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My Favorite Quotes

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 Mary Antin - “The czar was always sending us commands - you shall not do this and you shall not do that - till there was very little left that we might do, except pay tribute and die.”
 Mary Antin - “No, the czar did not want us in the schools.”
 Mary Antin - “In the evening of the first day my father conducted us to the public baths.”
 Mary Antin - “But most of the Gentiles were ignorant.”
 David Antin - “When you grow up in a family of languages, you develop a kind of casual fluency, so that languages, though differently colored, all seem transparent to experience.”
 David Antin - “When I got to the reading all the work, I was reduced to being an actor in an experimental play that I'd already written. And I didn't want to be an actor.”
 David Antin - “There is probably no oral society that fails to mark the spatial distinction of left and right, peculiar as this distinction may be.”
 David Antin - “There are editing procedures for talks just as there are editing procedures in jazz improvisation.”
 David Antin - “The Sophists' paradoxical talk pieces and their public debates were entertainment in 5th century Greece. And in that world, Socrates was an entertainer.”
 David Antin - “The self is an oral society in which the present is constantly running a dialogue with the past and the future inside of one skin.”
 David Antin - “It's hard being a hostage in somebody else's mouth - or a character in somebody else's novel.”
 David Antin - “I've always had a strong feeling for the Statue of Liberty, because it became the statue of my personal liberty.”
 David Antin - “I was very committed to the process of composing, working at poems, putting things together and taking them apart like some kind of experimental filmmaker.”
 David Antin - “I was trying to find out what it was that everybody else understood without giving up my stubborn and hard-won lack of understanding.”
 David Antin - “I tended to emphasize the secular, the casual, the colloquial, the vernacular against the sacred.”
 David Antin - “I learned enough Hebrew to stagger through a meaningless ceremony that I scarcely remember.”
 David Antin - “I can manage a prose format as long as I keep closer to Laurence Sterne than to Henry James.”
 David Antin - “I am quite unsatisfied by the distinctions between the oral and literate.”
 David Antin - “Growing up in Brooklyn in the '40s and following the war in the papers and on the radio every day, the world looked very different to us then.”
 David Antin - “From this entertainment industry, may the gods of language protect us.”
 David Antin - “For several centuries what has passed for song in literary circles was any text that looked like the lyrics for a commonplace melodic setting.”
 David Antin - “I'm not sure what theory is, unless it's the pursuit of fundamental questions.”
 David Antin - “I wanted to be an inventor, whatever I thought that meant then. I guess I was thinking of Edison or maybe James Watt. Or maybe even Newton.”
 Mary Antin - “First, you had to have a tutor at home, who prepared you and talked all the time about the examination you would have to pass, till you were scared.”
 David Antin - “Thinking while talking, and thinking by any means I could, which meant thinking by telling stories, came to me at pretty much the same time.”

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