Paul Goodman

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  • Here we have the beautiful British compromise: a man can say anything, he mustn't do anything; a man can listen to anything, but he musn't be roused to do anything. By freedom of speech is meant freed...
    Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. literary author, critic. "Censorship and Pornography on the Stage."
  • There is such a thing as food and such a thing as poison. But the damage done by those who pass off poison as food is far less than that done by those who generation after generation convince people t...
    Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. author, poet, critic. "Ireland, Spring 1958," sct. 2, Five Years (1966).
  • ''Comedy deflates the sense precisely so that the underlying lubricity and malice may bubble to the surface.''
    Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. literary critic, author. repr. In Creator Spirit Come (1977). "Obsessed by Theatre," Nation (New York, Nov. 29, 1958).
  • ''What the devil to do with the sentence "Who the devil does he think he's fooling?" You can't write "Whom the devil—"''
    Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. author, poet, critic. "September to December 1958," sct. 2, Five Years (1966).
  • ''When the Devil quotes Scriptures, it's not, really, to deceive, but simply that the masses are so ignorant of theology that somebody has to teach them the elementary texts before he can seduce them.''
    Paul Goodman (1911-1972), U.S. author, poet, critic. "Spring and Summer 1956," sct. 6, Five Years (1966).
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Best Poem of Paul Goodman

Pagan Rites/Creator Spirit Come

11.Creator Spirit come
by whom
I'll say what is real
and so away I'll steal.

When my only son
fell down and died on Percy mountain
I began
to practice magic like a pagan.

Around the open grave we ate
the blueberries that he brought
from the cloud, and then we
buried his bag with his body.

Upon the covered grave
I laid the hawkweed that I love
that withered fast
where the mowers passed.

I brought also a tiny yellow
flower whose name I do not know
to share my ignorance
with my son. (But since

then I find in...

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