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William Carlos Williams

Top 10 Best Quotes

“We sit and talk, quietly, with long lapses of silence and I am aware of the stream that has no language, coursing beneath the quiet heaven of your eyes which has no speech”

“You lethargic, waiting upon me, waiting for the fire and I attendant upon you, shaken by your beauty Shaken by your beauty Shaken.”

“I would say poetry is language charged with emotion. It's words, rhythmically organized . . . A poem is a complete little universe. It exists separately. Any poem that has any worth expresses the whole life of the poet. It gives a view of what the poet is.”

“The past above, the future below and the present pouring down: the roar, the roar of the present, a speech-- is, of necessity, my sole concern.”

“It is dangerous to leave written that which is badly written. A chance word, upon paper, may destroy the world. Watch carefully and erase, while the power is still yours, I say to myself, for all that is put down, once it escapes, may rot its way into a thousand minds, the corn become a black smut, and all libraries, of necessity, be burned to the ground as a consequence. Only one answer: write carelessly so that nothing that is not green will survive.”

“A man is indeed a city, and for the poet there are no ideas but in things.”

“Yet there is no return: rolling up out of chaos, a nine months’ wonder, the city the man, an identity—it can’t be otherwise—an interpenetration, both ways. Rolling up! Obverse, reverse; the drunk the sober; the illustrious the gross; one. In ignorance a certain knowledge and knowledge, undispersed, its own undoing.”

“I asked him, What do you do? He smiled patiently, The typical American question. In Europe they would ask, What are you doing? Or, What are you doing now? What do I do? I listen, to the water falling. (No sound of it here but with the wind!) This is my entire occupation.”

“The province of the poem is the world. When the sun rises, it rises in the poem and when it sets darkness comes down and the poem is dark . and lamps are lit, cats prowl and men read, read–or mumble and stare at that which their small lights distinguish or obscure or their hands search out in the dark. The poem moves them or it does not move them. Faitoute, his ears ringing . no sound . no great city, as he seems to read–”

“Say it! No ideas but in things. Mr. Paterson has gone away to rest and write. Inside the bus one sees his thoughts sitting and standing. His thoughts alight and scatter– Who are these people (how complex the mathematic) among whom I see myself in the regularly ordered plateglass of his thoughts, glimmering before shoes and bicycles?”

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Book Keywords:

ideas, man, love, silence, language, poem, writing, poetry

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