Poetry, a seemingly simple creation from a single man, can live forever
It’s intriguing that poetry, that most evanescent of arts, lasts the longest of all cultural artifacts, while architecture, which one would expect to persist as long as the stones of the hills, tends to disappear relatively quickly from the face of the earth.
Thousands of poems of ancient China still exist, can be read today and, what is more astonishing, they can be understood. […] Little remains today, however, of the architecture of ancient China (or any other ancient culture, for that matter, with the exception of enigmatic Egypt). What does remain are those edifices that have been brought low, literally: burial mounds and underground chambers.
Entire cities with their impregnable palaces have disappeared into dust and mist while a simple poem about the moon continues to shine.
[...] the act of reading is a secret, and sometimes fertile, ceremony of communion. Anyone who reads something that is really worth the trouble does not read with impunity. Reading one of those books that breathe when you put them to your ear does not leave you untouched: it changes you, even if only a little bit, it integrates something into you, something that you did not know or had not imagined, and it invites you to seek, to ask questions. And more still: sometimes it can even help you to discover the true meaning of words betrayed by the dictionary of our times. What more could a critical consciousness want?
One piece of information followed by a denial, that's two pieces of information.
The basic project of art is always to make the world whole and comprehensible, to restore it to us in all its glory and its occasional nastiness, not through argument but through feeling, and then to close the gap between you and everything that is not you, and in this way pass from feeling to meaning. It’s not something that committees can do. It’s not a task achieved by groups or by movements. It’s done by individuals, each person mediating in some way between a sense of history and an experience of the world.
Dear Mr. —
It comes down to the meaning of ‘needless.’ Often a word can be removed without destroying the structure of a sentence, but that does not necessarily mean that the word is needless or that the sentence has gained by its removal.
If you were to put a narrow construction on the word ‘needless,’ you would have to remove tens of thousands of words from Shakespeare, who seldom said anything in six words that could be said in twenty. Writing is not an exercise in excision, it’s a journey into sound. How about [Macbeth’s] ‘tomorrow and ...