Friday, November 16, 2007

Thought for the Day


True ambition in a poet seeks fame in the old sense, to make words that live forever. If even to entertain such ambition reveals monstrous egotism, let me argue that the common alternative is petty egotism that spends itself in small competitiveness, that measures its success by quantity of publication, by blurbs on jackets, by small achievement: to be the best poet in the workshop, to be published by Knopf, to win the Pulitzer or the Nobel ... The grander goal is to be as good as Dante.

-Donald Hall, "Poetry and Ambition" from Poetry and Ambition: Essays 1982-88 (The University of Michigan Press, 1988).