“Listen to my hands”

“Listening is still the key.”

                    –Jim Hall

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“Most people say that the purpose of poetry is communication: that sounds as if one could be contented simply by telling somebody whatever it is one has noticed, felt or perceived. I feel it is a kind of permanent communication better called preservation, since one’s deepest impulse in writing (or, I must admit, painting or composing) is to my mind not ‘I must tell everybody about that’ (ie responsibility towards other people) but ‘I must stop that from being forgotten if I can’ (ie responsibility towards subject).”

                                                                      –Philip Larkin

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Heroic Prose

“For why be discouraged, one of the thieves was saved, that is a generous percentage.”

“Why not piety and pity both, even down below? Why not mercy and Godliness together? A little mercy in the stress of sacrifice, a little mercy to rejoice against judgement.”

                                                             –Samuel Beckett

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Readers’ Advisory

“The mechanical devices that supposedly bring us together—television and the press, the telephone and the computer network—do so on a level and in a manner that are anything but nourishing to the spirit.” (Jacques Barzun)

“If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.” (Ernest Hemingway)

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I.M. Geoffrey HIll

“So it is required; so we bear witness…”

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Caveat Lector

“A work of art is not a set of ideas or an exercise of technique, or even a combination of both. But I am strongly disposed to believe that our contemporary writing would benefit by a genuine literary criticism that should deal expertly with ideas and art, not merely tell us whether the reviewer ‘let out a whoop’ for the book or threw it out the window.”

                                                                                     –Edmund Wilson

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“The truth is, reading is always more important than writing.”

                                                          –Roberto Bolaño

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“If today the ability to read is everyone’s portion, still only a few notice what a powerful talisman has thus been put into their hands. The child proud of his youthful knowledge of the alphabet first achieves for himself the reading of a verse or a saying, then the reading of a first little story, a fairy tale, and while those who have not been called seem to apply their reading ability to news reports or to the business sections of their newspapers, there are a few who remain constantly bewitched by the strange miracle of letters and words (which once, to be sure, were an enchantment and magic formula to everyone). From these few come the readers.”

                                                                    –Herman Hesse

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Ubi Sunt

Where are the readers?