Shop Talk (a continuing series)

Virginia Woolf

"There is an ambiguity which is the mark of the highest poetry; we cannot know exactly what it means…The meaning is just on the far side of language. It is the meaning which in moments of astonishing excitement and stress we perceive in our minds without words."

Robert Louis Stevenson

“None can care for literature in itself who do not take a special pleasure in the sound of names; and there is no part of the world where nomenclature is so rich, poetical, humorous, and picturesque as the United States of America. All times, races, and languages have brought their contribution.”

Yannis Ritsos


He picks up in his hands things that don’t match—a stone,
a broken roof-tile, two burned matches,
the rusty nail from the wall opposite, 
the leaf that came in through the window, the drops 
dropping from the watered flower pots, that bit of straw 
the wind blew in your hair yesterday—he takes them 
and he builds, in his backyard, approximately a tree. 
Poetry is in this "approximately." Can you see it?

Gaston Bachelard

“Except for the delight that it affords every reader's ear, myrrh is not given to all of us.”

Michael Benedikt 

(re Gaston Bachelard)

“He writes unhurriedly. He turns things over. He wants us to close our eyes. He does not mind us dozing off.”

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