Wise Words about Writing
Good writers define reality; bad ones merely restate it.
Poetry calls into question what it means to be human.
You have to tell your own story simultaneously as you hear and respond to the stories of others.
Margaret Walker Alexander
The poetry of a people comes from the deep recesses of the unconscious, the irrational and the collective body of our ancestral memories.
The poem is an invention that exists in spite of history… In a time of violence, the task of poetry is in some way to reconcile us to our world and to allow us a measure of tenderness and grace with which to exist… Poetry’s task is to reconcile us to the world—not to accept it at face value or to assent to things that are wrong, but to reconcile one in a larger sense, to return us in love, the province of the imagination, to the scope of our mortal lives.
Poetry = Anger x Imagination
Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.
Write what should not be forgotten.
To look at the work of your peers, and learn how to explain with kindness and precision, the nature of their mistakes is, in fact, how you learn to diagnose your own work.
All readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies. Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, 'Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’
By words the mind is winged.
Accordingly, the poet should prefer probable impossibilities to improbable possibilities.
A word after a word after a word is power.
If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.
Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
Writing poetry is a state of free float.
Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings.
A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.
It would only be necessary for a writer to secure universal popularity if imagination and intelligence were equally distributed among all men.
A special kind of beauty exists which is born in language, of language, and for language.
If a story is only what it seems to be about, then somehow the author has failed.
If you have the words, there's always a chance that you'll find the way.
We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.
The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.