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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kenneth Koch Quotes

"Also, I liked John Cage's music. I liked it for its craziness, the use of silence, the boldness-anything to get me away from writing about... I don't know what academic poets write about."
"As charming as old people are, one doesn't want to have a 75-year-old baby. One wants to make something new."
"As for political poetry, as it's usually defined, it seems there's very little good political poetry."
"As I look over my work, I mean every time I look over my early work, I see, yes, I could do that then and then I could do that and that... That may be the hardest thing for a writer, at least for a poet, to tell what the identity of his work is."
"As I understand the surrealist program, it was programmatically in favour of the unconscious as opposed to the conscious; programmatically in favour of chance, even programmatically in favour of a certain kind of violence and all that dream stuff."
"Certainly, it seems true enough that there's a good deal of irony in the world... I mean, if you live in a world full of politicians and advertising, there's obviously a lot of deception."
"I also have travelled in Africa, so there are about seven or eight stories about Africa. I've also been to China, so there are five or six stories about China, and some about Mexico. I was a little surprised after I'd completed the book to see how many took place in other countries."
"I certainly have the feeling that I'm the same person even though I've changed a great deal."
"I certainly think it's worth making an effort to write about certain important things, as I made an effort to write about the war."
"I discovered modern poetry I think quite late, when I was 17, through an anthology, a Louis Untermeyer anthology. Of course, I was crazy about modern poetry as soon as I discovered it."
"I got married, other people went off. We had sort of another public-we were our entire readership for many years, and we were very excited by each other."
"I love painting and music, of course. I don't know nearly as much about them as I know about poetry. I've certainly been influenced by fiction. I was overwhelmed by War and Peace when I read it, and I didn't read it until I was in my late 20s."
"I mean, there are excesses all over the place. People are always saying what are the different schools of American poetry."
"I never thought of myself as a New York poet or as an American poet."
"I saw a way that I could write fiction about my own experience and things that I've done and imagined. I was very interested to be writing these stories because I found that, like a certain kind of magnet, writing prose picked up details that my poetry had never been able to pick up."
"I simply was ignoring the fact that The Waste Land indeed made it seem to many poets that one had to be depressed-not that The Waste Land is a bad poem, it's a wonderful poem-that one had to feel despair, that one had to think that the modern world was terrible."
"I think my poetry was very influenced-it seems almost dumb to say it-but it was very influenced by Shakespeare. Very early on I read his plays... and, I don't know, I started speaking in blank verse at a rather early age."
"I took a course at Harvard with Delmore Schwartz, a writing course, and there were about 30 of us... I don't really see vast movements full of wonderful poets all over the place."
"I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. My family was not nationally known as being a literary family, though my mother and my mother's side of the family in general were interested in literature."
"I was excited by what my painter friends were doing, and they seemed to be interested in our poetry too, and that was a wonderful little, fizzy sort of world."
"I was influenced by surrealist poetry and painting as were thousands of other people, and it seems to me to have become a part of the way I write, but it's not."
"I wonder if I ever thought of an ideal reader... I guess when I was in my 20s and in New York and maybe even in my early 30s, I would write for my wife Janice... mainly for my poet friends and my wife, who was very smart about poetry."
"I'm a writer who likes to be influenced."
"I've had trouble with criticism, I guess. It's hard to know what role criticism plays in either encouraging poets or in getting other people to read them."
"I've written fiction before... I had tried to write stories, almost true stories before, but I never had found a way to do it."
"It seems everything is so full of possibilities one can hardly take it all in."
"It takes a long time to publish a book."
"It's a well known thing that ordinary perceptions can have a strange aspect when one is travelling."
"It's enormously cheering to get a good review by someone who seems to understand your work."
"It's not that I was indifferent ot the horrors of war, because that's what inspired the poem to a large extent, but I couldn't write about them."
"Maybe there are three or four really good poets in a generation."
"Of course, I like Byron enormously; I'm crazy about Don Juan. And of course Keats and Shelley and I suppose everyone that everyone likes."
"Once I start writing about something, it goes off rather fast, and sometimes details which might be interesting such as what the room looked like or what somebody said that was not exactly on the same subject tend to get lost."
"Picasso said once when being interviewed that one should not be one's own connoisseur."
"Politics is there the way men and women are there, the way the Atlantic Ocean is there. Sometimes I've written about politics specifically, I mean about politics as it's understood on television and in newspapers."
"Some of the French surrealists at the beginning of the war had come over to New York and they brought out this magazine. It was a big, glossy magazine full of surrealist things."
"Some people who write about poetry seem to have had trouble with my poetry because it is sometimes comic. I don't think the nature of my poetry is satirical or even ironic, I think it's essentially lyrical, but again I don't know if it's my position to say what my poetry is like."
"The subject matter of the stories on the surface... there seem to be a number of stories about travel."
"There was a certain amount of humour in all our work... Maybe you can almost characterise the poetry of the New York School as having as one of its main subjects the fullness and richness of life and the richness of possibility and excitement and happiness."
"When you finish a poem, it clicks shut like the top of a jewel box, but prose is endless. I haven't experienced an awful lot of clicking shut!"

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