''A great age of literature is perhaps always a great age of translations.''
''If the individual, or heretic, gets hold of some essential truth, or sees some error in the system being practised, he commits so many marginal errors himself that he is worn out before he can establish his point.''
''I dunno what my 23 infantile years in America signify. I left as soon as motion was autarchic—I mean my motion.''
''Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.''
''We do NOT know the past in chronological sequence. It may be convenient to lay it out anesthetized on the table with dates pasted on here and there, but what we know we know by ripples and spirals eddying out from us and from our own time.''
''The Image is more than an idea. It is a vortex or cluster of fused ideas and is endowed with energy.''
''A heroic figure ... not wholly to blame for the religion that's been foisted on him.''
''A civilized man is one who will give a serious answer to a serious question. Civilization itself is a certain sane balance of values.''
''Technique is the test of sincerity. If a thing isn't worth getting the technique to say, it is of inferior value.''
''Adolf Hitler was a Jeanne d'Arc, a saint. He was a martyr. Like many martyrs, he held extreme views.''
''Allow me to say that I would long since have committed suicide had desisting made me a professor of Latin.''
''A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness.''
''People find ideas a bore because they do not distinguish between live ones and stuffed ones on a shelf.''
''Nothing written for pay is worth printing. ONLY what has been written AGAINST the market.''
''Modern civilization has bred a race with brains like those of rabbits and we who are the heirs of the witch-doctor and the voodoo. We artists who have been so long the despised are about to take over control.''
''Mass ought to be in Latin, unless you cd. do it in Greek or Chinese. In fact, any abracadabra that no bloody member of the public or half-educated ape of a clargimint cd. think he understood.''
''Man is an over-complicated organism. If he is doomed to extinction he will die out for want of simplicity.''
''The real meditation is ... the meditation on one's identity. Ah, voilà une chose!! You try it. You try finding out why you're you and not somebody else. And who in the blazes are you anyhow? Ah, voilà une chose!''
''The jargon of these sculptors is beyond me. I do not know precisely why I admire a green granite female, apparently pregnant monster with one eye going around a square corner.''
''If a patron buys from an artist who needs money (needs money to buy tools, time, food), the patron then makes himself equal to the artist; he is building art into the world; he creates.''
''I have always thought the suicide shd/ bump off at least one swine before taking off for parts unknown.''
''No verse is libre for the man who wants to do a good job.''
''I have never known anyone worth a damn who wasn't irascible.''
''With one day's reading a man may have the key in his hands.''
''Somebody said that I am the last American living the tragedy of Europe.''
''Genius ... is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one, and where the man of talent sees two or three, plus the ability to register that multiple perception in the material of his art.''
''The real trouble with war (modern war) is that it gives no one a chance to kill the right people.''
''But the one thing you shd. not do is to suppose that when something is wrong with the arts, it is wrong with the arts ONLY.''
''Here is a dirty book worth reading ... a bawdy which will be very useful to put Wyndham and J.J. into their proper cubby holes; cause Miller is sore and without kinks.''
''AS A MIND, who the hell else is there left for me to take an interest IN??''
''There is natural ignorance and there is artificial ignorance. I should say at the present moment the artificial ignorance is about eighty-five per cent.''
''No good poetry is ever written in a manner twenty years old, for to write in such a manner shows conclusively that the writer thinks from books, convention and cliché, not from real life.''
''It ought to be illegal for an artist to marry.... If the artist must marry let him find someone more interested in art, or his art, or the artist part of him, than in him. After which let them take tea together three times a week.''
''In verse one can take any damn constant one likes, one can alliterate, or assone, or rhyme, or quant, or smack, only one MUST leave the other elements irregular.''
''Literature does not exist in a vacuum. Writers as such have a definite social function exactly proportional to their ability as writers. This is their main use.''
''I consider criticism merely a preliminary excitement, a statement of things a writer has to clear up in his own head sometime or other, probably antecedent to writing; of no value unless it come to fruit in the created work later.''
''All my life I believed I knew something. But then one strange day came when I realized that I knew nothing, yes, I knew nothing. And so words became void of meaning ... I have arrived too late at ultimate uncertainty.''
''In our time, the curse is monetary illiteracy, just as inability to read plain print was the curse of earlier centuries.''
''And New York is the most beautiful city in the world? It is not far from it. No urban night is like the night there.... Squares after squares of flame, set up and cut into the aether. Here is our poetry, for we have pulled down the stars to our will.''
''You let me throw the bricks through the front window. You go in at the back and take the swag.''
''I could I trust starve like a gentleman. It's listed as part of the poetic training, you know.''
''Good art however "immoral" is wholly a thing of virtue. ... Good art can NOT be immoral. By good art I mean art that bears true witness, I mean the art that is most precise.''
''Literature is news that STAYS news.''
''It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse. It is obviously much easier to find inhabitants for an inferno or even a purgatorio.''
''A general loathing of a gang or sect usually has some sound basis in instinct.''
''Any general statement is like a cheque drawn on a bank. Its value depends on what is there to meet it.''
''It would be about as easy for an American to become a Chinaman or a Hindoo as for him to acquire an Englishness or a Frenchness or a European-ness that is more than half skin deep.''
''Poetry is a very complex art.... It is an art of pure sound bound in through an art of arbitrary and conventional symbols.''
''Gloom and solemnity are entirely out of place in even the most rigorous study of an art originally intended to make glad the heart of man.''
''The worst mistake I made was that stupid, suburban prejudice of anti-Semitism.''
''If I could believe the Quakers banned music because church music is so damn bad, I should view them with approval.''
''The act of bellringing is symbolic of all proselytizing religions. It implies the pointless interference with the quiet of other people.''
''The modern artist must live by craft and violence. His gods are violent gods.... Those artists, so called, whose work does not show this strife, are uninteresting.''
''In case I conk out, this is provisionally what I have to do: I must clarify obscurities; I must make clearer definite ideas or dissociations. I must find a verbal formula to combat the rise of brutality—the principle of order versus the split atom.''
''Colloquial poetry is to the real art as the barber's wax dummy is to sculpture.''
''Good writers are those who keep the language efficient. That is to say, keep it accurate, keep it clear.''
''Humanity is the rich effluvium, it is the waste and the manure and the soil, and from it grows the tree of the arts.''
''A man of genius has a right to any mode of expression.''
''Wars are made to make debt.''
''There is no topic ... more soporific and generally boring than the topic of Ireland as Ireland, as a nation.''
''There will be a crowd of young women doing homage to my palaver,''
''It is more than likely that the brain itself is, in origin and development, only a sort of great clot of genital fluid held in suspense or reserved.... This hypothesis ... would explain the enormous content of the brain as a maker or presenter of images.''
''I guess the definition of a lunatic is a man surrounded by them.''
''The curse of me & my nation is that we always think things can be bettered by immediate action of some sort, any sort rather than no sort.''
''If a nation's literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays.''