"If poetry is a matrix mechanics of language, how can interpretations of poetry be developed with certainty if a poem’s present state (while creating or experiencing it?) cannot be described without ambiguity?"

– Amy Catanzano, from "Quantum Poetics: Writing the Speed of Light” (via wood s lot)

"I am talking to myself
With empty rooms
I cannot bear to live in."

– Stuart Dischell, from "Proclamation"

"But happiness is brittle, and if men and circumstances don't destroy it, it is threatened by ghosts."

– Marguerite Yourcenar, "The Man Who Loved the Nereids," trans. Alberto Manguel (via LitVerv)

"Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories. More than that: the chance, the fate, that suffuse the past before my eyes are conspicuously present in the accustomed confusion of these books. For what else is this collection but a disorder to which habit has accommodated itself to such an extent that it can appear as order?"

– Walter Benjamin, from "Unpacking My Library" in Illuminations

Man Ray, Portrait of Antonin Artaud, 1926

"I feel the dead in the cold of violets
And that great vagueness of the moon.

The earth is doomed to be a ghost,
She who rocks all death in herself."

– Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, from “I Feel the Dead,” trans. by Ruth Fainlight (via)

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

– Siddhārtha Gautama

"Even if you have not awakened, if you realize that your perceptions and activities are all like dreams and you view them with detachment, not giving rise to grasping and rejecting discrimination, then this is virtually tantamount to awakening from the dream."

– Muso Kokushi (via whiskey river)

"morning green through ivy
leaves resuscitated
on window let us also breathe
our own breath"

– Dan Beachy-Quick, from "[morning green through ivy]"

"I spoke my tongues against your breathlessness.

Down there nothing but eternity and praise.
To be alive I had to praise, to praise I had to
learn to speak."

– Luke Davies, from Totem

Caravaggio, The Conversion of Saint Paul (detail), c. 1600-01

"We have overheard fountains all our days.
They sound to use almost like time. ...

Your task is to love what you don't understand."

– Rainer Maria Rilke, from "VIII" in the Appendix to Sonnets to Orpheus, trans. Stephen Mitchell

"Every year the moon inches away from us. In time she’ll swim too far out
to anchor us at our habitual angle to the sun, and that will be the end
of the well-tempered and recursive wildness
                                                                      that conceived and suffered us,
and that will be the end of us. We have just two
billion years to thank her for our time here. Eternity has a use-by date"

– Mark Tredinnick, from "Red Moon Eclogues"

"I keep following this sort of hidden river of my life, you know, whatever the topic or impulse which comes, I follow it along trustingly. And I don't have any sense of its coming to a kind of crescendo, or of its petering out either. It is just going steadily along."

– William Stafford, from an interview conducted on 6 February 1971 (via whiskey river)

"Breathing, looking, walking, she felt nothing but desire. The sound of the sea told her she must love; the darkness of evening—the same; the mountains—the same."

– Anton Chekhov, "The Duel," trans. Constance Garnett

Aaron Siskind


"We bent the trunk to the ground and sat on it,
twisted from all angles.
How like ropes it was,
the sickly thing asserting its will
only now at the end,
blind but beyond
the idea of leaving the earth."

– Jennifer K. Sweeney, from "How to Uproot a Tree"

"I tasted—careless—then—
I did not know the Wine
Came once a World—Did you?"

– Emily Dickinson, from "[One Year ago—jots what?]"

Jan Davidsz de Heem, Still Life with Glass and Oysters, 1640


"We are instructed by the objects that come to speak with us, those material presences. Why should we have been born knowing how to love the world? We require, again and again, these demonstrations."

– Mark Doty, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon

"According to Proust, even involuntary memory occupies a very restricted zone, which art exceeds on all sides, and which has only a conductive role. The problem of art, the correlative problem to creation, is that of perception and not memory...

There is lost time, which is not a negation but a full function of time."

– Gilles Deleuze, from "Boulez, Proust and Time"

Anselm Kiefer, Painting=Burning, 1974

"Well, it must be another year, if I do not die between this and then."

– Marcel Proust, Le temps retrouvé

"With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible"

– W. S. Merwin, "To the New Year"