"That life is really so tragic would least of all explain the origin of an art form--assuming that art is not merely imitation of the reality of nature but rather a metaphysical supplement of the reality of nature, placed beside it for its overcoming."
"Imagination could hardly do without metaphor, for imagination is, literally, the moving around in one's mind of images, and such images tend commonly to be metaphoric. Creative minds, as we know, are rich in images and metaphors, and this is true in science and art alike. The difference between scientist and artist has little to do with the ways of the creative imagination; everything to do with the manner of demonstration and verification of what has been seen or imagined."
"The art of writing books is not yet invented. But it is at the point of being invented. Fragments of this nature are literary seeds. There may be many an infertile grain among them: nevertheless, if only some come up!"
"The normal present connects the past and the future through limitation. Contiguity results, crystallization by means of solidification. There also exists, however, a spiritual present that identifies past and future through dissolution, and this mixture is the element, the atmosphere of the poet."
"The elite artist knows that his audience views his art in a context of certain predispositions; he anticipates success or failurewithin a definable framework of theory and achievement. His audience is acutely aware of him as an individual, knowing that his primary concern is the interpretation of his individual experience, and that he is personally with the content and technique of his product. The popular artist, however, works under no such set of rules, with a much less predictable audience, and for much less predictable rewards. His relationship with his public is neither direct nor critical, for between him and his audience stand editors, publishers, sponsors, directors, public relations men, wholesalers, exhibitors, merchants, and others who can and often do influence his product."
"Both the man of science and the man of art live always at the edge of mystery, surrounded by it. Both, as a measure of their creation, have always had to do with the harmonization of what is new with what is familiar, with the balance between novelty and synthesis, with the struggle to make partial order in total chaos.... This cannot be an easy life."
"Obviously, where art has it over life is in the matter of editing. Life can be seen to suffer from a drastic lack of editing. It stops too quick, or else it goes on too long. Worse, its pacing is erratic. Some chapters are little more than a few sentences in length, while others stretch into volumes. Life, for all its raw talent, has little sense of structure. It creates amazing textures, but it can't be counted on for snappy beginnings or good endings either. Indeed, in many cases no ending is provided at all. The kind of work that Maxwell Perkins did for Thomas Wolfe, or more recently, that Verna Fields did for Stephen Spielberg, doesn't get done in life. Even in a literary age like the nineteenth century it never occurred to anyone to posit God as Editor, useful as the metaphor might have been."
"These marbles, the works of the dreamers and idealists of old, live on, leading and pointing to good. They are the works of visionaries and dreamers, but they are realizations of soul, the representations of the ideal. They are grand, beautiful, and true, and they speak with a voice that echoes through the ages. Governments have changed; empires have fallen; nations have passed away; but these mute marbles remain--the oracles of time, the perfection of art."
"The ancients of the ideal description, instead of trying to turn their impracticable chimeras, as does the modern dreamer, into social and political prodigies, deposited them in great works of art, which still live while states and constitutions have perished, bequeathing to posterity not shameful defects but triumphant successes."
"It is almost as safe to assume that an artist of any dignity is against his country, i.e., against the environment in which God hath placed him, as it is to assume that his country is against the artist."