Every autobiography is concerned with two characters, a Don Quixote, the Ego, and a Sancho Panza, the Self.
Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.
Choice of attention - to pay attention to this and ignore that - is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences, whatever they may be.
Murder is unique in that it abolishes the party it injures, so that society has to take the place of the victim and on his behalf demand atonement or grant forgiveness; it is the one crime in which society has a direct interest.
One cannot walk through an assembly factory and not feel that one is in Hell.
To save your world you asked this man to die; would this man, could he see you now, ask why?
Before people complain of the obscurity of modern poetry, they should first examine their consciences and ask themselves with how many people and on how many occasions they have genuinely and profoundly shared some experience with another.
All works of art are commissioned in the sense that no artist can create one by a simple act of will but must wait until what he believes to be a good idea for a work comes to him.
Of all possible subjects, travel is the most difficult for an artist, as it is the easiest for a journalist.
It's a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it.
'Healing,' Papa would tell me, 'is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.'
What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish.
The class distinctions proper to a democratic society are not those of rank or money, still less, as is apt to happen when these are abandoned, of race, but of age.
Music can be made anywhere, is invisible and does not smell.
A tremendous number of people in America work very hard at something that bores them. Even a rich man thinks he has to go down to the office everyday. Not because he likes it but because he can't think of anything else to do.
A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.
Now is the age of anxiety.
History is, strictly speaking, the study of questions; the study of answers belongs to anthropology and sociology.
The countenances of children, like those of animals, are masks, not faces, for they have not yet developed a significant profile of their own.
Murder is commoner among cooks than among members of any other profession.
Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.
Every American poet feels that the whole responsibility for contemporary poetry has fallen upon his shoulders, that he is a literary aristocracy of one.
Almost all of our relationships begin and most of them continue as forms of mutual exploitation, a mental or physical barter, to be terminated when one or both parties run out of goods.
No poet or novelist wishes he were the only one who ever lived, but most of them wish they were the only one alive, and quite a number fondly believe their wish has been granted.
We all have these places where shy humiliations gambol on sunny afternoons.
I'll love you, dear, I'll love you till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and the salmon sing in the street.
If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving be me.
All sins tend to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is damnation.