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James Merrill Quotes

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James Merrill
March 3, 1926 - February 6, 1995
Nationality: American
Category: Poet
Subcategory: American Poet

At college I'd seen my dead frog's limbs twitch under some applied stimulus or other - seen, but hadn't believed. Didn't dream of thinking beyond or around what I saw.


The simplest science book is over my head.


And, as I have said, it's made me think twice about the imagination. If the spirits aren't external, how astonishing the mediums become! Victor Hugo said of his voices that they were like his own mental powers multiplied by five.


I'd like to think the scientists need us - but do they? Did Newton need Blake?


Before trying a novel I wrote a couple of plays.


Knowing some Greek helped defuse forbidding words - not that I counted much on using them. You'll find only trace elements of this language in the poem.


Arthur Young's Reflexive Universe - fascinating but too schematic to fit into my scheme. The most I could hope for was a sense of the vocabulary and some possible images.


He puts his right hand lightly on the cup, I put my left, leaving the right free to transcribe, and away we go. We get, oh, 500 to 600 words an hour. Better than gasoline.


In life, there are no perfect affections.


Strange about parents. We have such easy access to them and such daunting problems of communication.


But those two plays left me on fresh terms with language. I didn't always have to speak in my own voice.


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