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Louise Bogan

  • Women have no wilderness in them, / They are provident instead, / Content in the tight hot cell of their hearts / To eat dusty bread.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "Women," Body of This Death ()
  • She had a madness in her for betrayal. / She looked for it in every room in the house.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "The Flume," Dark Summer ()
  • It is through the acceptance of a variety of aesthetic and intellectual points of view that a culture is given breadth and density.

  • The art of one period cannot be approached through the attitudes (emotional or intellectual) of another.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "Reading Contemporary Poetry," in College English ()
  • True revolutions in art restore more than they destroy.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "Reading Contemporary Poetry," in College English ()
  • Miss Sitwell is so skillful and so dazzling that she almost persuades us that spiritual intensity follows upon verbal intensity, which may or may not be true.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "Edith Sitwell," Selected Criticism ()
  • The fact, and the intuition or logic about the fact, are severe coordinates in fiction. In the short story they must cross with hair-line precision.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "Flowering Judas" (1930), Selected Criticism ()
  • But childhood, prolonged, cannot remain a fairyland. It becomes a hell.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "Childhood's False Eden" (1940), Selected Criticism ()
  • Will folk art save us from creative and moral aridity if we can find and use it? The reiterated insinuation that formal art is fraudulent because it is difficult to understand and makes no effort to appeal to the majority — that it is, in fact, somehow treasonable to mankind's higher purposes and aims — is a typical bourgeois notion that has been around for a long time. That formal art cannot be put to any immediate use also lays it open to materialist denigration. The conviction that the simple is straight and pure and true, while the complex is concocted and double-dealing, is a partially moral one. It is a conviction which shares room, in the minds and emotions of many people, with an unconscious yearning for a lost rural world. ... the fact remains that no civilization has ever produced a literature out of folk (either current or revived) alone. The formal artist cannot be outlawed.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "Some Notes on Popular and Unpopular Art" (1943), Selected Criticism ()
  • Intellectuals range through the finest gradations of kind and quality: from those who are merely educated neurotics, usually with strong hidden reactionary tendencies, through mediocrities of all kinds, to men of real brains and sensibility, more or less stiffened into various respectabilities or substitutes for respectability. The number of Ignorant Specialists is large. The number of hysterics and compulsives is also large.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "Some Notes on Popular and Unpopular Art" (1943), Selected Criticism ()
  • The intellectual is a middle-class product; if he is not born into the class he must soon insert himself into it, in order to exist. He is the fine nervous flower of the bourgeoisie.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "Some Notes on Popular and Unpopular Art" (1943), Selected Criticism ()
  • Poetry is often generations in advance of the thought of its time.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "European Poetry" (1941), A Poet's Alphabet ()
  • ... in a time lacking in truth and certainty and filled with anguish and despair, no woman should be shamefaced in attempting to give back to the world, through her work, a portion of its lost heart.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "The Heart and the Lyre" (1947), A Poet's Alphabet ()
  • ... I have lost faith in universal panaceas — work is the one thing in which I really believe.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • letter to Harriet Monroe (1931), in Ruth Limmer, ed., What the Woman Lived ()
  • ... how much of our inner substance is it good for us to give to public griefs? The whole modern tendency to agonize over the suffering of the entire globe is surely something new.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • 1955, in Ruth Limmer, ed., What the Woman Lived ()
  • I think that 'intellectuals' cause a great deal of trouble trying to do it all with the mind. It is the heart that counts ...

    • Louise Bogan,
    • 1955, in Ruth Limmer, ed., What the Woman Lived ()
  • The mountain comes and goes / Like a watermark / On celestial paper.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "Rainier" (1960), in Ruth Limmer, ed., What the Woman Lived ()
  • ... I cannot believe that the inscrutable universe turns on an axis of suffering; surely the strange beauty of the world must somewhere rest on pure joy!

    • Louise Bogan,
    • 1953, in Ruth Limmer, ed., What the Woman Lived ()
  • ... politics are nothing but sand and gravel: it is art and life that feed us until we die. Everything else is ambition, hysteria or hatred.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • 1937, in Ruth Limmer, ed., What the Woman Lived ()
  • The initial mystery that attends any journey is: how did the traveler reach his starting point in the first place?

    • Louise Bogan,
    • 1933, in Ruth Limmer, ed., Journey Around My Room ()
  • Secrecy was bound up in her nature. She could not go from one room to another without the intense purpose that must cover itself with stealth. She closed the door as though she had said goodbye to me and to truth and to the lamp she had cleaned that morning and to the table soon to be laid for supper, as though she faced some romantic subterfuge, some pleasant deceit.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • 1933, in Ruth Limmer, ed., Journey Around My Room ()
  • But it's silly to suggest the writing of poetry is something ethereal, a sort of soul-crashing, devastating emotional experience that wrings you. I have no fancy ideas about poetry. ... It doesn't come to you on the wings of a dove. It's something you have to work hard at.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • 1959, in Ruth Limmer, ed., Journey Around My Room ()
  • The poem is always the last resort. In it the poet makes a world in little, and finds peace, even though, under complete focused emotion, the evocation be far more bitter than reality, or far more lovely.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • 1923, in Ruth Limmer, ed., Journey Around My Room ()
  • Hate does not present many choices; if hate is your solution, you are fairly certain to hate all phemonena with equal joy and intensity, without troubling to drag into prominence any one feature from the loathsome whole.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • 1933, in Ruth Limmer, ed., Journey Around My Room ()
  • Stupidity always accompanies evil. Or evil, stupidity.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • c. 1935, in Ruth Limmer, ed., Journey Around My Room ()
  • A thousand kindnesses do not make up for a thousand blows.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • c. 1935, in Ruth Limmer, ed., Journey Around My Room ()
  • All art, in spite of the struggles of some critics to prove otherwise, is based on emotion and projects emotion.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • c. 1960, in Ruth Limmer, ed., Journey Around My Room ()

Louise Bogan, U.S. poet, critic

(1897 - 1970)

Full name: Louise Marie Beatrice Bogan Holden.