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John Ciardi Quotes


An American poet, translator, and etymologist.
(1916 - 1986)

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(Conviction) is possible only in a world more primitive than ours can be perceived to be. A man can achieve a simply gnomic conviction only by ignoring the radical describers of his environment, or by hating them, as convinced men have hated, say, Darwin and Freud, as agents of some devil.
 

A dollar saved is a quarter earned.
 

A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea.
 

A neighborhood is a residential area that is changing for the worse.
 

A savage is simply a human organism that has not received enough news from the human race.
[Civilization]
 

A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students.
[Education]
 

Boys are the cash of war. Whoever said: we're not free spenders- doesn't know our like.
[War]
 

Every game ever invented by mankind, is a way of making things hard for the fun of it!
 

Every parent is at some time the father of the unreturned prodigal, with nothing to do but keep his house open to hope.
[Parenthood]
 

Gentility is what is left over from rich ancestors after the money is gone.
[Heredity]
 

If a man means his writing seriously, he must mean to write well. But how can he write well until he learns to see what he has written badly. His progress toward good writing and his recognition of bad writing are bound to unfold at something like the same rate.
[Writers And Writing]
 

Intelligence recognizes what has happened. Genius recognizes what will happen.
 

It is easy enough to praise men for the courage of their convictions. I wish I could teach the sad young of this mealy generation the courage of their confusions.
 

Love is the word used to label the sexual excitement of the young, the habituation of the middle-aged, and the mutual dependence of the old.
[Love]
 

Modern art is what happens when painters stop looking at girls and persuade themselves they have a better idea.
[Art]
 

Nothing goes further toward a man's liberation than the act of surviving his need for character.
 

Poetry lies its way to the truth.
 

The classroom should be an entrance into the world, not an escape from it.
 

The Constitution gives every American the inalienable right to make a damn fool of himself.
 

The day will happen whether or not you get up.
 


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