Quotes on Writing from Richard Poirier

Writing must not be simple. Yet most commentators on the literary, political, or cultural matters treated . . . give every impression that writing is somehow easy, that words can somehow be set into place and count on not to move.”


“Reading can be a civilizing process, not because the meanings it gathers may be good for us—they may in fact sometimes be quite pernicious—but because that most demanding form of writing and reading called literature often asks us to acknowledge, in the twists and turns of its language, the presence of ancestral kin who cared deeply about what words were doing to them and what they might do in return . . . Good reading and good writing are, first and last, lots of work.”



“We are always and everywhere trapped in language; it is our central means of self-expression, yet it is imprecise, maddeningly slippery, not equal to our thoughts or our feelings.”

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