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Carol Ann Duffy

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There'll be what you might call a moment of inspiration a way of seeing or feeling or remembering, an instance or a person that's made a large impression. Like the sand and the oyster, it's a creative irritant. In each poem, I'm trying to reveal a truth, so it can't have a fictional beginning
--
Interviewed in The Guardian, December 4, 2005.

 
Carol Ann Duffy

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The feeling of commiseration is the beginning of humanity; the feeling of shame and dislike is the beginning of righteousness; the feeling of deference and compliance is the beginning of propriety; and the feeling of right or wrong is the beginning of wisdom.
Men have these Four Beginnings just as they have their four limbs. Having these Four Beginnings, but saying that they cannot develop them is to destroy themselves.

 
Mencius
 

You cannot find truth through anybody else. How can you? Surely, truth is not something static; it has no fixed abode; it is not an end, a goal. On the contrary, it is living, dynamic, alert, alive. How can it be an end? If truth is a fixed point, it is no longer truth; it is then a mere opinion. Sir, truth is the unknown, and a mind that is seeking truth will never find it. For mind is made up of the known; it is the result of the past, the outcome of time which you can observe for yourself. Mind is the instrument of the known; hence it cannot find the unknown; it can only move from the known to the known. When the mind seeks truth, the truth it has read about in books, that "truth" is self-projected, for then the mind is merely in pursuit of the known, a more satisfactory known than the previous one. When the mind seeks truth, it is seeking its own self-projection, not truth. After all, an ideal is self-projected; it is fictitious, unreal. What is real is what is, not the opposite. But a mind that is seeking reality, seeking God, is seeking the known. When you think of God, your God is the projection of your own thought, the result of social influences. You can think only of the known; you cannot think of the unknown, you cannot concentrate on truth. The moment you think of the unknown, it is merely the self-projected known. So, God or truth cannot be thought about. If you think about it, it is not truth. Truth cannot be sought; it comes to you. You can go after only what is known. When the mind is not tortured by the known, by the effects of the known, then only can truth reveal itself. Truth is in every leaf, every tear; it is to be known from moment to moment. No one can lead you to truth; and if anyone leads you, it can only be to the known.

 
Jiddu Krishnamurti
 

When I met Wittgenstein, I saw that Schlick's warnings were fully justified. But his behavior was not caused by any arrogance. In general, he was of a sympathetic temperament and very kind; but he was hypersensitive and easily irritated. Whatever he said was always interesting and stimulating and the way in which he expressed it was often fascinating. His point of view and his attitude toward people and problems, even theoretical problems, were much more similar to those of a creative artist than to those of a scientist; one might almost say, similar to those of a religious prophet or a seer. When he started to formulate his view on some specific problem, we often felt the internal struggle that occurred in him at that very moment, a struggle by which he tried to penetrate from darkness to light under an intense and painful strain, which was even visible on his most expressive face. When finally, sometimes after a prolonged arduous effort, his answers came forth, his statement stood before us like a newly created piece of art or a divine revelation. Not that he asserted his views dogmatically ... But the impression he made on us was as if insight came to him as through divine inspiration, so that we could not help feeling that any sober rational comment of analysis of it would be a profanation.

 
Ludwig Wittgenstein
 

Criticism, whatever may be its pretensions, never does more than to define the impression which is made upon it at a certain moment by a work wherein the writer himself noted the impression of the world which he received at a certain hour.

 
James Branch Cabell
 

A poem does invite, it does require. What does it invite? A poem invites you to feel. More than that: it invites you to respond. And better than that: a poem invites a total response.
This response is total, but it is reached through the emotions. A fine poem will seize your imagination intellectually that is, when you reach it, you will reach it intellectually too but the way is through emotion, through what we call feeling.

 
Muriel Rukeyser
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