We have memorized America,
how it was born and who we have been and where.
In ceremonies and silence we say the words,
telling the stories, singing the old songs.
We like the places they take us. Mostly we do.
— Miller Williams, “Of History and Hope
The tide of history only moves in one direction.
We are in the undertow.
We are the bottom feeders.
— Nina Puro, “How to Live in Grozny,” published in Bodega
Isn’t the blue stream that runs past you a translation from the Russian?
Aren’t my eyes bigger than love?
Isn’t this history, and aren’t we a couple of ruins?
— Kenneth Koch, “In Love With You”
There is a history of naming hurricanes after saints. If you want yours
I recommend avoiding martyrs and consider only reference books
that have been burned. Your history of hurricanes is honestly disappointing: they keep
dying at sea. There’s a history of almost anything as long as you make a God to watch it
and also some zealots to take notes.
— Caroline Crew, “Dear F.M.,” published in Banango Street
theparisreview:


“Writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind, through the eye—is the great invention of the world. Great in the astonishing range of analysis and combination … great in enabling us to converse with the dead, the absent, and the unborn, at all distances of time and space.”

Abraham Lincoln’s favorite poetry, including William Knox’s “Mortality,” which he wrote about to his friend Andrew Johnston, “I would give all I am worth, and go in debt, to be able to write so fine a piece as I think that is.” (via Poets.org)

theparisreview:

“Writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind, through the eye—is the great invention of the world. Great in the astonishing range of analysis and combination … great in enabling us to converse with the dead, the absent, and the unborn, at all distances of time and space.”

Abraham Lincoln’s favorite poetry, including William Knox’s “Mortality,” which he wrote about to his friend Andrew Johnston, “I would give all I am worth, and go in debt, to be able to write so fine a piece as I think that is.” (via Poets.org)