Quality Quotes

Woolf on Writers and Readers

December 1, 2010

Excerpt from Virginia Woolf’s famous essay, Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Brown: “In the course of your daily life this past week you have had far stranger and more interesting experiences than the one I have tried to describe. You have overheard scraps of talk that filled you with amazement. You [...]

Seamus Heaney, Hercules, and Antaeus

November 22, 2010

With Seamus Heaney’s recent publication of Human Chain, we hope you’d also enjoy hearing a little insight into his career as a poet. You can read along with the pdf of the entire speech here. Excerpt from Seamus Heaney’s Birthday Speech: 13th APRIL 2009 “In Greek mythology, [...]

The Great Joyful Swamp

November 20, 2010

From Charles Wright’s introduction to The Best American Poetry 2008 telling us we’d better hop to: Everyone talks about the “great health” of American poetry nowadays. And it’s hard to fault that. There are very few bad poems being published, very few. On the other [...]

Monday or Tuesday

November 15, 2010

A short story (or “sketch,” if you like) by Virginia Woolf from 1921, when she was writing toward the voice she’d eventually fully develop in Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse. Her insistence that the imagination is as real as anything else is, well, awesome: Monday or Tuesday [...]

Einstein, Editing Thoughts

November 15, 2010

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” The concise, the simple, the subtle are the sibilant sisters of genius. Having a good range of simple to [...]

Sherlock on Fiction

November 12, 2010

Sherlock Holmes, in “The Red Headed League” “My dear fellow,” said Sherlock Holmes as we sat on either side of the fire in his lodgings at Baker Street, “life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the [...]

The Poet’s Experience

November 10, 2010

When a poet’s mind is perfectly equipped for its work, it is constantly amalgamating disparate experience; the ordinary man’s experience is chaotic, irregular, fragmentary. The latter falls in love, or reads Spinoza, and these two experiences have nothing to do with each other, or with the [...]

Samuel Johnson on “Great Labour”

November 4, 2010

“Yet  great labour, directed by great abilities, is never wholly lost; if they frequently threw away their wit upon false conceits, they likewise sometimes struck out unexpected truth: if their conceits were far-fetched, they were often worth the carriage. To write on their plan, it was at [...]

Musings by T.S. Eliot

October 28, 2010

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws [...]