Life involves maintaining oneself between contradictions that can't be solved by analysis.— William Empson
The most delighting William Empson quotes that will activate your inner potential
The machinations of ambiguity are among the very roots of poetry.
Poets, on the face of it, have either got to be easier or to write their own notes; readers have either got to take more trouble over reading or cease to regard notes as pretentious and a sign of bad poetry
Poetry contains nothing haphazard.
Law makes long spokes of the short stakes of men.
Twixt devil and deep sea, man hacks his caves;
Birth, death; one, many; what is true, and seems; Earth's vast hot iron, cold space's empty waves.
The difficult part of good temper consists in forbearance, and accommodation to the ill-humors of others.
Proust has listed a great many reasons why it is impossible to be happy, but, in the course of being happy, one finds it difficult to remember them.
I think many people (like myself) prefer to read poetry mixed with prose;
it gives you more to go by; the conventions of poetry have been getting far off from normal life, so that to have a prose bridge makes reading poetry seem more natural.
The heart of standing is you cannot fly.
Buddhists and Christians contrive to agree about death Making death their ideal basis for different ideals. The Communists however disapprove of death Except when practical.
Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.
It is not the effort nor the failure tires. The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.
You don't want madhouse and the whole thing there.
Waiting for the end, boys, waiting for the end.
What is there to be or do? What's become of me or you? Are we kind or are we true? Sitting two and two, boys, waiting for the end.
I'm afraid I take ... this rather clinical view of love: it's saving you from madness. I'm not so enthusiastic as other poets have been.
To produce pure proletarian art the artist must be at one with the worker;
this is impossible, not for political reasons, but because the artist never is at one with any public.
Liberal hopefulness Regards death as a mere border to an improving picture.
This world is good enough for me, if only I can be good enough for it.
The central function of imaginative literature is to make you realize that other people act on moral convictions different from your own.
It seems unpleasantly refined to put things off till someone knows.
Shall I make it clear, boys, for all to apprehend, Those that will not hear, boys, waiting for the end, Knowing it is near, boys, trying to pretend, Sitting in cold fear, boys, waiting for the end?
All those large dreams by which men long live well Are magic-lanterned on the smoke of hell.