Choice Words

Aug 29

“The essence of poetry is the unique view—the unguessed relationship, suddenly manifest. Poetry’s eye is always aslant, oblique.” — Josephine Jacobson, qtd by Camille Dungy, “Tell It Slant”


Aug 24

“Silence was pleased: now glowed the firmament
With living sapphires : Hesperus that led
The starry hose, rode brightest, till the moon
Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent queen unveiled her peerless light,
And o’er the dark her silver mantle threw.” — John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV

Aug 03

“The only painter I admire is God. He’s my biggest influence.” — Tony Fido— Denis Johnson, “The Largesse of the Sea Maiden”


Jul 31

“Thus upon mine unrestful couch I lie,
Bathed with the dews of night, unvisited
By dreams-ah me!-for in the place of sleep
Stands Fear as my familiar, and repels
The soft repose that would mine eyelids seal.” — Watchman—Aeschylus, Agamemnon 

The Final Sentence top three


“‘All of us are better when we’re loved.’”
— Alistair MacLeod, from No Great Mischief 

"His skin
is a brutally beautiful
handwritten letter
from the sun.”
— Buddy Wakefield, from “Human the death dance

"[You are not a match.]
You are a goddamn wildfire.”
— Amanda Oaks, from “How to Pick Up the Pieces” 

Jul 27

“I have learned and dismantled all the words in order to draw from them a
single word: Home.” — Mahmoud Darwish, from “I Belong There”, translated by Munir Akash and Carolyn Forché (via the-final-sentence)

Jul 02


A brick is worth more than the words that imitate it, resting one on top of the other. With poetry, I would like to make bricks. 

— “Bricks”, Massimo Gezzi


A brick is worth more than the words
that imitate it, resting
one on top of the other.

With poetry, I would like to make bricks.

Bricks”, Massimo Gezzi

Jun 28

“What is so painful about that time is that nothing was disastrous. It was all wrong, ugly, unhappy and coloured with cynicism, but nothing was tragic, there were no moments that could change anything or anybody. From time to time the emotional lightning flashed and showed a landscape of private misery, and then — we went on dancing.” — Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

Jun 27

“The novel has become a function of the fragmented society, the fragmented consciousness. Human beings are so divided, are becoming more and more divided, and more subdivided in themselves, reflecting the world, that they reach out desperately, not knowing they do it, for information about other groups inside their own country, let alone about groups in other countries. It is a blind grasping out for their own wholeness, and the novel-report is a means toward it.” — Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook 

Jun 26

“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag — and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty — and vice versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you.” — Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook (introduction)

Jun 25

“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this:
“You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.”” — Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook (introduction)

Jun 24

“I think it possible that Marxism was the first attempt, for our time, outside the formal religions, at a world-mind, a world-ethic. It went wrong, could not prevent itself from dividing and subdividing, like all the other religions, into smaller and smaller chapels, sects, and creeds. But it was an attempt.” — Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook (introduction)

Jun 20

“He says, `If only I had unknown utterances
and extraordinary verses,
in a new language that does not pass away,
free from repetition,
without a verse of worn-out speech
spoken by the ancestors!
I shall wring my body for what is in it,
- a release of all my speech.
For what is already said can only be repeated;
what is said once has been said;
this is no vain boast of the ancients’ speech
that those who are later should find it good.” — Ancient Egyptian scribe Khakheperraseneb


Jun 16

(Source: asymptotejournal)

Jun 14

“… il ne parlait plus que de peinture grasse et solide, que de morceaux de nature, jetés sur la toile, vivants, grouillants, tels qu’ils étaient …” — Emile Zola, Les Rougon-Macquart