In [The New Poetry] I had attacked the British poets' nervous preference for gentility above all else, and their avoidance of the uncomfortable, destructive truths both of the inner life and of the present time.

— Al Alvarez

The most terrific Al Alvarez quotes that are proven to give you inner joy

Twentieth-century art may start with nothing, but it flourishes by virtue of its belief in itself, in the possibility of control over what seems essentially uncontrollable, in the coherence of the inchoate, and in its ability to create its own values.

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Despite the hundreds of attempts, police terror and the concentration camps have proved to be more or less impossible subjects for the artist; since what happened in them was beyond the imagination, it was therefore also beyond art and all those human values on which art is traditionally based.

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The real resistance now is to an art which forces its audience to recognize and accept imaginatively, in their nerve ends, not the facts of life but the facts of death and violence: absurd, random, gratuitous, unjustified, and inescapably part of the society we have created.

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The point is that it looks like gambling because the language of the game is money.

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Each sporadic burst of work, each minor success and disappointment, each moment of calm and relaxation, seemed merely a temporary halt on my steady descent through layer after layer of depression, like an elevator stopping for a moment on the way down to the basement.

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I think one of the interesting things about poker is that once you let your ego in, you're done for.

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To put yourself into a situation where a mistake cannot necessarily be recouped, where the life you lose may be your own, clears the head wonderfully. It puts domestic problems back into proportion and adds an element of seriousness to your drab, routine life. Perhaps this is one reason why climbing has become increasingly hard as society has become increasingly, disproportionately, coddling.

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I'm good at reading people.

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I could think of worse ways of going than at the poker table.

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The better the artist, the more vulnerable he seems to be.

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Divorce transforms habit into drama.

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No man kills himself unless there is something wrong with his life.

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About Al Alvarez

Quotes 27 sayings
Nationality English
Profession Poet
Birthday October 16

Despair, in short, seeks its own environment as surely as water finds its own level.

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Yes, I think poker really isn't gambling.

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But in a tournament, you can be said in for all your money at any point so you can't make any mistakes so you have to, it's all about where you're sitting at the table.

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I mean being a writer is like being a psychoanalyst, but you don't get any patients.

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I mean to say, this is the book and I really loathe it and I can't imagine what a nice Jewish boy like me ever, how I ever got into this dreadful trade.

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I hate writing.

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The fact that we write about it doesn't mean we play better than ordinary players at all.

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Now, if, as I think, writing should be, it's a kind of risky trade.

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Mass democracy, mass morality and the mass media thrive independently of the individual, who joins them only at the cost of at least a partial perversion of his instincts and insights. He pays for his social ease with what used to be called his soul - his discriminations, his uniqueness, his psychic energy, his self.

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It is easy to smile at an insult and pretend it's funny when the person insulting you is hosing you with money.

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When neither high purpose nor the categorical imperatives of religion will do, the only argument against suicide is life itself. You pause and attend: the heart beats in your chest; outside, the trees are thick with new leaves, a swallow dips over them, the light moves, people are going about their business.

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When you make a bet, you're saying something.

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I absolutely don't believe in anything. Full stop. Including luck.

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Hold'em is a game of calculated aggression.

If your cards are good enough for you to call a bet, they are good enough to raise with.

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