Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse while all the others were making ships.

— Charles Simic

The most exciting Charles Simic quotes to get the best of your day

He who cannot howl will not find his pack.

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The world is beautiful but not sayable. That's why we need art.

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The secret wish of poetry is to stop time.

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Insomnia is an all-night travel agency with posters advertising faraway places.

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The plain truth is we are going to die.

Here I am, a teeny spec surrounded by boundless space and time, arguing with the whole of creation, shaking my fist, sputtering, growing even eloquent at times, and then-poof! I am gone. Swept off once and for all. I think that is very, very funny.

21

When people ask me how to find happiness in life I tell them, First learn how to cook.

20

Poetry: three mismatched shoes at the entrance of a dark alley.

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If I believe in anything, it is in the dark night of the soul.

Awe is my religion, and mystery is its church.

18

Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them.

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One writes because one has been touched by the yearning for and the despair of ever touching the Other.

17

The truth is dark under your eyelids.

13

Poems are other people's snapshots in which we see our own lives.

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About Charles Simic

Quotes 46 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Poet
Birthday October 16

For Emily Dickinson every philosophical idea was a potential lover.

Metaphysics is the realm of eternal seduction of the spirit by ideas.

11

The religion of the short poem, in every age and in every literature, has a single commandment: Less is always more. The short poem rejects preamble and summary. It's about all and everything, the metaphysics of a few words surrounded by much silence. …The short poem is a match flaring up in a dark universe.

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Making art in America is about saving one's soul.

10

I'm not a stickler for truth. To me, lying in poetry is much more fun. I'm against lying in life, in principle, in any other activity except poetry.

10

Only brooms Know the devil Still exists, That the snow grows whiter After a crow has flown over it

9

I was already dozing off in the shade, dreaming that the rustling trees were my many selves explaining themselves all at the same time so that I could not make out a single word. My life was a beautiful mystery on the verge of understanding, always on the verge! Think of it!

8

Poetry is an orphan of silence.

5

Wanted: a needle swift enough to sew this poem into a blanket.

5

Found objects, chance creations, ready-mades (mass-produced items promoted into art objects, such as Duchamp's "Fountain"-urinal as sculpture) abolish the separation between art and life. The commonplace is miraculous if rightly seen.

4

The ambition of much of today's literary theory seems to be to find ways to read literature without imagination.

2

If the sky falls they shall have clouds for supper.

2

Only poetry can measure the distance between ourselves and the Other.

0

I slept little, read a lot, and fell in love frequently.

0

I do believe that a poem needs to remind the reader of his or her own humanity, of what they are, of what they're capable of. Awaken them, in a sense, to the fact that there's a world in front of their eyes, that they have a body, they're going to die, the sky is beautiful, it's fun to be in a grassy field when the sun is shining—those kinds of things.

0

Here is something we can all count on.

Sooner or later our tribe always comes to ask us to agree to murder.

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There’s no preparation for poetry.

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The stone is a mirror which works poorly.

Nothing in it but dimness. Your dimness or its dimness, who's to say? In the hush your heart sounds like a black cricket.

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A poem is an invitation to a voyage. As in life, we travel to see fresh sights.

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We name one thing and then another. That’s how time enters poetry. Space, on the other hand, comes into being through the attention we pay to each word. The more intense our attention, the more space, and there’s a lot of space inside words.

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There are people who live inside their heads and their intellects.

It's something one is born with and stuck with. It's not something you make a decision about.

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When you play chess alone it's always your move.

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A poem is an instant of lucidity in which the entire organism participates.

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Silence is the only language god speaks.

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Roberto Calasso's survey of the renewed interest in myth demonstrates how decisive the gods' influence was on modern literature. Calasso is not only immensely learned; he is one of the most original thinkers and writers we have today.

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In their effort to divorce language and experience, deconstructionist critics remind me of middle-class parents who do not allow their children to play in the street.

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The highest levels of consciousness are wordless.

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The stars know everything, So we try to read their minds.

As distant as they are, We choose to whisper in their presence.

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To submit to chance is to reveal the self and its obsessions.

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The poem I want to write is impossible. A stone that floats.

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A 'truth' detached and purified of pleasures of ordinary life is not worth a damn in my view. Every grand theory and noble sentiment ought to be first tested in the kitchen-and then in bed, of course.

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Words make love on the page like flies in the summer heat and the poet is only the bemused spectator.

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I left parts of myself everywhere, The way absent-minded people leave Gloves and umbrellas Whose colors are sad from dispensing so much bad luck

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There are knives that glitter like altars In a dark church Where they bring the cripple and the imbecile To be healed. There's a woden block where bones are broken, Scraped clean--a river dried to its bed

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