Language Quotes

My heart is in my mouth, and the sound of the poetry is the way in

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
Donald Hall and Obama

I read poems for the pleasure of the mouth. My heart is in my mouth, and the sound of the poetry is the way in. My poems often begin with a rhythm but without the words. A few words may come to you, and they may be …

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A truth can only be expressed and enveloped in words if it is one-sided

Sunday, January 31st, 2010
light and dark forest

Everything that is thought and expressed in words is one-sided, only half the truth; it all lacks totality, completeness, unity. When the Illustrious Buddha taught about the world, he had to divide it into Samsara and Nirvana, into illusion and…

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How can love’s spaciousness be conveyed in the narrow confines of syllable?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
lily

Love. What a small word we use for an idea so immense and powerful it has altered the flow of history, calmed monsters, kindled works of art, cheered the forlorn, turned tough guys to mush, consoled the enslaved, driven strong women man, glorified the…

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Language is fossil poetry

Sunday, March 29th, 2009
flowering tree

The poets made all the words, and therefore language is the archives of history, and, if we must say it, a sort of tomb of the muses. For though the origin of most of our words is forgotten, each word was at first a stroke of genius, and obtained currency because for the moment it symbolized the world to the first speaker and to the hearer. The etymologist…

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