Someone emailed me recently, simply writing, "so what are your top two favorite poetry quotes?" Last year, responding to a tag in a meme, I posted a little series of my ten favorite, but apparently never did numbers one and two. So here goes:
(To read the others, click on the following: #8-10, #5-7, #3-4.)
2.) Artists love what is raw and degraded as much as what is seemingly fine. They are awed by creation and cannot let a single aspect of sensuous experience go unadmired.
- James Agee
1.) There's this little old Jewish guy with a bald head sitting at a piano and he's being interviewed. And I suddenly realize I'm looking at Igor Stravinski, the great Russian-American composer. The interviewer is saying to him, "So Mr. Stravinski, what is the greatest moment for you? Is it when you finally write the symphony?"
And he says..."No, No, No..."
He sounds like a New York cab driver.
"Is it when you've heard it played the first time by a symphony?" And he says...."No, no, no..."
"What about opening night when they premier it and herald it as being one of the greatest works of the 20th century?"
And he says...."No, no no..."
"So what IS the greatest moment for you?"
He was sitting at the piano with music on the thing there and he says: "I'm sitting here at the piano and for three, four hours I'm trying to find a note. I can't find the note and I'm going 'bum, bum'....'bum,bum'....'bum, bum' for three hours. Finally after three hours I find the note. That's the moment. There is nothing like it. That's everything"
So I started crying because I realized, I had just done The Graduate with Mike Nichols who had helped and had the patience for Anne Bancroftand Katherine Ross and myself and everyone else and the NEED to find that note above all else. It was to find the note day to day. That's what kept me going, you know like even the years before that film when I was lucky to be doing a play in front of ten people -- that moment when you find the note.
- Dustin Hoffman
The meme, I think, started on Nick Bruno's blog, They Shoot Poets - Don't They, and asked to “Give us at least 10 quotations pertaining to poetry - from 10 different writers &/or poets which best coincide with your philosophy vis a vis ars poetica. They can be posthumous or otherwise. The order is not important - unless it is to you.”