“Lord knows what he does that I don’t know and Im to be slooching around down in the kitchen to get his lordship his breakfast while hes rolled up like a mummy will I indeed did you ever see me running id just like to see myself at it show them attention and they treat you like dirt I don’t care what anybody says itd be much better for the world to be governed by the women in it you wouldnt see women going and killing one another and slaughtering when do you ever see women rolling around drunk like they do or gambling every penny they have and losing it on horses yes because a woman whatever she does she knows where to stop sure they wouldnt be in the world at all only for us they don’t know what it is to be a woman and a mother how could they where would they all of them be if they hadnt had a mother to look after them” – James Joyce, Ulysses

“Every life is many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves. The playwright who wrote the folio of this world and wrote it badly (He gave us light first and the sun two days later), the lord of things as they are whom the most Roman of catholics call dio boia, hangman god, is doubtless all in all in all of us, ostler and butcher, and would be bawd and cuckold too but that in the economy of heaven, foretold by Hamlet, there are no more marriages, glorified man, and androgynous angel, being a wife unto himself.” – James Joyce, Ulysses

“Fatherhood, in the sense of conscious begetting, is unknown to man. It is a mystical estate, an apostolic succession, from only begetter to only begotten. On that mystery and not on the madonna which the cunning Italian intellect flung to the mob of Europe the church is founded and founded irremovably because founded, like the world, macro- and microcosm, upon the void. Upon incertitude, upon unlikelihood. Amor matris, subjective and objective genitive, may be the only true thing in life. Paternity may be a legal fiction. Who is the father of any son that any son should love him or he any son?” – James Joyce, Ulysses

“Swans on the river, moving with calm dignity, pretending they are doing something else, while all the time, like the noisy, desperately fluttering seagulls, they too search for food. They eat discreetly with beaks below water, so as not to be seen in the undignified act of feeding, which humans parade in public places without feeling any shame.” – Nanos Valaoritis, “Problems of an Empire”

Ulysses is an amazing tour de force when one considers the success which has been in the main achieved with such a difficult objective as Joyce set for himself. . . . [It] is not an easy book to read. It is brilliant and dull, intelligible and obscure by turns. In many places it seems to me to be disgusting, but although it contains . . . many words usually considered dirty, I have not found anything that I consider to be dirt for dirt’s sake. Each word of the book contributes like a bit of mosaic to the detail of the picture which Joyce is seeking to construct for his readers. If one does not wish to associate with such folk as Joyce describes, that is one’s own choice. In order to avoid indirect contact with them one may not wish to read Ulysses; that is quite understandable. But when such a real artist in words, as Joyce undoubtedly is, seeks to draw a true picture of the lower middle class in a European city, ought it to be impossible for the American public legally to see that picture?” – John M. Woolsey, United States District Judge, December 6, 1933

“There are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehended; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, the third is useless.” – Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, The Prince (trans. W. K. Marriott)

“Never let any Government imagine that it can choose perfectly safe courses; rather let it expect to have to take very doubtful ones, because it is found in ordinary affairs that one never seeks to avoid one trouble without running into another; but prudence consists in knowing how to distinguish the character of troubles, and for choice to take the lesser evil.” – Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, The Prince (trans. W. K. Marriott)

“How one lives is so far distant from how one ought to live, that he who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation; for a man who wishes to act entirely up to his professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him among so much that is evil.” – Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, The Prince (trans. W. K. Marriott)

“This is old London. . . . This district is a unique hub, where major affairs are conducted and astronomical bills of sale for London’s wealthiest merchants are signed. Every single one of its buildings is a frenzy of action and work. No one steps in except to work and to earn, and no tongue wags except for profit and utility. No sun rises, and no lamp is lit except in pursuit of a living. Hearts are moved only to earn and to acquire. So you see each and every person with their eyes and mouths gaping, wide open, to devour the world and everything in it.” – Ahmad Faris Shidyaq, “Where Every Mouth Is Open to Eat the World” (trans. Rana Issa and Suneela Mubati)

“It is no crime that a person’s taste changes according to what he experiences and is exposed to. The youth for example are comforted by exaggerated prattle and obscenity. While the aged prefer speech that is free of such blemishes. Therefore we say that we cannot clearly define the limits of taste, for it is built on habit and familiarity, and those two differ. But one can approximate it when one distinguishes good habits from bad ones through a sound nature and a clear intuition.” – Ahmad Faris Shidyaq, “On Taste” (trans. Rana Issa and Suneela Mubati)

“In prison, the guards would see me late at night writing poetry. I was the only guy staying awake in the dorms. The other convicts would tell me, ‘Dude, don’t turn around, we’re gonna kill this guy tonight. If you hear some shit going down, Jimmy, just don’t turn around.’ So I’d hear some guy grunting, and then he’d be dead. They beat him for a gambling debt or something but don’t turn around. I’ll always regret that. Because in America today, the government and corporations keep telling us citizens, don’t turn around, and they go on killing the poor, the prisoners, the immigrants, don’t turn around, and they keep killing, and we never turn around and we should, we should.” – Jimmy Santiago Baca (interviewed by Alan C. Fox in Rattle 62)

“It’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard in your life, to advertise a writing workshop and only get writers and poets. What’s the point in having a writing workshop? You want people to come who are not poets, who are not writers, but have kept their dream alive to be one. You know and I know you can’t honestly shape and forge a writer once that writer has already been shaped and forged. What you’re really looking for is the raw experience at the table. That’s where the great works come from. It’s where raw experience meets language . . . . That’s the kind of writing you want. There’s no critique; there’s no momentum, no character, no plot. There’s just the story, man. ‘I gotta get this thing down.’ That’s where the human journey expands and opens its wings.” – Jimmy Santiago Baca (interviewed by Alan C. Fox in Rattle 62)

“My only answer to anger is to work. Work it out, not for an on-the-mat yoga solution that professes we can heal from the curse of having so much money, entitlement, privilege—this is bullshit. Practice giving it away, heal yourself that way, be lightening the load you carry. Too much money creates all kinds of shit. Yoga-birds, Jesus.” – Jimmy Santiago Baca (interviewed by Alan C. Fox in Rattle 62) (emphasis in original)

“Unlasting, what could be forever? Or only what it seemed? Rock corrodes, rivers freeze, fruit rots; stabbed, blood of black and white bleeds alike; trained parrots tell more truth than most, and who is lonelier: the hawk or the worm? Every flowering heart shrivels dry and pitted as the herb from which it bloomed, and while the old man grows spinsterish, his wife assumes a mustache.” – Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms