Katherine Anne Porter Quotes

I have no patience with this dreadful idea that whatever you have in you has to come out, that you can't suppress true talent. People can be destroyed; they can be bent, distorted, and completely crippled.
Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980), U.S. novelist and story writer. As quoted in "Contexts" [poem], Epigram, by Irena Klepfisz (1982).
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The real sin against life is to abuse and destroy beauty, even one's own—even more, one's own, for that has been put in our care and we are responsible for its well-being.
Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980), U.S. short-story writer, novelist. Herr Freytag, in Ship of Fools, pt. 3 (1962).
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Human life itself may be almost pure chaos, but the work of the artist—the only thing he's good for—is to take these handfuls of confusion and disparate things, things that seem to be irreconcilable, and put them together in a frame to give them some kind of shape and meaning. Even if it's only his view of a meaning. That's what he's for—to give his view of life.
Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980), U.S. short-story writer, novelist. Interview, Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963).
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There seems to be a kind of order in the universe, in the movement of the stars and the turning of the earth and the changing of the seasons, and even in the cycle of human life. But human life itself is almost pure chaos. Everyone takes his stance, asserts his own rights and feelings, mistaking the motives of others, and his own.
Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980), U.S. short-story writer, novelist. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963).
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You can't write about people out of textbooks, and you can't use jargon. You have to speak clearly and simply and purely in a language that a six-year-old child can understand; and yet have the meanings and the overtones of language, and the implications, that appeal to the highest intelligence.
Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980), U.S. short-story writer, novelist. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963).
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Our being is subject to all the chances of life. There are so many things we are capable of, that we could be or do. The potentialities are so great that we never, any of us, are more than one-fourth fulfilled.
Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980), U.S. short-story writer, novelist. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963).
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A cultivated style would be like a mask. Everybody knows it's a mask, and sooner or later you must show yourself—or at least, you show yourself as someone who could not afford to show himself, and so created something to hide behind.... You do not create a style. You work, and develop yourself; your style is an emanation from your own being.
Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980), U.S. short-story writer, novelist. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963).
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Love without marriage can sometimes be very awkward for all concerned; but marriage without love simply removes that institution from the territory of the humanly admissible, to my mind. Love is a state in which one lives who loves, and whoever loves has given himself away; love then, and not marriage, is belong ing. Marriage is a public declaration of a man and a woman that they have formed a secret alliance, with the intention to belong to, and share with each other, a mystical estate; mystical exactly in the sense that the real experience cannot be communicated to others, nor explained even to oneself on rational grounds.
Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980), U.S. novelist. "Marriage Is Belonging," Collected Essays and Occasional Writings, Delta (1973).
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