''After all, it is hard to master both life and work equally well. So if you are bound to fake one of them, it had better be life.''
''What should I say about life? That's it's long and abhors transparence.''
''A poet is a combination of an instrument and a human being in one person, with the former gradually taking over the latter. The sensation of this takeover is responsible for timbre; the realization of it, for destiny.''
''After having exhausted all the arguments on behalf of evil, one utters the creed's dictums with nostalgia rather than with fervor.''
''The real history of consciousness starts with one's first lie.''
''Every writing career starts as a personal quest for sainthood, for self-betterment. Sooner or later, and as a rule quite soon, a man discovers that his pen accomplishes a lot more than his soul.''
''Every individual ought to know at least one poet from cover to cover: if not as a guide through the world, then as a yardstick for the language.''
''Tragedy, as you know, is always a fait accompli, whereas terror always has to do with anticipation, with man's recognition of his own negative potential—with his sense of what he is capable of.''
''There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.''
''The delirium and horror of the East. The dusty catastrophe of Asia. Green only on the banner of the Prophet. Nothing grows here except mustaches.''
''Racism? But isn't it only a form of misanthropy?''
''For the poet the credo or doctrine is not the point of arrival but is, on the contrary, the point of departure for the metaphysical journey.''
''Snobbery? But it's only a form of despair.''
''It would be enough for me to have the system of a jury of twelve versus the system of one judge as a basis for preferring the U.S. to the Soviet Union.... I would prefer the country you can leave to the country you cannot.''
''The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even—if you will—eccentricity. That is, something that can't be feigned, faked, imitated; something even a seasoned imposter couldn't be happy with.''
''The poetic notion of infinity is far greater than that which is sponsored by any creed.''
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