Marilyn Hacker Quotes

  • I don't think it's by accident that I was first attracted to translating two French women poets.
  • Translation is an interestingly different way to be involved both with poetry and with the language that I've found myself living in much of the time. I think the two feed each other.
  • I think there is something about coming to a city to work that puts you in touch with it in a different way.
  • Everyone thinks they're going to write one book of poems or one novel.
  • There is a way in which all writing is connected. In a second language, for example, a workshop can liberate the students' use of the vocabulary they're acquiring.
  • We sometimes received - and I would read - 200 manuscripts a week. Some of them were wonderful, some were terrible; most were mediocre. It was like the gifts of the good and bad fairies.
  • When you translate poetry in particular, you're obliged to look at how the writer with whom you're working puts together words, sentences, phrases, the triple tension between the line of verse, the syntax and the sentence.
  • I lived in the studio apartment that I bought for four years before I bought it in 1989, so I was already in it. I began living there in 1985, so I've had the same address and phone number since then.
  • Good writing gives energy, whatever it is about.
  • Given the devaluation of literature and of the study of foreign languages per se in the United States, as well as the preponderance of theory over text in graduate literature studies, creative writing programs keep literature courses populated.
  • I have experienced healing through other writers' poetry, but there's no way I can sit down to write in the hope a poem will have healing potential. If I do, I'll write a bad poem.
  • The ambiguities of language, both in terms of vocabulary and syntax, are fascinating: how important connotation is, what is lost and what is gained in the linguistic transition.
  • I'm addicted to email, but other than that, there are practical things - being able to buy a book on the internet that you can't find in your local bookshop. This could be a lifeline if you live further from the sources.
  • The pleasure that I take in writing gets me interested in writing a poem. It's not a statement about what I think anybody else should be doing. For me, it's an interesting tension between interior and exterior.
  • I worked at all kinds of jobs, mostly commercial editing.
  • The phenomenon of university creative writing programs doesn't exist in France. The whole idea is regarded as a novelty, or an oddity.
  • Of the individual poems, some are more lyric and some are more descriptive or narrative. Each poem is fixed in a moment. All those moments written or read together take on the movement and architecture of a narrative.
  • I started to send my work to journals when I was 26, which was just a question of when I got the courage up. They were mostly journals I had been reading for the previous six or seven years.
  • Translation makes me look at how a poem is put together in a different way, without the personal investment of the poem I'm writing myself, but equally closely technically.
  • The pull between sound and syntax creates a kind of musical tension in the language that interests me.
  • Paris is a wonderful city. I can't say I belong to an especially anglophone community.
  • My mother was told she couldn't go to medical school because she was a woman and a Jew. So she became a teacher in the New York City public school system.
  • I don't know whether a poem has be there to help to develop something. I think it's there for itself, for what the reader finds in it.
  • Community means people spending time together here, and I don't think there's really that.
  • Perhaps first and foremost is the challenge of taking what I find as a reader and making it into a poem that, primarily, has to be a plausible poem in English.