Quotes by: Madison Smartt Bell
Our cultural capital has changed tremendously on its way into the twenty-first century. Manhattan has been secured and sanitized; it's smoke- and trans-fat-free. In the boroughs, many of the old jungles have been cleared as well.
The country is too often assumed to be a backward place: The First World has trouble remembering that Haitians were two centuries ahead of us in abolishing slavery and in extending full rights of citizenship to everyone, regardless of race.
Haiti was founded by African slaves who rose against their European masters, had a revolution, and created a new state. There is no other such event in Western history.
In 'For Whom the Bell Tolls,' Hemingway cozies up to revolution by romanticizing it (and not only with those execrable love scenes).
John Fahey, thought during his lifetime to be possibly more than a little crazy, was the author of some thirty albums of gnomically introverted droning guitar instrumentals, which I listened to heavily in my teens and twenties; I even produced an hour or so of banjo music in an imitative John Fahey style.
Normally, most writers don't say, 'I'm going into a mild hypnotic trance.' Typically, they don't know how they do it. Most people, when they have a good experience writing, they're well placed in that state, which is also sometimes called a 'flow state.' If you don't have trouble, you don't have to think about it.
One can't do anything alone in Haiti. Sharing and cooperation are so deeply woven into the culture that sometimes it's hard to have a separate thought.
To me, there is nothing more soothing than the song of a mosquito that can't get through the mesh to bite you.
I had a house in Haiti, in the hills above the North Atlantic coast. The house appeared as if out of a dream: my dream to have a foothold in the country. Like many concepts do in Haiti, the phrase 'pied a terre' became literal, material.
Hemingway's minimalism is based on the psychological mechanics of repression. An echo of his approach can be detected in a favorite trope of 1980s minimalists: a pattern of reference to dire secrets and hidden wounds these authors didn't realize they were supposed to have imagined.
I don't call myself a very good Christian, but I think I know one when I see one, and I also think I know when I don't.
Since the 1960s, exile for Haitians is a condition that ends only to begin again.
I have always had a mystical attitude toward inspiration. That's my nature.
I had been an abject fan of Robert Stone since the early eighties, when I borrowed a copy of 'A Flag for Sunrise' to read on a plane to Rome. I was twenty-something, with a first novel under my belt.