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James Laughlin - Quotes

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I think that concrete poetry seems to have, as far as I can see, come to a kind of a dead end. It doesn't seem to be going any further than it went in its high period of about five or six years ago. ---->>>

We do very little re-writing in the office. We often take on people who show great promise and who we hope will develop into somebody important and someone good. ---->>>

We see them when they come to New York. They stay at my wife's apartment. We have quite a correspondence with them at all times. They play a very important role, the authors in the firm, because so much of the material we publish is suggested by them. ---->>>

I do read everything that we publish. We usually have to have two or three votes for a book before we take it on. So in that sense I suppose it is an orchestra. ---->>>

I think that is where poetry reading becomes such an individual thing. I mean I have friend who like poets who just don't say anything to me at all, I mean they seem to me rather ordinary and pedestrian. ---->>>

I think we will always have the impulse towards visual poetry with us, and I wouldn't agree with Bly that it's a bad thing. It depends on the ability of the individual poet to do it well, and to make a shape which is interesting enough to hold your attention. ---->>>

Of course a poem is a two-way street. No poem is any good if it doesn't suggest to the reader things from his own mind and recollection that he will read into it, and will add to what the poet has suggested. But I do think poetry readings are very important. ---->>>

With me it's the whole thing, it's the conceit, the idea, what the poem is saying. And it goes on just as long as is necessary to say what needs to be said. ---->>>

I think one ages and one dates. I tend to have a good deal of difficulty in liking some of the new poets. ---->>>

Every now and then, I strike something that just goes click, you know, in my head. As Gertrude Stein used to say, it rings the bell, and I feel, this is great. ---->>>

I try to write in plain brown blocks of American speech but occasionally set in an ancient word or a strange word just to startle the reader a little bit and to break up the monotony of the plain American cadence. ---->>>

It's all well and good to say that Germans were all responsible for the concentration camps, but I don't think they were. I think that was the work of a small group of fiends. ---->>>

I think there's no excuse for the American poetry reader not knowing a good deal about what is going on in the rest of the world. ---->>>

Concrete poets continue to turn out beautiful things, but to me they're more visual than oral, and they almost really belong on the wall rather than in a book. I haven't the least idea of where poetry is going. ---->>>

I think most people read and re-read the things that they have liked. That's certainly true in my case. I re-read Pound a great deal, I re-read Williams, I re-read Thomas, I re-read the people whom I cam to love when I was at what you might call a formative stage. ---->>>

I think there is a great difference, in that when the poet is reading you get the whole personality of the person, especially if he's a good reader. Whereas a person just sitting gets what he puts into it. ---->>>

Often something comes in from which you can see that the person is good, the book may not be perfect as it is, and the person doesn't want to do a re-write. That's something we do almost nothing of. ---->>>

The German experience, as you can see, did move me very much. Seeing that terrible destruction and seeing the miserable state of the people, how they had been beaten down by the war through no fault of their own probably. ---->>>

Then, of course, there are those sad occasions when a poet or a writer has not grown, and one has to let them go because they're just not making headway. But we have a very clear personal relationship with the authors. ---->>>

There are numerous cases of that, where one of our writers discovers another writer whom he likes, and we then take that book on. So it's a very close relationship. We can do that because we're so small. ---->>>

We don't attempt to have any theme for a number of the anthology, or to have any particular sequence. We just put in things that we like, and then we try to alternate the prose and the poetry. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: 10-30, 1914
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, U.S.
Die: 11-12, 1997
Occupation: Poet
Website:

James Laughlin (October 30, 1914 – November 12, 1997) was an American poet and literary book publisher who founded New Directions Publishing.(wikipedia)