Ben Lerner Famous Quotes & Sayings

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Top 87 Ben Lerner Quotes

#1. Maybe I liked his sculpture more when I couldn't get close to it, had to see it from a fixed position through a pane of glass, so that I had to project myself into the encounter with its three-dimensionality. - Author: Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner Quotes #88152
#2. Each member of this shadowy network resented the others, who were irritating reminders that nothing was more American, whatever that means, than fleeing the American, whatever that is, and that their soft version of self-imposed exile was just another of late empire's packaged tours. - Author: Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner Quotes #99278
#3. Few real people appear in my two novels, actually. "Ari" appears on the edge of this book a couple of times - but on the edge, she's never in it, even if she's a determining force from the outside. Everybody in the first book was basically made up, if never from scratch. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#4. If I was a poet, I had become one because poetry, more intensely than any other practice, could not evade its anachronism and marginality and so constituted a kind of acknowledgment of my own preposterousness, admitting my bad faith in good faith, so to speak. - Author: Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner Quotes #146469
#5. I think the parable is a peculiar way of saying that redemption is immanent whether or not it's imminent, that the world to come is in a sense always already here, if still unavailable. I find this idea powerful for several reasons. For one thing, it's an antidote to despair. - Author: Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner Quotes #168444
#6. I don't think "I'm going to publish this as fiction" but I think "I'm going to tell this story to a friend" and then I start telling the story in my mind as the experience transpires as a way of pretending it's already happened. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#7. I believe she imbued my body thus, finding every touch enhanced by ambiguity of intention, as if it too required translation, and so each touch branched out, became a variety of touches. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#8. I don't want what we're doing to just end up as notes for a novel. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#9. I'm defending fiction as a human capacity more than as a popular or dying literary genre. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#10. I could displace the mystery of my speech onto writing, the latter perhaps recharging the former - Author: Ben Lerner
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#11. When I spoke to her in Spanish I was not translating, I was not thinking my thoughts in English first, but I was nevertheless outside the language I was speaking, building simple sentences with the blocks I'd memorized, not communicating through a fluid medium. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#12. I told the waiter I was looking for a hotel whose name I didn't know on a street whose name I didn't know and could he help me; we both laughed and he said: Aren't we all. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#13. I was a violent, bipolar, compulsive liar. I was a real American. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#14. The chicken is a little dry and/or you've ruined my life. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#15. The lie described my life better than the truth,' I added. 'Until it became a kind of truth. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#16. Since the world is ending," Peter quoted from behind us, "why not let the children touch the paintings? - Author: Ben Lerner
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#17. You are the first and last indigenous Nintendo. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#18. I'm trying to be somebody on whom the experience is lost by supplanting it with its telling. I definitely do that in medical contexts, even in trivial ones. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#19. I imagined the passengers could see me, imagined I was a passenger that could see me looking up at myself looking down. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#20. I didn't want to write another book about fraudulence. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#21. When the narrator feels like an octopus, when he says his limbs are starting to multiply, he means he has inklings of orders of perception beyond his individual body. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#22. [A] "poem" is understood as [something] referring to a failure of language to be equal to the possibilities it figures - Author: Ben Lerner
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#23. Maybe now if you're not an exhibitionist you're private. Or maybe it's just that for a lot of people - sometimes in interesting ways, sometimes in stupid ways - there's no division between the art object and what surrounds it. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#24. It was worse than having a sinking feeling; I was a sinking feeling, an unplayable adagio for strings; internal distances expanded and collapsed when I breathed. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#25. The transpersonal is more awe-inspiring, more exciting than the thing we confuse it for. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#26. I remember I had this recurring dream that we were playing a night game and instead of eye black we had mashed up the glowing bodies of fireflies and put that under our eyes. So our faces were glowing - a kind of night vision. - Author: Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner Quotes #596785
#27. ...no matter what any poet did, the poems would constitute screens on which readers could project their own desperate belief in the possibility of poetic experience, whatever that might be, or afford them the opportunity to mourn its impossibility. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#28. Nothing in the world, I thought to myself, is as old as what was futuristic in the past. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#29. The voices and laughter and birds and wind and traffic combined and separated gently. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#30. Tonight I see no spheres, but project myself
and gaze back, an important trick
because the goal is to be on both sides of the poem,
shuttling between the you and I. - Author: Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner Quotes #660465
#31. Happy were the ages when the starry sky was the map of all possible paths, ages of such perfect social integration that no drug was required to link the hero to the whole. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#32. In art and life we're always reading bodies and behaviors (and skies and skylines or whatever), constructing brief and shifting coherences, and I guess I want to capture that process of characterization and re-characterization instead of offering up a few stable, easily-summarized individuals. - Author: Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner Quotes #696767
#33. That part of what I loved about poetry was how the distinction between fiction and nonfiction didn't obtain, how the correspondence between text and world was less important than the intensities of the poem itself, what possibilities of feeling were opened up in the present tense of reading. - Author: Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner Quotes #708507
#34. I think the anti-intellectualism of a lot of contemporary fiction is a kind of despairing of literature's ability to be anything more than perfectly bound blog posts or transcribed sitcoms. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#35. I promised to pass through a series of worlds with you, I remembered from her vows. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#36. Many of the left thinkers that really matter to me - that formed a big part of my thinking about politics and art - emphasize how capitalism is a totality, how there's no escape from it, no outside. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#37. I usually see the word "metafiction" applied to works that draw attention to their own devices, their own artificiality, in order to mock novelistic convention and show the impossibility of capturing a reality external to the text or whatever. - Author: Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner Quotes #798275
#38. I think that sexual pleasure and the weird color of the sky after a storm or the stream of tail lights across the bridge or the way silence can thin or thicken before music starts - all these things have to be harnessed by the political. The libidinal has to be harnessed by the political. - Author: Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner Quotes #810469
#39. Fiction doesn't appeal to me because it can describe physical appearances exhaustively or because it can offer access to the inner depths of an array of human characters - neither that kind of "realism" of bodily surfaces nor of individual psychologies seems particularly realistic to me. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#40. My experience of my body was her experience once removed, which meant my body was dissolved, and that's all I'd ever really wanted from my body, such as it was. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#41. I guess when I'm frightened or in pain or maybe very bored I've tried to hold myself together by imposing a narrative order on the experience as it happens. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#42. She chose you for your deficiencies, not in spite of them, a new kind of mating strategy for millennial women whose priority is keeping the more disastrous fathers away, not establishing a nuclear family. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#43. The story and the poem are obviously changed by being placed in the novel, so in a sense they're no longer the works that preceded the novel. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#44. Anyway I read more contemporary poetry than contemporary fiction so my mind goes first to a kind of crass "conceptualism" that repeats vanguard gestures of the past minus the politics and historical context. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#45. Then he imagined his narrator standing before it, imagined that the gaslight cut across worlds and not just years, that the author and the narrator, while they couldn't face each other, could intuit each other's presence by facing the same light, a kind of correspondence. - Author: Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner Quotes #954278
#46. I formed several possible stories out of her speech, formed them at once, so it was less like I failed to understand than that I understood in chords, understood in a plurality of worlds. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#47. How many out-of-character things did I need to do, I wondered, before the world rearranged itself around me? - Author: Ben Lerner
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#48. When I was a kid and we played baseball we used to use that "eye black" stuff sometimes - that kind of grease you put under your eyes to reduce glare or something. We only used it, of course, to look cool; it's not like we were any better prepubescent athletes for reducing glare. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#49. My concern is how we live fictions, how fictions have real effects, become facts in that sense, and how our experience of the world changes depending on its arrangement into one narrative or another. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#50. I don't think it's always a sign of respect for persons (inside or outside of fiction) to pretend to be able to represent, to have access to, their multi-dimensionality at every moment. That doesn't imply people aren't multi-dimensional. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#51. Maybe that's the way I'm private - I respect the privacy of "my" characters? Anyway, we're getting close to the whole "relatability" and "likability" thing. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#52. Henry James claim that if you want to be a novelist you should be somebody on whom nothing is lost. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#53. ...there were eighty or so people gathered to listen to this utter shit as though it were their daily language passing through the crucible of the human sprint and emerging purified, redeemed. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#54. I have no interest in artists who are purely affirmative, who've made a commercialized fetish of the culture's stupidity. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#55. And because his narrator was characterized above all by his anxiety regarding the disconnect between his internal experience and his social self-presentation, - Author: Ben Lerner
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#56. The fatal problem with poetry: poems. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#57. Our contempt for any particular poem must be perfect, be total, because only a ruthless reading that allows us to measure the gap between the actual and the virtual will enable to to experience, if not a genuine poem - no such thing - a place for the genuine, whatever that might mean. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#58. The problem is that if you're self-conscious about being a person on whom nothing is lost, isn't something lost - some kind of presence? You're distracted by trying to be totally, perfectly impressionable. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#59. Maggie Nelson cuts through our culture's prefabricated structures of thought and feeling with an intelligence whose ferocity is ultimately in the service of love. No piety is safe, no orthodoxy, no easy irony. The scare quotes burn off like fog. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#60. I'll project myself into several futures simultaneously," I should have said, "a minor tremor in my hand; I'll work my way from irony to sincerity in the sinking city, a would-be Whitman of the vulnerable grid. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#61. What normally felt like the only possible world became one among many - Author: Ben Lerner
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#62. Every relationship can feel saturated by market logic or at best purchased at the price of the immiseration of others. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#63. I wasn't aware I'd write the novel when I wrote the New Yorker story either. And the narration of their construction in 10:04 is fiction, however flickering. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#64. I came to realize that far more important to me than any plot or conventional sense was the sheer directionality I felt while reading prose, the texture of time as it passed, life's white machine. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#65. And if we never slept together or otherwise 'realized' our relationship, I would leave Spain with this gorgeous possibility intact, and in my memory could always ponder the relationship I might have had in the flattering light of the subjunctive. - Author: Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner Quotes #1414223
#66. To the distinguished female author's left was her husband, probably also distinguished in some way, who had the look of many husbands: eyebrows perpetually raised a little in a defensive mask of polite interest, signifying boredom. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#67. The stars dehisce.
By "stars" I mean, of course, tradition,
and by "tradition" I mean nothing at all.
A pronoun disembowels his antecedent.
Stop me if you've heard this one before. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#68. Poetry: What kind of art assumes the dislike of its audience and what kind of artist aligns herself with that dislike, even encourages it? An art hated from without and within. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#69. The language of poetry is the exact opposite of the language of mass media, I said, meaninglessly. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#70. Most of us carry at least a weak sense of a correlation between poetry and human possibility that cannot be realized by poems. The poet, by his very claim to be a maker of poems, is therefore both an embarrassment and accusation. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#71. Shaving is a way to start the workday by ritually not cutting your throat when you've the chance. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#72. What interests me about fiction is, in part, its flickering edge between realism and where a tear in the fabric of a story lets in some other sort of light. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#73. Are there are fireflies on the West Coast? I never saw any when I lived in California. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#74. I could imagine it in a way that felt like remembering - Author: Ben Lerner
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#75. Experiments with the "as if" of fiction are often more lively in poetry and criticism and other modes of writing than in weak short stories or novels. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#76. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#77. I like to think - knowing that it's an enabling fiction - of those moments as fragments from a world to come, a world where price isn't the only measure of value. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#78. Who wasn't squatting in one of the handful of prefabricated subject positions proffered by capital or whatever you wanted to call it, lying every time she said "I"; who wasn't a bit player in a looped infomercial for the damaged life? - Author: Ben Lerner
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#79. Art has to offer something other than stylized despair. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#80. Most of us start from that position of irony now and what I wanted to do - really felt like I had to do if I was going to write another novel - was move towards something like sincerity. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#81. I find this less scandalous than beautiful: a kind of palimpsestic plagiarism that moves through bodies and time, a collective song with no single origin, or whose origin has been erased
the way a star, from our earthly perspective, is often survived by its own light. - Author: Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner Quotes #1812053
#82. When she reached me she asked gently if I were O.K., what was bothering me. Fine, nothing, I said, but in a way I hoped confirmed incommunicable depths had opened up inside me. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#83. I've been building a fiction in part around the Marfa poem since my brief residency there, which has kept it from receding into the past. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#84. Why reproduce if you believe the world is ending?
Because the world is always ending for each of us and if one begins to withdraw from the possibilities of experience, then no one would take any of the risks involved with love. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#85. The scare quotes burn off like fog. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#86. Just in case God isn't dead, our astronauts carry sidearms. - Author: Ben Lerner
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#87. I had the endless day, months and months of endless days, and yet my return date bounded this sense of boundlessness, kept it from becoming threatening. - Author: Ben Lerner
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