Wallace Stegner Quotes

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A teacher enlarges people in all sorts of ways besides just his subject matter. -Wallace Stegner
Most things break, including hearts. The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus. -Wallace Stegner
Wherever you find the greatest good, you will find the greatest evil, because evil loves paradise as much as good. -Wallace Stegner
I may not know who I am, but I know where I am from. -Wallace Stegner
It's easier to die than to move... at least for the Other Side you don't need trunks. -Wallace Stegner
Salt is added to dried rose petals with the perfume and spices, when we store them away in covered jars, the summers of our past. -Wallace Stegner
A poet is somebody who has written a poem. -Wallace Stegner
There is some history that I want not to have happened. I resist the consequences of being Nemesis. -Wallace Stegner
A poem isn't selfish. It speaks to people. -Wallace Stegner
Recollection, I have found, is usually about half invention... -Wallace Stegner
The perfect weather of Indian Summer lengthened and lingered, warm sunny days were followed by brisk nights with Halloween a presentiment in the air. -Wallace Stegner
In my experience, the world's happiest man is a young professor building bookcases. -Wallace Stegner
[I]t is dangerous for a bride to be apologetic about her husband. -Wallace Stegner
wherever you find the greatest good, you will find the greatest evil, because evil loves paradise as much as good. -Wallace Stegner
Walk openly, Marian used to say. Love even the threat and the pain, feel yourself fully alive, cast a bold shadow, accept, accept. What we call evil is only a groping towards good, part of the trial and error by which we move toward the perfected consciousness... God is kind? Life is good? Nature never did betray the heart that loved her? Why the reward she received for living intensely and generously and trying to die with dignity? Why the horror at the bridge her last clear sight of earth?... I do not accept, I am not reconciled. But one thing she did. She taught me the stupidity of the attempt to withdraw and be free of trouble and harm... She said, 'You wondered what was in whale's milk. Now you know. Think of the force down there, just telling things to get born, just to be!' I had had no answer for her then. Now I might have one. Yes, think of it, I might say. And think how random and indiscriminate it is, think how helplessly we must submit, think how impossible it is to control or direct it. Think how often beauty and delicacy and grace are choked out by weeds. Think how endless and dubious is the progress from weed to flower. Even alive, she never convinced me with her advocacy of biological perfectionism. She never persuaded me to ignore, or look upon as merely hard pleasures, the evil that I felt in every blight and smut and pest in my garden- that I felt, for that matter, squatting like a toad on my own heart. Think of the force of life, yes, but think of the component of darkness in it. One of the things that's in whale's milk is the promise of pain and death. And so? Admitting what is so obvious, what then? Would I wipe Marion Catlin out of my unperfected consciousness if I could? Would I forgo the pleasure of her company to escape the bleakness of her loss? Would I go back to my own formula, which was twilight sleep, to evade the pain she brought with her? Not for a moment. And so even in the gnashing of my teeth, I acknowledge my conversion. It turns out to be for me as I once told her it would be for her daughter. I shall be richer all my life for this sorrow.

Wallace Stegner
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Poems ought to reflect the work the poet does, and his relationships with other people, and family, and institutions, and organization. -Wallace Stegner
You can't retire to weakness - you've got to learn to control strength. -Wallace Stegner
Creation is a knack which is empowered by practice, and like almost any skill, it is lost if you don't practice it. -Wallace Stegner
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