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“It is much better for a writer to be underrecognized than over, in terms of keeping one’s head down, like the proverbial Japanese nail, so that one might observe the world unhammered and unimpeded. Abjure fame and avoid obscurity. But between those extremes lies the perch where a writer occasionally might do some good work. There’s a Jack Butler Yeats painting I love, showing a wild celebration of St. John’s Eve in western Ireland, with Yeats and J. M. Synge standing in the background, watching and looking small and out of the picture. Yet it was they who created the picture, and a good deal more.”

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source: “Please Turn to the Chapter on Obscurity . . .,” New York Review of Books, May 23, 2014.

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medium: newspaper essay

“I wrote somewhere that the poet at fifteen wants to be as great as Dante; by twenty-five he wants to be in The New Yorker.”

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source: “Coffee with Robert Graves,” in Unpacking the Boxes (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008), 116.

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medium: memoir

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