Jorge Luis Borges’ Wisdom on Poetry

Jorge Luis Borges is one of my favorite authors. Here are quotes on the art of living and writing poetry. Also, please check out this South American blog Artevirgo with its post of “Arte Poetica de Jorge Luis Borges.”–JGR

The fact is that poetry is not the books in the library . . . Poetry is the encounter of the reader with the book, the discovery of the book.

— Lecture entitled “Poetry,” 1977

The aesthetic event is something as evident, as immediate, as indefinable as love, the taste of fruit, of water. We feel poetry as we feel the closeness of a woman, or as we feel a mountain or a bay. If we feel it immediately, why dilute it with other words, which no doubt will be weaker than our feelings?

— Lecture entitled “Poetry,” 1977

There are people who barely feel poetry, and they are generally dedicated to teaching it.

— Lecture entitled “Poetry,” 1977

A writer — and, I believe, generally all persons — must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely.

All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.

–From “Twenty Conversations with Borges, Including a Selection of Poems: Interviews by Roberto Alifano, 1981-1983.”

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