Salvatore Quasimodo

20 Aug 1901 // 14 Jun 1968

The Poet and the Writer Help Change the World

The poet and writer help change the world. This may seem presumptuous or merely a relative truth, but, in order to justify tumult or acquiescence, one need only think of the reactions that poets provoke, both in their own societies and elsewhere. You know that poetry reveals itself in solitude, and that from this solitude it moves out in every direction; from the monologue it reaches society without becoming either sociological or political. Poetry, even lyrical poetry, is always �speech�. The listener may be the physical or metaphysical interior of the poet, or a man, or a thousand men. Narcissistic feeling, on the other hand, turns inward upon itself like a circle; and by means of alliteration and of evocative sounds it echoes the myths of other men in forgotten epochs of history.

Salvatore Quasimodo, in 'Speech at the Nobel Banquet, Stockholm, 1959'


On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."