Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Quote of the Day

with 4 comments

John Berryman

I do strongly feel that among the greatest pieces of luck for high achievement is ordeal. Certain great artists can make out without it, Titian and others, but mostly you need ordeal. My idea is this: The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he’s in business. Beethoven’s deafness, Goya’s deafness, Milton’s blindness, that kind of thing. And I think that what happens in my poetic work in the future will probably largely depend not on my sitting calmly on my ass as I think, “Hmm, hmm, a long poem again? Hmm,” but on being knocked in the face.

John Berryman, to The Paris Review

Written by nevalalee

September 24, 2015 at 7:30 am

4 Responses

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    September 24, 2015 at 8:03 am

  2. I couldn’t agree more. Creativity comes from experiences and powerful emotions, and you never feel more alive than when you are close to death. This is a great quote.


    September 25, 2015 at 5:06 pm

  3. That which does not kill you makes you stronger. Experience can prove some of the greatest inspiration and motivation to move on to bigger and better things.


    September 28, 2015 at 7:04 pm

  4. It’s also worth noting that Berryman committed suicide.


    October 11, 2015 at 8:16 pm

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