Gerald Stern quotes

  • Bruce Smith is a tender master of music, and beautiful lines, and complex thoughts, and fascinating wild personal and cultural references.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Beautiful #Lines #Masters

  • I will look at the footprints going in and out of the water and dream up a small blue good to talk to.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Dream #Blue #Water

  • Maybe being an artist is a kind of detachment. You're in the cave, you're isolated, you're apart from everything and it's there you can find out what you believe in, or what is - what is the nature of being, as you see it.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Believe #Artist #Caves

  • I feel that my job, as an artist, is to disturb the peace. And to disturb it intellectually, linguistically, politically and literally.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Jobs #Artist #Feels

  • Humor is not funny. Humor is something else. Funny is a joke, sometimes silly. Comedy is deep and connected to tragedy; comedy could be deeper than tragedy, in my view.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Silly #Views #Tragedy

  • Sometimes a person thinks he's attached to one thing and he's really attached to something else.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Thinking #Sometimes #Persons

  • I've been trying to come to terms with what I am and what I do and what I believe in. And I see that I'm not happy with - well, it's almost as if being a poet is not enough for me. It's too late for me to do more now. I did what I could in a small way. I did it as theater, too, to be honest.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Believe #Trying #Too Late

  • All of a sudden I understand why I like Aliki Barnstones poems so much. They remind me of the one she has studied most - shall we call her her master - Emily Dickinson. Not in the forms, not, as such, in the music, and not in the references; but in that weird intimacy, that eerie closeness, that absolute confession of soul.... In Barnstone, too, the two worlds are intensely present, and the voice moves back and forth between them. She has the rare art of distance and closeness. It gives her her fine music, her wisdom, her form. She is a fine poet.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Art #Distance #Moving

  • Political means so many things. We are political willy-nilly. Political poetry is an easy invitation to disaster. But then so is love poetry. But we are a little more patient with bad love poetry.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Mean #Political #Littles

  • The act of writing itself isn't outrageous. And the institution subtly and insidiously works on you in such a way that though you seem to have freedom you become a servant. Your main issue is to get promoted to the next thing. Or get invited to a picnic. Or get tenure. Or get laid.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Writing #Issues #Picnics

  • There are hundreds of prisons - sexual, political, cultural. But being a prisoner also gives you impetus.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Giving #Political #Prison

  • If the Buddhist's job is to be detached, I think that the artist's job is to be both detached and attached.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Buddhist #Jobs #Artist

  • Oppressed cultures often envy those which are not, or oppressed individuals do, and sometimes those which - and who - are not envy those which - who - are.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Envy #Culture #Sometimes

  • If you don't have a bed, or a dresser or a wall, or a book or a toy you are oppressed. An African American in a white world. A Jew in a Christian world. A gypsy. A Native American. A Chinese American. Let's say, you were born deprived.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Christian #Wall #Book

  • For the Christian mystics, detachment meant to leave attachment so that God could enter you and take over completely and you could climb the ladder to their heaven. Kind of crazy, but what the hell?
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Christian #Crazy #Attachment

  • The artist looks for a subject. You know, a lot of new poets don't seem to have a subject. I don't totally understand that.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Artist #Looks #Poet

  • I have left out what I don't remember or don't know. Temperament, fear, shyness, obedience, kindness.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Kindness #Remember #Shyness

  • You could be attached to merely a description of a plant or a flower. Or a narrative of an event. Or rage at injustice. Isaiah and the other Hebrew prophets, in their rage, were being altogether attached - not at all detached, although as I think of the word "detachment," I also think of a sheet of paper, loose from its notebook, fluttering around somewhere in the wind trying to find its home again.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Notebook #Flower #Home

  • The cave is a dark, shadowy place. It's a place that's very close and yet distant at the same time, and it's a place of revelation and isolation. Your form, your body, your writing is your confinement.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Writing #Dark #Caves

  • I've changed over my writing life. If I can generalize, I would say that the more recent poems - believe it or not - are more pointedly political; although, if the earlier poems were more existential, they were still political; though, in their own way, had a complicated presence.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Believe #Writing #Political

  • I've been active in a minor way compared to professional activists. I was a labor leader. I led two labor strikes. I've manipulated boards. I've led marches. I've done many things.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Two #Leader #Boards

  • I've spent hundreds of hours working over words, and part of me, a large part of me, has a desire to do something else.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Desire #Hours

  • In America it's a particular problem. The artist, particularly the poet, is just unacknowledged; if I can use that dumb word. Maybe it has always been that way. Maybe the only way he or she can be acknowledged is to be connected with some movement, be it religious or political.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Religious #Artist #America

  • Men aren't called pricks, but women are called cunts.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Men

  • It's a kind of liberation to break free in language, if you can break free, but it's also a confinement, because form confines you - whatever the form.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Language #Kind #Break

  • Attachment has to do with suffering, so it's really close to Buddhism, because Buddhism wants to relieve you from suffering; you're supposed to escape from suffering.
    -- Gerald Stern

    #Buddhism #Attachment #Suffering