Denise Levertov On To Be A Poet

815907A6-18CF-497E-B554-B583D1FD42F7.jpegDenise Levertov (October 24, 1923 – December 20, 1997)

To be a poet you must be crazy about language; and you must believe in the uniqueness of every person, and therefore in your own. To find your voice you must forget about finding it, and trust that if you pay sufficient attention to life you will be found to have something to say which no one else can say. And if at the same time your love of language leads you to develop your vocabulary, your ear, and your form-sense, and if you are scrupulously honest, you will arrive at writing what you apprehend in a way which embodies that vision which is yours alone. And that will be your voice, unsought, singing out from you of itself.

Steve Paul Jobs On Trust

92730878-2562-4586-a782-2733c435f589Steve Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

May Sarton On Poets

81F3E7E8-9113-4944-9EAD-705D961223E7.jpegMay Sarton (May 3, 1912 – July 16, 1995)

You choose to be a novelist, but you’re chosen to be a poet. This is a gift and it’s a tremendous responsibility. You have to be willing to give something terribly intimate and secret of yourself to the world and not care, because you have to believe that what you have to say is important enough.

Mary Oliver On The Journey

8fcbe-img_2547Mary Oliver (September 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019)🌹

One day you finally knew  
what you had to do, and began, 
though the voices around you 
kept shouting  
their bad advice— 
though the whole house 
began to tremble  
and you felt the old tug  
at your ankles.  
“Mend my life!”each voice cried.  
But you didn’t stop.  
You knew what you had to do,  
though the wind pried  
with its stiff fingers  
at the very foundations,  
though their melancholy  
was terrible.  
It was already late 
enough, and a wild night,  
and the road full of fallen  
branches and stones.  
But little by little,  
as you left their voices behind,  
the stars began to burn  
through the sheets of clouds,  
and there was a new voice  
which you slowly  
recognized as your own,  
that kept you company  
as you strode deeper and deeper  
into the world,  
determined to do  
the only thing you could do—  
determined to save  
the only life you could save.


This was the first poem by Mary Oliver I read while working in the bookstore at Esalen. It inspired in me the courage to live my own life regardless of the voices around me. Thank you my poetess.

Mary Oliver (September 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019)🌹

Listen to Mary Oliver read her poem “The Journey” here.


James Baldwin On Say Yes To Life

24997-img_0661James Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987

I know we often lose, and that the death or destruction of another is infinitely more real and unbearable than one’s own. I think I know how many times one has to start again, and how often one feels that one cannot start again. And yet, on pain of death, one can never remain where one is… It is a mighty heritage, it is the human heritage, and it is all there is to trust….This is why one must say Yes to life and embrace it wherever it is found—and it is found in terrible places; nevertheless, there it is; and if the father can say, “Yes, Lord,” the child can learn that most difficult of words, Amen.

Woody Allen On Why Is Life Worth Living?

15118D0B-ECEB-44FE-A402-BEC3E937E789.jpegWoody Allen (December 01, 1935 -)

Why is life worth living? Okay, for me, I would say…well, Groucho Marx, to name one thing, and Willie Mays and the second movement of the Jupiter Symphony and Louis Armstrong’s recording of ‘Potato Head Blues’, and um, Swedish movies, naturally. Sentimental Education by Flaubert, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, those incredible Apples and Pears by Cezanne. Oh, the crabs at Sam Wo’s, and um Tracy’s face.