"The poet is someone who perceives that language, his language, the language he inherits…is in danger of becoming a dead language again, and he therefore has the responsibility, a very grave responsibility, of waking it up, of resuscitating it…Each poem is a resurrection, but one that engages us to a vulnerable body, one that may be forgotten again."
– Jacques Derrida, Sovereignties in Question: The Poetics of Paul Celan, trans. Thomas Dutoit and Philippe Romanski
"Things are not all so comprehensible and expressible as one would mostly have us believe; most events are inexpressible, taking place in a realm which no word has ever entered, and more inexpressible than all else are works of art, mysterious existences, the life of which, while ours passes away, endures."
– Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet: February 17, 1903, trans. M. D. Herter Norton
"Blame it or praise it, there is no denying the wild horse in us. To gallop intemperately; fall on the sand tired out; to feel the earth spin; to have — positively — a rush of friendship for stones and grasses, as if humanity were over, and as for men and women, let them go hang — there is no getting over the fact that this desire seizes us pretty often."
"A rough sound was polished until it became a smoother sound, which was polished until it became music. Then the music was polished until it became the memory of a night in Venice when tears of the sea fell from the Bridge of Sighs, which in turn was polished until it ceased to be and in its place stood the empty home of a heart in trouble. Then suddenly there was sun and the music came back and traffic was moving and off in the distance, at the edge of the city, a long line of clouds appeared, and there was thunder, which, however menacing, would become music, and the memory of what happened after Venice would begin, and what happened after the home of the troubled heart broke in two would also begin."
– Mark Strand, “The Everyday Enchantment of Music”