should not jam.” … Vladimir Nabakov

“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” … Andre Gide

“your life is your life./know it while you have it./you are marvelous/the gods wait to delight/in you.” … Charles Bukowski

“The unit of wine is the cup. Of LOVE, the unit is the kiss. That’s here./In Hell, the units are the gallon and the fuck. In Paradise, the drop and the glance.” … Anthony Madrid

“I got a tattoo of God. You can’t see it/but it’s everywhere. If I seem out of it,/do the math. I was put on earth.” … Michael Robbins

“…the man fitted to his job like a man to the exact pocket of space he displaces.” … David Foster Wallace

“A work of art offers a paradoxical liberation: it is something that changes everything while being perfectly useless in any ordinary sense…no one gains social status from knowing or ‘owning’ a poem. Art’s role in the contemporary world may well be precisely to be un-useful, to reveal the importance of uselessness in our lives.” … Jane Hirshfield

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