"What society doesn't realize is that in the past, ordinary people respected learning. They respected books, and they don't now, or not very much. That whole respect for serious literature and learning has disappeared."
"The Bible should be taught, but emphatically not as reality. It is fiction, myth, poetry, anything but reality. As such it needs to be taught because it underlies so much of our literature and our culture."
"This is the most intimate relationship between literature and its readers: they treat the text as a part of themselves, as a possession."
"Woe to that nation whose literature is cut short by the intrusion of force. This is not merely interference with freedom of the press but the sealing up of a nation's heart, the excision of its memory."
"Poetry, it is often said and loudly so, is life's true mirror. But a monkey looking into a work of literature looks in vain for Socrates."
"Instead of trying to come up and pontificate on what literature is, you need to talk with children, to teachers, and make sure they get poetry in the curriculum early."
"Some people think literature is high culture and that it should only have a small readership. I don't think so... I have to compete with popular culture, including TV, magazines, movies and video games."
"Allen Ginsberg was a world authority on the writing of William Blake, and had an incredible knowledge of classic literature and world politics."
"The tradition of Russian literature is also an eastern tradition of learning poetry and prose by heart."
"Bobby Fischer has an enormous knowledge of chess and his familiarity with the chess literature of the USSR is immense."