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Notes on the Alphabet
by Kent Bruyneel

On accuracy: "My aim is true."—Elvis Costello

On Borges: "The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges."Jorge Luis Borges (top, right)

On choice: "The difference between the almost right word & the right word is...the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."Mark Twain

On daring: "The idea that literature is some rarified textual artifact has been as good as dead since 1965."—Louis Menand

On empathy: "If critics are not to put up some pretence of understanding the feelings of the author in hand they must condemn themselves to contempt."William Empson

On forgetting: "Of all the means to regeneration, remorse is surely the most wasteful. It cuts away healthy tissues with the poisoned."—E.M. Forster

On grief: "She's got blue-black ink / and it's scratched into her lower back / It says: 'Damn right I'll rise again' —The Hold Steady

On her chin (there is a scar, the shape of a circle): "Let us go then, you and I / When the evening is stretched out against the sky / Like a patient etherized upon a table"—T.S. Eliot

On intimacy: "You're not searching, are you now? / You're not looking anyhow / You're never gonna ride that lonely mile / Or put yourself up on trial"—The Clash

On judgement: "A poem can be judged only on the basis of whether it is something or nothing at all, not on whether or not it is 'poetry'."The Making of Modern Poetry in Canada

On knowledge: "I wrote: knowledge adds, wisdom lets slide."Paul Westerberg

On language: "[The] art of omission is a chief secret of power"—Ralph Waldo Emerson

On making magazines: "It takes as long as it takes."—William Shawn

On narcotics: "Those who conquer time by yielding to immediate sensation risk destroying the fidelities on which their aesthetic powers depend."—Irvin Ehrenpreis

On originality: "Between repetition and forgetting, it is a marvel that a new thought ever struggles into existence."—Mason Cooley

On paranoia: "I am somewhere in the city. I am climbing up a fire escape."—M.Ward

On quiet:
"That he may have about him the melody of birds, although he hear them not."Charles Lamb

On reticence: "(Just as they took my photograph / I saw one coming up the path / That's why my eyes are turned away, / I mostly look the other way.)"—Elizabeth Bishop

On sincerity: "[M]y ideal has always been to love someone of the name of Earnest."—Oscar Wilde

On truth: "[T]hat the distilled result...should have intensity, lucidity, brevity, beauty"Henry James

On ugliness: "Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!"—Percy Bysshe Shelley

On vice: "Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world / Like a Colossus; and we petty men / Walk under his huge legs, and peep about / To find ourselves dishonorable graves"—William Shakespeare

On when: "Right about now"—Talib Kweli

On X: "I mean Negative Capability...when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason."—John Keats

On youth: "Though much is taken, much abides"—Alfred, Lord Tennyson

On zeitgeist: "Man, I ain't got no quarrel with them Vietcong"—Muhammad Ali

Kent Bruyneel
occasionaly updates Forget while the magazine he edits, Grain, takes its summer reading break. In his dreams, he is chased through the streets of Charlottetown by two lions.


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Kent Bruyneel

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