A Bit of Shop Talk

Anne Lamott, from Bird by Bird

“The first poem I wrote that got any attention was about John Glenn. The first stanza went, ‘Colonel John Glenn went up to heaven/in his spaceship, Friendship Seven.’ There were many, many verses…The teacher read the John Glenn poem to my second-grade class. It was a great moment; the other children looked at me as though I had learned to drive.”

T.S. Eliot, from #2 of Four Quartets

“For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”

Franz Kafka, from “The Hunger Artist”

“…one day the pampered hunger artist saw himself abandoned by the crowd of pleasure seekers, who preferred to stream to other attractions.”

William Wordsworth, from “Prelude”

“A Poet only to myself, to men

Thomas Mann, from “Tonio Kroger”

“He himself felt that there was something extravagant and really improper about writing poetry, and in a certain sense he could not help agreeing with all those who considered it a very odd occupation. Nevertheless this did not prevent him from continuing to write . . .” 

W. Somerset Maugham, from The Summing Up 

“The ordinary is the writer's richer field. Its unexpectedness, its singularity, its infinite variety afford unending material."

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