Absurdity and anti-absurdity are the two poles of creative energy.
A good painting to me has always been like a friend. It keeps me company, comforts and inspires.
I don't fear death because I don't fear anything I don't understand. When I start to think about it, I order a massage and it goes away.
I can excuse everything but boredom. Boring people don't have to stay that way.
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.
How to write: want to. Stop not writing. Sit down and think of one story you MIGHT be able to tell badly. Take a stab at it. Blurt it out on paper. Go back and take out the boring or showoffy parts. Don't give up on it! Listen for what it is trying to tell you. (It knows things.)
To make a great piece of art you need to believe that you have an eternity of time—even though it is the most urgent thing in your life—and you also need plenty of nothing-to-lose, for its impeccable production.
Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them.
Silence is a source of great strength.
Rebecca Louise Law
I have found that focusing ahead is much more beneficial to my art practice than looking at the present. Living in the moment can be distracting and often hinder the creative process. The best work always comes from being challenged, whether in time, finances, materials or concept. It’s better to take risks than play safe.
A poem is like a score for the human voice.
While all bodies share the same fate, all voices do not.
Memory is sweet. Even when it's painful, memory is sweet.
My role in society, or any artist or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.
If it sounds like writing … rewrite it.
When we were children, we used to think that when we grew up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability . . . to be alive is to be vulnerable.
You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.
The only moral that is of any value is that which arises inevitably from the whole cast of the author’s mind.
Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.
Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, and nothing else.
Think before you speak. Read before you think.
Ursula K. LeGuin
All makers must leave room for the acts of the spirit. But they have to work hard and carefully, and wait patiently, to deserve them.
My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.
Truth is a matter of the imagination.
Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.
You can make anything by writing.
Shirley Geok-lin Lim
Poetry has roots, but they are sometimes cut off and poetry is still written.
The poem is not a physical body. It's a textual body that has life only insofar as it can act symbolically. It cannot physically act.
Poetry must speak of others, in order to speak for the poets’s imagination, in order to speak of itself; it is slowed down by poetics after its flight is over.
Writing a poem is unwriting a knot, like untying a shoelace that is clubbing your foot.
I was driven, as have been many writers, both by a repulsion of the childhood home's narrow confines and a desire to reach further, to keep desiring more of a future not yet imagined and not yet written down.
There's so much rage in the world now and I'm finding poems to be the place where I want to stay. I rage and rage and then write a poem and return to breathing.
Language can also be play and music and beauty and desire and grief and rage and truth without always having to be message-driven or purely functional. Moving away from "useful" doesn't mean it isn't necessary. You can still need poetry while also needing money or food or physical health.
I'm always talking about how the poems I am most obsessed with are like people: complex and unknowable and with a huge capacity for many different emotions.
I think, as poets, we are in the odd position of constantly defending our art form. Which is funny and also sort of invigorating, too. No one really says, "Oh you're a lawyer? I've never understood the law. In fact, I kind of hate it." Or, "Oh you wait tables? I didn't know that was something people did." I say it can be invigorating because, on some level, we have to evaluate what we do and why we do it almost daily. We have to explain ourselves to people all the time. We have to say, "Yes, I am a unicorn, believe in me."
Well, poetry is something you put into language. It’s an arrangement of words that has never been committed to the page before, so they have that kind of freshness.
The craft could be taught but not the art . . . The craft of it can be taught— but there’s also the poetry part of it. There’s a part of it that can’t be taught at all. But you can learn it, that’s the thing! I think we learn it by reading; we learn it by hearing the poem aloud. I would call it the magic or the mystery that touches us.
You can’t wait for inspiration; you have to go after it with a club.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.
Adrian C. Louis
I’m at that place I grew up to leave.
Even pain pricks to livelier living.
James Russell Lowell
One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.
Fate loves the fearless.
Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.
All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.
Not failure, but low aim, is crime.
The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinions.
Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found.
All God's angels come to us disguised.
Solitude is as needful to the imagination as society is wholesome for the character.
Life requires death and death requires life.
The paradoxes—the way opposites are always interconnected and interdependent in nature has always interested me.
Animals I suppose mirror what we ourselves are—animals. We too are at the mercy of death, suffering and life. We too are driven by instinct, the need to flee or freeze or fight when faced with trauma.