Jan. 27, 1997

An Apology for Using the Word 'Heart' in Too Many Poems

by Hayden Carruth


Today's Reading:"An Apology for Using the Word 'Heart' in Too Many Poems" by Hayden Carruth from COLLECTED SHORTER POEMS 1946-1991, published by Copper Canyon Press.

A treaty was signed in Paris on this day in 1973, ending the combat role of the United States in the Vietnam War, the longest war in American history.

It's the birthday of ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, born in Riga, Latvia, 1948.

The National Geographic Society was founded on this day in Washington, D.C., 1888.

Composer Jerome Kern (SHOWBOAT) was born on this day in New York City in 1885.

It's the birthday of writer and mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, best known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll (ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND). He was born on this day in Cheshire, England, 1832.

The inventor of the lifeboat, Henry Greathead, was born on this day in England, 1757.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show