"You hold an absence
at your center,
as if it were a life."
"When I wake up just before dawn and hear the throbbing voices of birds as they echo against the silence, I am overpowered by yearning. When I ride in the dark on stark roads through dry, bald hills, I ache with desperate longing. I don’t know what I am longing for, maybe for some place of my own within these images, some place where I fit, instead of being the one human being still awake, the only thing moving across the hills in the arid darkness. Maybe that ache is loneliness. I haven’t found a name for the feeling yet, nor do I know exactly what awakes in me. But instinct warns me that it is too potent for me, that my soul is on the verge of cracking when I feel it that way. I cannot handle the sheer power of those wild emotions by myself. I have to find some way to share them. That is why I write. It’s instinctive. I just have to—because it is awake like lava in my blood, and sustains me."
— Rachel Corrie, Let Me Stand Alone
"She did not wish to remember; it troubled her when people tried to disturb her loneliness; she wished to be alone. She wished for nothing else in the world."
— Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out (via flowerville)
"How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me."
— W.H. Auden, from “The More Loving One”
"My feet have felt the sands
Of many nations,
I have drunk the water
Of many springs,
I am old,
Older than the Pyramids,
I am older than the race
That oppresses me,
I will live on…
I will outlive oppression,
I will outlive oppressors."
— John Henrik Clarke, “Determination” (via black-poetry)
"It is sometimes so bitterly cold in the winter that one says, `The cold is too awful for me to care whether summer is coming or not; the harm outdoes the good.’ But with or without our approval, the severe weather does come to an end eventually and one fine morning the wind changes and there is the thaw. When I compare the state of the weather to our state of mind and our circumstances, subject to change and fluctuation like the weather, then I still have some hope that things may get better."
— Vincent van Gogh, from a letter to Theo van Gogh in August 1879
"I return to the story
of the woman caught in the war
& in labour, her thighs tied
together by the enemy
so she could not give birth.
Ancestress: the burning witch,
her mouth covered by leather
to strangle words.
A word after a word
after a word is power."
— Margaret Atwood, from “Spelling”
"What is the light
at the end of the day, deep, reddish-gold, bathing the walls,
the corridors, light that is no longer light, no longer clarifies,
illuminates, antique, freed from the body of
the air that carries it. What is it
for the space of time
where it is useless, merely
— Jorie Graham, from “Salmon”
"I still feel that poetry is not medicine — it’s an X-ray. It helps you see the wound and understand it. We all feel alienated because of this continuous violence in the world. We feel alone, but we feel also together. So we resort to poetry as a possibility for survival."
"I tell my students, it’s not difficult to identify with somebody like yourself, somebody next door who looks like you. What’s more difficult is to identify with someone you don’t see, who’s very far away, who’s a different color, who eats a different kind of food. When you begin to do that, then literature is really performing its wonders."
— Chinua Achebe (via sinidentidades)
"A thick darkness, unlit by any star, still glazed the windows. Every lamp in my room burned, to keep the dark outside, yet it seemed still to encroach on me, to be present beside me but as if masked by my lights, the night like a permeable substance that could seep into my skin."
— Angela Carter, from “The Bloody Chamber”
"The day broke around me like a cool dream.
Sea; sand; a sky that melts into the sea—a landscape of misty pastels with a look about it of being continuously on the point of melting."
— Angela Carter, from “The Bloody Chamber"
"In the middle of the night,
I wake without breath
and write my name over and over again
to keep myself from disappearing."
— Gillian Sze, from “Located”
"They love the way she gathers her hair,
her fingers minding her hairline,
combing from the forehead,
down to the temples,
behind the ears.
Yes: she is ordinary, like most people;
but how lucky they are to witness
her miss the last tendril,
the one that sticks to her neck,
curled like a crescent moon.
— Gillian Sze, “Bun”
"When the pain blazed in his chest,
I want to believe he saw
only light as he melted into it.
You know where your father’s
life is now? my friend asked
and gave me without a pause
these words, It’s in you."
— Margaret Gibson, from “Elegy For My Father”