Arranging the bones of the story took time, but it was never painful. Everything I have—my intellect, my experience, my feelings have been used. If someone doesn’t like it, it is like saying they don’t like my gall bladder. I can’t do anything about it. —Arundhati Roy, interview in India 50, 1998. Which is more musical: a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school? —John Cage, Silence: Lectures andWritings (Wesleyan University Press, Anniversary edition, 2013) Many people will agree that a man may be a great artist, and yet have a bad influence. There is more ofMilton's influence in the badness of the bad verse of the eighteenth century than of anybody's else: he certainly did more harm than Dryden and Pope, and perhaps a good deal of the obloquy which has fallen on these two poets, especially the latter, because of their influence, ought to be transferred to Milton. But to put the matter simply in terms of “bad influence” is not necessarily to bring a serious charge: because a good deal of the responsibility, when we state the problem in these terms, may devolve on the eighteenth-century poets themselves for being such bad poets that they were incapable of being influenced except for ill. —T. S. Eliot, “The Poetry of John Milton,” 1936. I repeat that the remoteness ofMilton’s verse from ordinary speech, his invention of his own poetic language, seems to me one of the marks of his greatness. Other marks are his sense of structure, both in the general design of Paradise Lost and Samson, and in his syntax; and finally, and not least, his inerrancy, conscious or unconscious, in writing so as to make the best display of his talents, and the best concealment of his weaknesses. —T. S. Eliot, “The Poetry of John Milton,” 1960. Born and raised in what they used to call “The Radical Movement,” I always look back with amused pride on those old-timers who didn’t smoke or drink and lived long and troubled lives absolutely devoted to one unmarried spouse—to keep themselves fit and ready for the barricades. The World, The Flesh, and The Devil are far subtler personages than those innocent Jewish mechanics and Italian peasants thought, but they still go about in the night as a roaring lion seeking whom they may devour. It behooves the artist to recognize and avoid them, especially when they wave Page 12 - Nine Mile Magazine

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