All in Quotes

Ian McEwan

“I believe the novella is the perfect form of prose fiction. It is the beautiful daughter of a rambling, bloated ill-shaven giant (but a giant who's a genius on his best days).”

—Ian McEwan

Min Jin lee

“I like making things. I enjoy putting words and images on a blank space. There should be joy in the writing itself because parts of it are so challenging and lonesome. I take great pleasure in reading, researching, and interviewing. I enjoy forming my sentences and revising them to make them clean.”

—Min Jin Lee

Sharon Olds

“Poems come from ordinary experiences and objects, I think. Out of memory - a dress I lent my daughter on her way back to college; a newspaper photograph of war; a breast self-exam; the tooth fairy; Calvinist parents who beat up their children; a gesture of love; seeing oneself naked over age 50 in a set of bright hotel bathroom mirrors.”

—Sharon Olds

Louise Glück

“I am attracted to ellipsis, to the unsaid, to suggestion, to eloquent, deliberate silence. The unsaid, for me, exerts great power: often I wish an entire poem could be made in this vocabulary. It is analogous to the unseen.”

—Louise Glück

Matthew Zapruder

“It is absolutely vital to preserve a space where the mind, by means of poetic thinking, can move in a free, even anarchic, way. It must do so, in order to find deep truths that would not be otherwise available, ones that we desperately need. Anyone who writes poetry knows what I'm talking about, because they've had the experience of thinking this way.[

—Matthew Zapruder

Anthony Kennedy

“The remedy for speech that is false is speech that is true. This is the ordinary course in a free society. The response to the unreasoned is the rational; to the uninformed, the enlightened; to the straight-out lie, the simple truth.”

— ANTHONY KENNEDY

Justice Anthony Kennedy announced Wednesday he's retiring at the end of July, giving Donald Trump another chance to fundamentally reshape the highest court in the land.

Does the quote above speak to you Mr. President?

Lucille Clifton

“I write from my knowledge not my lack, from my strength not my weakness. I am not interested if anyone knows whether or not I am familiar with big words, I am interested in trying to render big ideas in a simple way. I am interested in being understood not admired.”

— LUCILLE CLIFTON

Donald Hall

“IT IS SENSIBLE of me to be aware that I will die one of these days. I will not pass away. Every day millions of people pass away—in obituaries, death notices, cards of consolation, e-mails to the corpse’s friends—but people don’t die. Sometimes they rest in peace, quit this world, go the way of all flesh, depart, give up the ghost, breathe a last breath, join their dear ones in heaven, meet their Maker, ascend to a better place, succumb surrounded by family, return to the Lord, go home, cross over, or leave this world. Whatever the fatuous phrase, death usually happens peacefully (asleep) or after a courageous struggle (cancer). Sometimes women lose their husbands. (Where the hell did I put him?) Some expressions are less common in print: push up the daisies, kick the bucket, croak, buy the farm, cash out. All euphemisms conceal how we gasp and choke turning blue.”

— DONALD HALL, ESSAYS AFTER EIGHTY

Pat Conroy

“Good writing is the hardest form of thinking. It involves the agony of turning profoundly difficult thoughts into lucid form, then forcing them into the tight-fitting uniform of language, making them visible and clear. If the writing is good, then the result seems effortless and inevitable. But when you want to say something life-changing or ineffable in a single sentence, you face both the limitations of the sentence itself and the extent of your own talent.”

— PAT CONROY, MY READING LIFE

Vikram Seth

“But I too hate long books: the better, the worse. If they’re bad they merely make me pant with the effort of holding them up for a few minutes. But if they’re good, I turn into a social moron for days, refusing to go out of my room, scowling and growling at interruptions, ignoring weddings and funerals, and making enemies out of friends. I still bear the scars of Middlemarch.”

— VIKRAM SETH, A SUITABLE BOY

— VIKRAM SETH, A SUITABLE BOY

Ralph Ellison

“Words are your business boy. Not just the word. Words are everything. The key to the rock, the answer to the question.”

— RALPH ELLISON, JUNETEENTH: A NOVEL

Mark Twain

“I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”

— MARK TWAIN