Tag Archives: Brendan Kennelly quotes


“Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.”
– Brendan Kennelly, ‘Begin’
“Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings.
Not all things are blest, but the
seeds of all things are blest.
The blessing is in the seed.”
– Muriel Rukeyser, ‘Elegy in Joy’
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”
– T S Eliot, ‘Little Gidding”
“The birds they sing at break of day, ‘Start again …’
I hear them say.”
– Leonard Cohen
“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”

– Henry Miller
” … Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
– Mary Oliver, ‘Messenger’
“As long as you can start, you are all right. The juice will come.”
– Ernest Hemingway
“An empty canvas, apparently really empty, that says nothing and is without significance – almost dull, in fact – in reality, is crammed with thousands of undertone tensions and full of expectancy. Slightly apprehensive lest it should be outraged.”
– Wassily Kandinsky
“I rarely begin a work with any clear or predetermined idea as to how the work should look. Even when I do, I seldom find the completed work matching up with the original projection.”
– Noyes Capehart Long
“For a sailor to sail around the world, the thought is just, sometimes, too much. Thus, one simply goes from port to port in the same direction.”
– Hal Moore
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
– Ray Bradbury
“Go and dare to create your own adventures.”
– Elena Lindquist
“I do think New Year’s resolutions can’t technically be expected to begin on New Year’s Day, don’t you? Since, because it’s an extension of New Year’s Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year’s Day isn’t a good idea as you can’t eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.”
– Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary
Happy New Year!

Some thoughts for Wednesday

“The world is filled with stories impressed on people’s hearts. We have only to speak out to set the stories free. Like smoke from burning candles, stories rise up. In the vast collective unconscious, stories amass; they bump against each other, calling out to us.”
– Sandra Benítez
“A voice can use a thousand words or half a dozen. The story is what we carry with us, at the deepest level.”
– Alice Hoffman
“If you remember listening to stories as a child, you will remember the pleasure of hearing a story many times, and you will remember that while you were listening you became three people. There is an incredible fusion: you become the storyteller, the protagonist, and you remember yourself listening to the story …”
– John Berger
“Make art, make friends. Be in awe of books as objects, as intelligences.”
– Valerie Cornell
“Literature offers us all, writers and readers, the best method of discovering and retelling the changing story of ourselves. The story is both journey and surprise. And as everyone knows, even the past is altered, depending on, not the facts, but the interpretation.”
– Jeanette Winterson
“Poetry is a form of magic, because it tries to change the way we perceive the world, that is to say that it aims to make the texture of our perception malleable. It does so by surreptitious and devious means, by seeding and planting things in the memory and imagination of the reader with such force and insidious originality that they cannot be deprogrammed. What you remember changes how you think.”
– Don Paterson
“There are so many rules about how to write poetry that there might as well not be any at all. Poetry moves words around. It rearranges them from their conventions. It re-sorts them. It uses more than one language. It repeats. It pursues a conventional language and divergent typography. It often experiments. It can be ephemeral and occasional. It often uses pleasing patterns as it does all this. And all that helps me think.”
– Juliana Spahr
“There is phenomenal beauty in the language developed for a particular field – whether it’s architecture, dentistry, tree pruning, or accounting … immersion in the language and concerns of any profession can unveil rich sounds and provide a new lens through which the world can be seen.”
– Elizabeth Bradfield
“Exploration results in discovery. It is for the sake of that discovery about the always fresh, shocking, extraordinary nature of the world and our consciousness of it, that we read and make poetry.”
– George Szirtes
“We have to help keep even the writers who do get published alive, very, very often. This is very important if you have read something that means something to you, send a postcard to that writer! You have no idea how essential that is. And write thanking the publishers for the book.”
– Tillie Olsen
“Like stand-up comedians, most poets hunger for approval. When I was in the first grade, I read Goldilocks and the Three Bears aloud to our class. Miss Howe, our teacher, gave me a big hug after my reading. That hug was decisive. It is still in the air as I write this, and I return it with thanks to those who love language and reading and who encourage writing and its writers.”
– Marilyn Kallet
“I want a poetry which is made of compression, passion, precision, symmetry, & disruption.”
– Lucie Brock-Broido
“Listen to the soundtracks of Giorgio Moroder. Visit the Rubin Museum of Art. Open to any page of The Mariner’s Dictionary. Sit in churches that watch over cities. Stand in trains that run under rivers … Read Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary and feel encouraged by the fact that a genius worried about bad reviews. Read Pliny the Elder’s Natural History and learn than after lightning strikes, the immediate area of the wound is colder than the rest of the body.”
– Leni Zumas
“Punctuation marks beg for the sanity of not going forward, of resting, of secrecy, surprise, exaggeration, saying something inside of saying something, elevating words or lowering them. Mostly they are instructors in silence.”
– Brenda Hillman
“Poetry is tribal, not material. As such it lights the fire and keeps watch over the flame. Believe me, this is where you get warm again. And naked. This is where you can remember the good times along with the worst; where you are not allowed to forget the worst, else you cannot be healed. This is where your memory must be exacting …”
– C D Wright
“Certainly I have made discoveries when I struggle to become other people, both historical figures and common men and women. Unless Protestants become Catholic, and Catholics become Protestant, unless kings become servants, unless men become women – unless we switch empathetically, until we give up all the chains of egoism and release ourselves imaginatively into something else, I don’t think we’ll discover our full potential as people.”
– Brendan Kennelly
“The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives. It is within this light that we form those ideas by which we pursue our magic and make it realized. This is poetry as illumination, for it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are – until the poem – nameless and formless, about to be birthed, but already felt.”
– Audre Lorde
“A studio, like a poem, is an intimacy and a freedom you can look out from, into each part of your life and a little beyond.”
– Jane Hirshfield
“I think I am probably in love with silence, that other world. And that I write, in some way, to negotiate seriously with it.”
– Jorie Graham