You pray to the gods? Let me grant your prayers.

It is the honourable characteristic of Poetry that its materials are to be found in every subject which can interest the human mind.

The evidence of this fact is to be sought, not in the writings of Critics, but in those of Poets themselves.

Criticism is a genre of literature or it does not exist.

To imagine is to misinterpret, which makes all poems antithetical to their precursors.

Who are your parents? Do you know?

The strength of any poem is the poems that it has managed to exclude.

The death of Patroclus, Iliad XVI:

Even as he spoke, the shadow of death came over him. His soul fled from his limbs and went down to the house of Hades, bemoaning its fate, leaving manhood and youth.

Every poem is a misinterpretation of a parent poem.

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long.

New poems originate mainly from old poems.

Ivan Goncharov was essentially deranged in the last thirty years of his life.

And insisted that every word Turganev published had been stolen from him.

All unknowing you are the scourge of your own flesh and blood, the dead below the earth and the living here above, and the double lash of your mother and your father’s curse will whip you from this land one day, their footfall treading you down in terror, darkness shrouding your eyes that now can see the light!

The primary struggle of the young poet is against the old masters.

The father is perceived as an obstacle.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

The death of Hector, Iliad XXII:

Even as he spoke, the shadow of death came over him. His soul fled from his limbs and went down to the house of Hades, bemoaning its fate, leaving manhood and youth.

The ephebe must clear imaginative space for himself through a creative misreading of the strong poets of the past.

The old God, the Father, took second place; Christ, the Son, stood in His stead, just as in those dark times every son had longed to do.

Only strong poets can overcome this anxiety of influence.

Picasso: He was my one and only master. Cézanne! It was the same with all of us—he was like our father.

Lesser lights become derivative flatterers and never achieve poetic immortality for themselves.

No poem, not even Shakespeare or Milton or Chaucer, is ever strong enough to totally exclude every crucial precursor text or poem.

To you, your father should be as a god;
One that compos’d your beauties, yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax
By him imprinted, and within his power
To leave the figure or disfigure it.

Mom and pop, they will fuck you up.

Under the wide and starry sky,

Dig the grave and let me lie.

Glad did I live and gladly die,

And I laid me down with a will.

Poetic misreading or misprison proper.

A corrective movement in his own poem. A swerve.

A breaking device, a movement towards discontinuity with the precursor.

But they were fucked up in their turn.



How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is
To have a thankless child.

The return of the dead.

As though the later poet himself had written the precursor’s characteristic work.

To imagine after a poet is to learn his own metaphors for his acts of reading.

A poem is not an overcoming of anxiety, but is that anxiety.

This be the verse you grave for me:

Here he lies where he longed to be.

Man hands on misery to man.

There are no interpretations but only misinterpretations.