Dan Chiasson Quotes

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  • I seem to thrive by destroying the last thing I did, in a kind of cartoon Nietzsche way. Emerson says in "Experience" something like "every ultimate fact soon becomes the next in a series." The self feels more real when you are destroying things you've made than when you are paying them homage. That's the good news about being self-destructive. The bad news, I feel I don't need to deliver.

    Real   Cartoon   Kind  
    Source: www.guernicamag.com
  • I treat myself as one of the sources. And, again, I think that’s accurate. One of the poets I read most frequently is myself. I really do. I read my own poems obsessively.

    Thinking   Poet  
    Source: www.guernicamag.com
  • If you are made for flight, intended for it, you had better find a pursuer, fast. Otherwise, all that fleeing is going nowhere.

    Fleeing   Flight   Made  
    "Titian Vs. Roadrunner" by Dan Chiasson, www.newyorker.com. March 29, 2010.
  • I do care about the consequences of being negative toward people who are powerful. But I'm more afraid of not being taken seriously as a critic - by editors, by readers.

    Powerful   Taken   People  
    Source: www.guernicamag.com
  • One problem with writing on the computer, as I do, is that the page is never really 'blank." It is backed by all this energy or potential energy...one can always check the New York Times, or look at real estate, or investigate some intriguing new person in one's life. The span and space for writing feels like a tunnel under these massive mountains of information.

    Real   Writing   Mountain  
    Source: www.guernicamag.com
  • The events in America now have the quality of things you would find out about long after the fact, and think: if only we had known. Well, we do know now. But what are we doing? Maybe a poet like Lowell brought America a little nearer to its boiling point.

    Thinking   Long   Quality  
    Source: www.guernicamag.com
  • I was never trying to be funny. Being funny feels to me like an alternate form of confessionality - that is, a way of dismantling the distance between writer and reader, a way of saying, "come in a little closer."

    Source: www.guernicamag.com
  • It's often said that elephants are the most human of animals - there's something comical about their acquiescence, and tragic also. The long elephant poem - I was trying to write from the point of view of someone who had been seduced by the logic of his punishers and who, in a kind of awful way, could reproduce the very logic that had put him in this predicament in the first place. And maybe, in some kind of minor way, that's something I feel about myself, or maybe about all selves, that they fall in love with the thing that oppresses them.

    Source: www.guernicamag.com
  • I feel most myself when I'm reading, but by that I don't mean that I'm most comfortable when I'm reading. I feel most fully a person who's torn between attention and inattention, between loving and hating, between hyper-responsiveness and total dullness. Reading is not a comfortable experience for me.

    Hate   Reading   Mean  
    Source: www.guernicamag.com
  • I write to get myself writing. That and read Wallace Stevens' "An Ordinary Evening in New Haven" for the umpteenth time. Certain authors for me, certain books, just by reading a phrase I feel I can write.

    Book   Reading   Writing  
    Source: www.guernicamag.com
  • The main thing in poetry criticism is that I have all these opinions, and I love having something to do with them. And I think it's important that people try not to be false. The ideal would be that everybody says everything in print. I don't know that it's that I'm not afraid.

    Source: www.guernicamag.com
  • The issue is that when you're a critic it's hard to tell the difference between the thrill of denouncing and telling the truth. Telling the truth to me feels more often like denouncing than like praising. There are many more concrete advantages in the world for people who praise than for those who denounce. So if you want to tell the truth, oftentimes you're going to err on the side of denouncing. That's just something I have to work on.

    Source: www.guernicamag.com
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