Annie Dillard


Annie Dillard Quotes

  • ''Cruelty is a mystery, and the waste of pain. But if we describe a word to compass these things, a world that is a long, brute game, then we bump against another mystery: the inrush of power and delight, the canary that sings on the skull.''
    Annie Dillard (b. 1945), U.S. essayist and autobiographer. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, ch. 1 (1974).
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  • ''No; we have been as usual asking the wrong question. It does not matter a hoot what the mockingbird on the chimney is singing.... The real and proper question is: Why is it beautiful?''
    Annie Dillard (b. 1945), U.S. author, poet. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, ch. 7 (1974).
  • ''The writer studies literature, not the world. ...He is careful of what he reads, for that is what he will write.''
    Annie Dillard (b. 1945), U.S. author. The Writing Life, ch. 5 (1989).
  • ''Write about winter in the summer. Describe Norway as Ibsen did, from a desk in Italy; describe Dublin as James Joyce did, from a desk in Paris. Willa Cather wrote her prairie novels in New York City; Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn in Hartford, Connecticut. Recently, scholars learned that Walt Whitman rarely left his room.''
    Annie Dillard (b. 1945), U.S. author. The Writing Life, ch. 5 (1989).
  • ''Your work is to keep cranking the flywheel that turns the gears that spin the belt in the engine of belief that keeps you and your desk in midair.''
    Annie Dillard (b. 1945), U.S. author. The Writing Life, ch. 1 (1989). On the nature of a writer's work.
  • ''People love pretty much the same things best. A writer looking for subject inquires not after what he loves best, but after what he alone loves at all.''
    Annie Dillard (b. 1945), U.S. author. The Writing Life, ch. 5 (1989).
  • ''I do not so much write a book as sit up with it, as with a dying friend.''
    Annie Dillard (b. 1945), U.S. author. The Writing Life, ch. 3 (1989).
  • ''Appealing workplaces are to be avoided. One wants a room with no view, so imagination can meet memory in the dark.''
    Annie Dillard (b. 1945), U.S. author. The Writing Life, ch. 2 (1989). On the kind of study a writer needs.
  • ''Aim for the chopping block. If you aim for the wood, you will have nothing. Aim past the wood, aim through the wood; aim for the chopping block.''
    Annie Dillard (b. 1945), U.S. author. The Writing Life, ch. 3 (1989).
  • ''How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living.''
    Annie Dillard (b. 1945), U.S. author. The Writing Life, ch. 2 (1989).

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Best Poem of Annie Dillard

Mayakovsky In New York: A Found Poem

New York: You take a train that rips through versts.
It feels as if the trains were running over your ears.

For many hours the train flies along the banks
of the Hudson about two feet from the water. At the stops,
passengers run out, buy up bunches of celery,
and run back in, chewing the stalks as they go.

Bridges leap over the train with increasing frequency.

At each stop an additional story grows
onto the roofs. Finally houses with squares
and dots of windows rise up. No matter how far
you throw back your head, there are no tops.

Time and ...

Read the full of Mayakovsky In New York: A Found Poem
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