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The poet doesn’t invent. He listens.
– Jean Cocteau
The Louvre is a morgue; you go there to identify your friends.
If it has to choose who is to be crucified, the crowd will always save Barabbas.
The extreme limit of wisdom, that’s what the public calls madness.
An original artist is unable to copy. So he has only to copy in order to be original.
If a hermit lives in a state of ecstasy, his lack of comfort becomes the height of comfort. He must relinquish it.
Poetry is indispensable – if I only knew what for.
In Paris, everybody wants to be an actor; nobody is content to be a spectator.
When a work appears to be ahead of its time, it is only the time that is behind the work.
Tact in audacity is knowing how far you can go without going too far.
I am a lie who always speaks the truth.
After the writer’s death, reading his journal is like receiving a long letter.
The greatest masterpiece in literature is only a dictionary out of order.
Art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.
Commissions suit me. They set limits. Jean Marais dared me to write play in which he would not speak in the first act, would weep for joy in the second and in the last would fall backward down a flight of stairs.
Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.
It is not I who become addicted, it is my body.
The worst tragedy for a poet is to be admired through being misunderstood.
All good music resembles something. Good music stirs by its mysterious resemblance to the objects and feelings which motivated it.
Mystery has its own mysteries, and there are gods above gods. We have ours, they have theirs. That is what’s known as infinity.
I believe in luck: how else can you explain the success of those you dislike?
True realism consists in revealing the surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing.
We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like?
One of the characteristics of the dream is that nothing surprises us in it. With no regret, we agree to live in it with strangers, completely cut off from our habits and friends.
Silence moves faster when it’s going backward.
The instinct of nearly all societies is to lock up anybody who is truly free. First, society begins by trying to beat you up. If this fails, they try to poison you. If this fails too, the finish by loading honors on your head.
Man seeks to escape himself in myth, and does so by any means at his disposal. Drugs, alcohol, or lies. Unable to withdraw into himself, he disguises himself. Lies and inaccuracy give him a few moments of comfort.
A film is a petrified fountain of thought.
One must be a living man and a posthumous artist.
The poet never asks for admiration; he wants to be believed.