‘The landscape is both lush and barren. Profuse vegetation everywhere (palm trees, rubber plants, a hundred varieties of wildflowers), but the volcanic earth is strewn with boulders. Land crabs plod through his garden (he describes them as small armored tanks, prehistoric creatures who look as if they belong on the moon) … ‘
Invisible, Paul Auster
‘What have you done with all your words & gaudy language hats?’
There are those who grow
gardens in their heads
paths lead from their hair
to sunny and white cities
it’s easy for them to write
they close their eyes
immediately schools of images
stream down from their foreheads
is a piece of board
my sole instrument
is a wooden stick
I strike the board
it answers me
from “A Knocker,” Zbiginew Herbert 
Oh sweet world soaked, like bread,
in sweet milk for the terrible toothless God.
Yehuda Amichai 
‘The poles of the earth have wandered. The equator has apparently moved.’
The first sentence of Annals of the Former World, John McPhee.
‘One morning I knew, finally, that lists of examples wouldn’t do any longer, but examples were all that I had. In that country they speak prose. And not only do they speak it, they live it. They didn’t ban poetry — they still encourage it, officially — but they did get rid of the insides of things, the interiors that poetry once, in another era before the fall, referred to. In that sense, they are like us.’
The Soul Thief, Charles Baxter
‘An accident isn’t necessarily ever over.’
The last line of “Scratching the Head,” Diane Williams .
 Translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz and Peter Dale Scott. Richard Hoffman, who used to teach me, read it as part of remarks about the role of politics & morality in art he made at a panel at the Massachussetts Poetry Festival.
 “Seven Laments for the War Dead,” or “for those Fallen in War.” Translated from the Hebrew by the author & Ted Hughes. The complete poem here.
 First read this quoted in “The Sentence is a Lonely Place,” a talk Gary Lutz delivered at Columbia in 2008 that was published in The Believer a year later.