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George Oppen

Truth, also is the pursuit of it.

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Things explain each other, not themselves.

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There are situations which cannot honorably be met by art.

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The first question at that time in poetry was simply the question of honesty, of sincerity.

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A pure mathematical series would be one in which each term is derived from the preceding term by a rule.

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The situation of the Old Left was the theory of Socialist Realism, etc. It seemed pointless to argue. We stayed carefully away from people who wrote for the New Masses.

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Clarity, clarity, surely clarity is the most beautiful thing in the world, A limited, limiting clarity I have not and never did have any motive of poetry But to achieve clarity.

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A discrete series is a series of terms each of which is empirically derived, each one of which is empirically true. And this is the reason for the fragmentary character of those poems.

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Street

Ah these are the poor,
These are the poor –

Bergen street.

Humiliation,
Hardship...

Nor are they very good to each other;
It is not that. I want

An end of poverty
As much as anyone

For the sake of intelligence,
'the conquest of existence' –

It has been said, and is true –

And this is real pain,

[...] Read more

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Sara in Her Father's Arms

Cell by cell the baby made herself, the cells
Made cells. That is to say
The baby is made largely of milk. Lying in her father's arms,
the little seed eyes
Moving, trying to see, smiling for us
To see, she will make a household
To her need of these rooms - Sara, little seed,
Little violent diligent seed. Come let us look at the world
Glittering: this seed will speak,
Max, words! There will'be no other words in the world
But those our children speak. What will she make of a world
Do you suppose, Max, of which she is made.

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