Friday, January 7


The great painter Degas often repeated to me a very true and simple remark by Mallarmé. Degas occasionally wrote verses, and some of those he left were delightful. But he often found great difficulty in this work accessory to his painting ... One day he said to Mallarmé: "Yours is a hellish craft. I can't manage to say what I want, and yet I'm full of ideas ..." And Mallarmé answered: "My dear Degas, one does not make poetry with ideas, but with words."

-- Paul Valêry The Art of Poetry
Translated by Denise Folliot