05 February 2016

A few quotes

Here, I’ll copy some passages at random from a handful of books. Why? No reason.


First, a paragraph from Finnegans Wake (Book 1, Chapter 7) by James Joyce:

One cannot even begin to post figure out a statuesquo ante as to how slow in reality the excommunicated Drum­condriac, nate Hamis, really was. Who can say how many pseudostylic shamiana, how few or how many of the most venerated public impostures, how very many piously forged palimpsests slipped in the first place by this morbid process from his pelagiarist pen?

Now here’s a section from Tender Buttons (from the third division, “Rooms”) by Gertrude Stein:

A can containing a curtain is a solid sentimental usage. The trouble in both eyes does not come from the same symmetrical carpet, it comes from there being no more disturbance than in little paper. This does show the teeth, it shows color.

This next passage appears near the beginning of “The New Spirit,” from Three Poems, by John Ashbery:

It is the law to think now. To think becomes the law, the dream of young and old alike moving together where the dark masses grow confused. We must drink the confusion, sample that other, concerted, dark effort that pushes not to the light, but toward a draft of dank, clammy air. We have broken through into the meaning of the tomb…

I’ll give just a couple more. Next is the section called “Via Negativa,” from Lots of Guns, by Anne Carson:

In ancient Chinese tradition (I have heard) there is a genre of poems written by ghosts. For ghost authors the gun is a line that separates this from that, left from right, too much from too little, and it is neither the one nor the other but possesses the blackness of both. A blackness in which I am suspended, you are suspended, and its water is sold for mirrors. Ghosts are distinguishable from regular people by their gliding walk, apparently on no feet.

Finally, here is a single sentence from the “Possessions” section of The Immaculate Conception, by André Breton and Paul Eluard (in Jon Graham’s translation):

Phoenixes come bringing me my food of glow worms and their wings which ceaselessly dip into the gold of the earth are the sea and the sky which we only used to see aglow on stormy days and which hide their thunderbolt plumes among their feathers when they fall asleep on the single foot of the air.


Would it be in bad taste for me to include, on the same screen as the company above, a quote from my own book? OK, here’s a paragraph from page 66 of the masterpiece La Man:

And Car-Car War Tar went out into the marketplace and began to laugh. He had not laughed very long when a tent full of rib monkeys began to laugh also. The statue, seeing the imminence of the danger, turned towards the monkeys and promised to contrive for them the manufacture of a gigantic Ass, if they would pledge their word that they should laugh no longer. Feeling endangered, the monkeys assured him that they would never laugh again, “We swear to God.” So Car-Car War Tar led the little monkeys into a barrel, and then brought the barrel to a place with a view of an Ass. The monkeys, seeing that the Ass was in view, immediately viewed the Ass, and could not stop laughing.

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