If you explore beneath shyness or party chit chat, you can sometimes turn a dull exchange into an intriguing one. I've found this to be particularly true in the case of professors or intellectuals, who are full of fascinating information, but need encouragement before they'll divulge it.
Boxing has become America's tragic theater.
In love there are things bodies and words.
When you're 50 you start thinking about things you haven't thought about before. I used to think getting old was about vanity-but actually it's about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial.
Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions.
Boxing is a celebration of the lost religion of masculinity all the more trenchant for its being lost.
The third man in the ring makes boxing possible.
If food is poetry, is not poetry also food?
When poets write about food it is usually celebratory. Food as the thing-in-itself, but also the thoughtful preparation of meals, the serving of meals, meals communally shared: a sense of the sacred in the profane.
The worst cynicism: a belief in luck
When people say there is too much violence in [my books], what they are saying is there is too much reality in life.
The great menace to the life of an industry is industrial self-complacency.
If you are a writer you locate yourself behind a wall of silence and no matter what you are doing, driving a car or walking or doing housework you can still be writing, because you have that space.
I never change, I simply become more myself.
Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.
Death is just the last scene of the last act.
I suggest to my students that they write under a pseudonym for a week. That allows young men to write as women, and women as men. It allows them a lot of freedom they don't have ordinarily.
For what are the words with which to summarize a lifetime, so much crowded confused happiness terminated by such stark slow-motion pain?
A mouth of no distinction but well practiced, before I entered my teens, in irony. For what is irony but the repository of hurt? And what is hurt but the repository of hope?
Keep a light, hopeful heart. But expect the worst.
A daydreamer is prepared for most things.
The challenge is to resist circumstances. Any idiot can be happy in a happy place, but moral courage is required to be happy in a hellhole.
It isn't the subjects we write about but the seriousness and subtlety of our expression that determines the worth of or effort.
. . . there is a wish in the heart of mankind to be distracted and confused. Truth is but one attraction, and not always the most powerful.
The worst thing: to give yourself away in exchange for not enough love.