Famous Quotes & Sayings

Garth Greenwell Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 75 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Garth Greenwell.

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Garth Greenwell Quotes 1303816

He caught me and held my gaze without welcome or warmth or any hint of what we had shared, and my sense of having violated something, of having looked where I shouldn't have faded, as I understood that this was what he wanted me to see all along, that I was there not as guard but as audience. I was there to see how different from me he was, how free of the foulness my father had shown him; and now that I had seen it, I knew our friendship had run its course. — Garth Greenwell

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Making poems was a way of loving things, I had always thought, of preserving them, of living moments twice; or more than that, it was a way of living more fully, of bestowing on experience a richer meaning. But — Garth Greenwell

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the poorly typed lines, the symbols and abbreviations of Internet chat that make such language seem so much like a process of decay. As — Garth Greenwell

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For me, music was always a second language. I didn't have a musical background, and I started studying very late, at fourteen. — Garth Greenwell

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You can't speak to him, he said, if you speak to him, if you give any sign to him at all, he will come back; he has to stop existing for you. — Garth Greenwell

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I think one reason I'm drawn to expansive syntax is that arias are so often exercises in extending language as a means of intensifying feeling. — Garth Greenwell

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What had I done but extend my rootlessness, the series of false starts that became more difficult to defend as I got older? I think I hoped I would feel new in a new country, but I wasn't new here, and if there was comfort in the idea that my habitual unease had a cause, that if I was ill-fitted to the place there was good reason, it was a false comfort, a way of running away from real remedy. But — Garth Greenwell

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I do think that the sense of being opposed to the present moment, that sense of the rub of history, invigorates the writing I find most exciting, and maybe precisely in being equally allegiant to an inward fineness of sensibility and an outward-facing rigor of protest or critique. — Garth Greenwell

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The fact remains that books that really put gay people in the center, and especially books that do so in a way that is sexually explicit, tend not to get a great deal of mainstream attention: they don't tend to sell well, and they don't tend to win major awards. This makes the occasional exception, like Alan Hollinghurst, all the more remarkable. — Garth Greenwell

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I grew up at the height of the AIDS panic, when desire and disease seemed essentially bound together, the relationship between them not something that could be managed but absolute and unchangeable, a consequence and its cause. Disease was the only story anyone ever told about men like me where I was from, and it flattened my life to a morality tale, in which I could be either chaste or condemned. Maybe that's why, when I finally did have sex, it wasn't so much pleasure I sought as the exhilaration of setting aside restraint, of pretending not to be afraid, a thrill of release so intense it was almost suicidal. — Garth Greenwell

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I felt it give a sudden sigh, a quick unburdening of breath as it shifted its frame a little. It wasn't tied up, I saw, it could have wandered off anytime it chose; but there was nowhere for it to go, of course, and the cart I supposed was heavy, and there was something however meager to be had there where it stood. — Garth Greenwell

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I take pleasure as a reader in books that tease with a kind of urgency of the real, even if it's only a manufactured effect. — Garth Greenwell

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the whole point of literature, I think, is that it's the best technology we have for communicating what another person's life feels like from the inside. — Garth Greenwell

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But then there's something theatrical in all our embraces, I think, as we weigh our responses against those we perceive or project; always we desire too much or not enough, and compensate accordingly. I — Garth Greenwell

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Where the novel makes use of material from my life it does so because it's aesthetically convenient, not because of any allegiance it has to any verifiable facts. — Garth Greenwell

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I felt a lot of ambivalence about going back to graduate school for a second MFA. The impulse was really the opposite from what it had been more than a decade before: I wanted to interrupt a career. — Garth Greenwell

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I guess I've done a lot of different kinds of performing at various times - opera singing, poetry reading, not least high school teaching - and I do enjoy it, at least sometimes. But I find it incredibly anxiety-producing and exhausting. Privacy is more congenial, and I go a little crazy if I can't spend a big chunk of every day, or almost every day, alone. Certainly I have to be alone to write. — Garth Greenwell

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I realized that there was an intellectual content in music, a kind of thinking, that I would never be able to hear. — Garth Greenwell

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words in a foreign language never wound us like words in the language to which we're born. But — Garth Greenwell

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I went back to graduate school because I wanted to avoid being a professional, to try to piece together a life that would let me avoid the tenure race and full-time teaching. — Garth Greenwell

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Woolf is an important writer for me, someone I read often and who forms part of my ideal of what literature can do. — Garth Greenwell

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I'm drawn to fiction that hints at nonfiction, that blurs or seems to blur the boundaries between invention and autobiography. — Garth Greenwell

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What tale of the two years did the sight of me tell? — Garth Greenwell

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I fell back from him then, I lay next to him thinking, as I had had cause to think before, of how helpless desire is outside its little theater of heat, how ridiculous it becomes the moment it isn't welcomed, even if that welcome is contrived. — Garth Greenwell

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There was something in his manner of seduction, no show of desire at all; what he offered was a transaction, and again he showed no disappointment when reflexively and without hesitation I said no to him. It was the answer I had always given to such proposals (which are inevitable in the places I frequent), not out of any moral conviction but out of pride, a pride that had weakened in recent years, as I realized I was being shifted by the passage of time from one category of erotic object to another. — Garth Greenwell

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It does seem like between the groundbreaking writing of Edmund White's generation and the work of younger gay writers in their twenties and thirties there is a kind of gap. — Garth Greenwell

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As we joined the line of people getting off at the last stop before Sofia, I looked once more at the little boy, whom I felt I would never forget, though maybe it wasn't exactly him I would remember, I thought, but the use I would make of him. I had my notes, I knew I would write a poem about him, and then it would be the poem I remembered, which would be both true and false at once, the image I made replacing the real image. Making poems was a way of loving things, I had always thought, of preserving them, of living moments twice; or more than that, it was a way of living more fully, of bestowing on experience a richer meaning. But that wasn't what it felt like when I looked back at the boy, wanting a last glimpse of him; it felt like a loss. Whatever I could make of him would diminish him, and I wondered whether I wasn't really turning my back on things in making them into poems, whether instead of preserving the world I was taking refuge from it. — Garth Greenwell

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Even though I don't sing any more, singing was my first education in the arts, and it's clear to me that my training as a musician also shaped me as a writer. — Garth Greenwell

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Writing the novel felt so private to me! I think publishing a novel is quite public and exposing, and what's a little frightening to me right now is the fact that it feels so entirely opposed to the privacy that is writing. — Garth Greenwell

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My first months in Sofia were a time of intense disorientation: I had never been to that part of the world before; I could barely speak the language; everything seemed strange to me. — Garth Greenwell

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Like everything else in my past he was part of the story that had led us to each other; it's a way of being in love, I think, to see the past like that. — Garth Greenwell

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I am a gay writer, absolutely. And in no way does that fact limit the reach or importance of what I write. — Garth Greenwell

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Poetry never makes any money, and so there's no pressure to appeal to an audience. That makes a lot of things about being a poet difficult, but it also means freedom to write whatever you want to write, however you want to write it. — Garth Greenwell

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But I'm your son, which was my only appeal and the last thing I would say. He made a dismissive sound, almost a laugh, and then he spoke again, with a snarling voice I had never heard before, he said The hell you are. He went on, he spoke without stopping, A faggot, he said, if I had known you would never have been born. You disgust me, he said, do you know that, you disgust me, how could you be my son? As I listened to him say these things it was as though even as I laid claim to myself I found there was nothing to claim, nothing or next to nothing, as though I were dissolving and my tears were the outward sign of that dissolution. — Garth Greenwell

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I do think that calling a book nonfiction affirms a kind of responsibility to an attempt at truth. — Garth Greenwell

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but how could I explain to R., especially to him, the feeling of inevitability I had whenever Mitko appeared, as though we were in a story that had already been written. — Garth Greenwell

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I realized that my pleasure wasn't lessened by his absence, that what was surely a betrayal (we had our contract, though it had never been signed, never set in words at all) had only refined our encounter, allowing him to become more vividly present to me even as I was left alone on my stained knees, and allowing me, with all the freedom of fantasy, to make of him what I would. — Garth Greenwell

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The academy is an incredibly sheltered world, and I do think it's important for writers to get out from under that shelter, at least for a while, to see what the world looks like from outside it. — Garth Greenwell

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that I can carry on these multiple conversations, each its own window so that sometimes my screen is filled with them; and in each I have the sense of being entirely false and entirely true, like — Garth Greenwell

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As I walked along that path,

I felt drawn from myself, elated,

struck stupidly good for a moment

by the extravagant beauty of the world. — Garth Greenwell

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History is never invisible, finally, though some people seem to work very hard to be willfully blind. — Garth Greenwell

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My life has had a lot of fits and starts: before I studied literature at all I was a musician, and began undergrad as a conservatory student. I started studying literature in my third year of college, when I took a poetry course with James Longenbach that was pretty extraordinary. It changed my life. — Garth Greenwell

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I had been sick before, of course, but this felt more than sickness, like a physical confirmation of shame. — Garth Greenwell

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If my novel gets any attention in Bulgaria, it will be as a scandal: a book about a teacher at a famous school and his relationship with a prostitute. I doubt very much it will be evaluated on its merits as literature. If Bulgarian were the book's only language, that would be painful and limiting to me as a writer. Since my book also exists in English - where it isn't scandalous at all - I feel comfortable with the possibility of scandal. — Garth Greenwell

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I don't think I'm qualified to answer questions about happiness. But I guess I'd say that I don't think you ever get to put to bed something like a search for order, or any other element of your sensibility, however much you'd like to. — Garth Greenwell

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Whatever the weather I went out and wandered, and now I wandered with K.; I introduced him to my solitude and he deepened it without disturbance. — Garth Greenwell

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He stopped then, as if he realized he had gone too far, had leaned too hard on the fiction of our relationship and felt the false surface give way. — Garth Greenwell

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I realized, that the life of a musician, even of a very lucky, very successful musician, wasn't really the life I wanted: I hate travel, I hate living out of suitcases, I hate the constant anxiety of being on stage. — Garth Greenwell

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Bulgaria is a fascinating, beautiful, difficult country, and I fell in love with it. — Garth Greenwell

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Whenever I go to New York I try to soak up as much live music as I can, including as many nights at the opera as I can manage. — Garth Greenwell

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What would it mean to do enough, I wondered, as I had wondered before about that obligation to others that sometimes seems so clear and sometimes disappears altogether, so that now we owe nothing, anything we give is too much, and now our debt is beyond all counting. — Garth Greenwell

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Teaching high school was my real training as a novelist: it got me out of my head, and (at least a little) out of books, and invested me in the lives of others and the world around me. — Garth Greenwell

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Sometimes we talked the whole night long, as one does only in adolescence or very early in love. I was happy, but also I felt an anxiety that gnawed at me and for which I could find no cause, that gnawed at me more deeply precisely because I could find no cause. — Garth Greenwell

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That's all care is, I thought, it's just looking at a thing long enough, why should it be a question of scale? This seemed like a hopeful thought at first, but then it's hard to look at things, or to look at them truly, and we can't look at many at once, and it's so easy to look away. — Garth Greenwell

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ludic: cigarette — Garth Greenwell

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Bulgarian phrase zryala vuzrast, ripe age, which they use for the period before one is truly old. She — Garth Greenwell

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How easily we are made to feel, I thought, and with what little foundation, with no foundation at all. At — Garth Greenwell

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I'm not sure any narrative model has been more important for me than Benjamin Britten's chamber operas. — Garth Greenwell

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Love isn't just a matter of looking at someone, I think now, but also of looking with them, of facing what they face. — Garth Greenwell

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though I thought of him often, though he appeared in dreams from which I woke more excited than I was by anything in my waking life, I didn't regret what I had done. I had missed him, but more than missing him I had been relieved that he was gone. — Garth Greenwell

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I studied opera, and when I left conservatory I told myself I would never sing in public again. — Garth Greenwell

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K. hung his arm around my neck. It was a casual gesture but one I wasn't used to, and I was almost frightened by the happiness that overtook me, that filled me up and charged me and at the same time carried a thread; it was too unrestrained, there was nothing to keep it in check. I felt solid again as I walked with him, more certain of myself than I had been for years, with his arm around my neck and my own slung at his waist We knocked against each other but what did it matter, there was no one to see us, we moved with an awkward freedom but a freedom nonetheless. — Garth Greenwell

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I'm still primarily interested in observing as closely as possible the shifting weather between people. I think the master of this sort of thing, and a writer who has meant a great deal to me, is Henry James: there's a magical way that he has of turning the slightest gesture into a whole world of drama and feeling. — Garth Greenwell

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I guess I think that sex and desire and humiliation are central to my experience of consciousness - to my experience of humanness - and I wanted to explore the ways that they circle around and approach and fail to add up to love, or the ways that those three terms - sex, desire, love - can in some lights seem synonymous and in others like elements entirely alien to one another. — Garth Greenwell

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I think history is only ever invisible when it abets your sense of self, your desires, your ambitions, when it carries your life along in a kind of frictionless way. — Garth Greenwell

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... my mother reached over and laid her hand on my arm, saying that was true, ... and I felt something twist in me, the motion of some unthinking thing when it is gripped too hard, and I had to resist the urge to pull away. — Garth Greenwell

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I'm not sure I can articulate any principles behind the decisions about what to cut and what to keep. — Garth Greenwell

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There are lots of big books that have gay characters - or, more commonly, a gay character - in secondary roles, but seldom are their lives, and especially their sexual lives, on center stage. — Garth Greenwell

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When I took my first poetry class, I felt that I could understand the relationships between words and the formal qualities of language in a way I would never understand music. — Garth Greenwell

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I hope that the relationship of the title to the novel [ What Belongs To You] gets more complex with each section of the book: that maybe it begins by resonating with the question of prostitution - to what extent can a body be commodified, what exactly are you renting or purchasing when you pay for sex - and deepens over the course of the book to address larger questions of ownership and belonging. — Garth Greenwell

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I think it's harder to avoid reflection on those larger patterns of history or society when they so insistently call into question your right to exist. — Garth Greenwell

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None of us sees history fully; none of us is adequately aware of how the arrangements of the present moment foreclose the possibilities of others to fully live their only lives. — Garth Greenwell

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He had always been alone, I thought, gazing at a world in which he had never found a place and that was now almost perfectly indifferent to him; he was incapable even of disturbing it, of making a sound it could be bothered to hear. — Garth Greenwell

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My first MFA was in poetry, and it was very much part of a professional trajectory leading to life as a professor. But in my second and third years at Harvard, I realized I didn't want an academic life. — Garth Greenwell

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Being a high school teacher was wonderful, but unsustainable: I needed a way out. — Garth Greenwell