Charles Eliot Norton Lectures

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The Charles Eliot Norton Professorship of Poetry at Harvard University was established in 1925 as an annual lectureship in "poetry in the broadest sense" and named for the university's former professor of fine arts Charles Eliot Norton. Distinguished creative figures and scholars in the arts, including painting, architecture, and music deliver customarily six lectures. The lectures are usually dated by the academic year in which they are given, though sometimes by just the calendar year.

  • What you do really with paper can never quite come up to with what the paper offers. It's something about that broken package, in the way carton is torn, sort of invites you to come in. There's something about taking out that first sheet, that sort of changes that thing.
  • At this point we should remember that the idea of the world as composed of weightless atoms is striking just because we know the weight of things so well. So, too, we would be unable to appreciate the lightness of language if we could not appreciate language that has some weight.
  • Were I to choose an auspicious image for the new millennium, I would choose this one: The sudden agile leap of the poet-philosopher who raises himself above the weight of the world, showing that with all his gravity he has the secret of lightness, and that what many consider to be the vitality of the times--noisy, aggressive, revving and roaring--belongs to the realm of death, like a cemetary for rusty, old cars
  • Saving time is a good thing because the more time we save, the more we can afford to lose