Happy Birthday, Alasdair Gray, born 28 December 1934
- Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation.
- You suffer from the oldest delusion in politics. You think you can change the world by talking to a leader. Leaders are the effects, not the causes of changes.
- A good poem is a tautology. It expands one word by adding a number which clarify it, thus making a new word which has never before been spoken. The seedword is always so ordinary that hardly anyone perceives it. Classical odes grow from and or because, romantic lyrics from but and if. Immature verses expand a personal pronoun ad nauseam, the greatest works bring glory to a common verb. Good poems, therefore, are always close to banality, over which, however, they tower like precipices.
- But I do enjoy words—some words for their own sake! Words like river, and dawn, and daylight, and time. These words seem much richer than our experiences of the things they represent.
- People in Scotland have a queer idea of the arts. They think you can be an artist in your spare time, though nobody expects you to be a spare-time dustman, engineer, lawyer or brain surgeon.
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