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David Antin Quotes


A United States poet and critic.
(1932 - )

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A myth is the name of a terrible lie told by a smelly little brown person to a man in a white suit with a pair of binoculars.
 

Children frequently sing meaningful phrases to themselves over and over again before they learn to make a distinction between singing and saying.
 

Disney made a fortune out of inventing the businessman's idea of the imaginary as the contradictory of the businessman's idea of the real.
 

For several centuries what has passed for song in literary circles was any text that looked like the lyrics for a commonplace melodic setting.
 

From this entertainment industry, may the gods of language protect us.
 

I am quite unsatisfied by the distinctions between the oral and literate.
 

I can manage a prose format as long as I keep closer to Laurence Sterne than to Henry James.
 

I didn't think about whether I was writing poems. I was thinking. And the more I was thinking, the more there was I didn't understand.
 

I had no idea where these kids at a small private college in the San Fernando Valley were coming from, why they were coming to hear me, or what they needed to know.
 

I hardly remember how I started to write poetry. It's hard to imagine what I thought poetry could do.
 

I have spoken to expert audiences occasionally, but then no audience is expert over the whole range of things I want to explore.
 

I learned enough Hebrew to stagger through a meaningless ceremony that I scarcely remember.
 

I reserve the right to tell shaggy dog stories or even common jokes as part of what I'm doing. I don't give a damn if half the audience walks out.
 

I tended to emphasize the secular, the casual, the colloquial, the vernacular against the sacred.
 

I wanted to be an inventor, whatever I thought that meant then. I guess I was thinking of Edison or maybe James Watt. Or maybe even Newton.
 

I was trying to find out what it was that everybody else understood without giving up my stubborn and hard-won lack of understanding.
 

I was very committed to the process of composing, working at poems, putting things together and taking them apart like some kind of experimental filmmaker.
 

I'm aware of my audience in a way, and I do try to engage with them while I'm trying to go about my business of thinking. I believe they help me by providing a focus.
 

I'm not sure what theory is, unless it's the pursuit of fundamental questions.
 

I'm standing up thinking. Anybody who wants to listen is welcome. If not, I'm happy to see them go.
 


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