Measured Extravagance

07 June 2003 - 8:39 a.m.

Stephen Dunn:

"I think everyone should have the freedom to ruin his own life, that it's not my job to close off the possibilities. Let anyone who wishes keep at it until the work and the world instruct him one way or another."


" I once thought I could live a life that would hold up to scrutiny. A life of admirable consistency. Life, itself, confounded that. But I do think that in our poems and in our stories we can offer those momentary stays against confusion. . .Versions of a life, not a life. Yes, if we do them well enough they may well indeed constitute a life, especially after we're gone."


"It's so hard to tell the truth about a lived life! You can be sure this very moment that I'm telling you less than half the story."

"Zaelic," commenting on an entry by Languagehat on Yiddish words for Christmas:

On Christmas yiddish speaking Jews traditionally played cards - since the shops were all closed, it was about the only thing left to do. Some Hasidim, notably the Szatmar, do not study talmud on Christmas (under the belief that Christ was a renegade rabbi who would steal the accrued mitzvahs on his birthday [. . .])

(Highlighted by Naomi Chana, fresh from seeking "a plausible connection between Sinai and hot fudge sauce.")

Two years ago: "I may not be out playing as hard as the darlings of page 3, but there's still such pleasure in the looking, and there's certainly pleasure in tasting. . ."

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