From this entertainment industry, may the gods of language protect us.
The self is an oral society in which the present is constantly running a dialogue with the past and the future inside of one skin.
I was very committed to the process of composing, working at poems, putting things together and taking them apart like some kind of experimental filmmaker.
I didn't think about whether I was writing poems. I was thinking. And the more I was thinking, the more there was I didn't understand.
An art machine is a system
whose parts when put in motion
act upon each other in such a way
as to cause you to see things differently
I was trying to find out what it was that everybody else understood without giving up my stubborn and hard-won lack of understanding.
I'm not sure what theory is, unless it's the pursuit of fundamental questions.
I reserve the right to tell shaggy dog stories or even common jokes as part of what I'm doing. I don't give a damn if half the audience walks out.
My rejection of the idea of entertainment in its current form is based on the audience that comes with it.
I've always had a strong feeling for the Statue of Liberty, because it became the statue of my personal liberty.
There are editing procedures for talks just as there are editing procedures in jazz improvisation.
When you grow up in a family of languages, you develop a kind of casual fluency, so that languages, though differently colored, all seem transparent to experience.
While I don't script and I don't use other performers, I think my taste for underlying precision gives me something in common with Allan and George Brecht.
The Sophists' paradoxical talk pieces and their public debates were entertainment in 5th century Greece. And in that world, Socrates was an entertainer.
The ancient Greek "oral poets" all had this anxiety about the deficiencies of their memories and always began poems by praying to the muse to help them remember.
I'm aware of my audience in a way, and I do try to engage with them while I'm trying to go about my business of thinking. I believe they help me by providing a focus.
I am quite unsatisfied by the distinctions between the oral and literate.
I wanted to be an inventor, whatever I thought that meant then. I guess I was thinking of Edison or maybe James Watt. Or maybe even Newton.
Stories are different every time you tell them - they allow so many possible narratives.
Children frequently sing meaningful phrases to themselves over and over again before they learn to make a distinction between singing and saying.
I can manage a prose format as long as I keep closer to Laurence Sterne than to Henry James.
I had no idea where these kids at a small private college in the San Fernando Valley were coming from, why they were coming to hear me, or what they needed to know.
I hardly remember how I started to write poetry. It's hard to imagine what I thought poetry could do.
I have spoken to expert audiences occasionally, but then no audience is expert over the whole range of things I want to explore.
My way of thinking is very particular and concrete. It doesn't follow a continuous path.
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