Quotes by John Burnside (Writer/Scottish).

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Every time I write a book, I think how I could be doing it better to please people - a nicer book with nicer characters - but I just can't.
• John Burnside
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I don't want to suggest that matrimony was necessarily a tragic affair - some of our neighbours' marriages seemed quite functional, if somewhat routine; nevertheless, in the workaday world, it is wedlock that is most likely to offer the occasion for life-threatening disappointment.
• John Burnside
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I have never understood why so many gardeners favour straight lines and narrow, regulated borders; perhaps they think wildness could work only in a larger space.
• John Burnside
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For a bird, especially for the more musically inventive, song is the defining characteristic, the primary way by which it knows itself and is known by others. To lose its species song is to lose not just its identity but some part of its presence in the world.
• John Burnside
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Snow isn't just pretty. It also cleanses our world and our senses, not just of the soot and grime of a Fife mining town but also of a kind of weary familiarity, a taken-for-granted quality to which our eyes are all too susceptible.
• John Burnside
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Irrationality interests me more than anything: sometimes it's very dangerous, but it can be incredibly beautiful.
• John Burnside
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For 10 years, I gave away my possessions every year and moved on to a new place.
• John Burnside
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I know that the only reason American landscapes sometimes disappoint me is that, just a century before I was born, the great rivers and prairies and wild forests still existed. And they were sublime.
• John Burnside
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This is a truth that should be repeated like a mantra: to have any chance of a ful - filling life, we require not only clean air and a steady climate, but also an abundance of meadows and woodlands, rivers and oceans, teeming with life and the mass existence of other living creatures.
• John Burnside
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What is essential - the one thing that could stop us being coarsened to other lives - is that we feel a great, living wave of animal life all around us, covering the earth.
• John Burnside
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My first book was a car crash. I tried to find all the copies and destroy them.
• John Burnside
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It may be a cliche, but cliche or not, I fear the day when the only marsh harriers or peregrines I can look at are in paintings by Joseph Wolf or Bruno Liljefors - and no matter how beautiful those works may be, life is the great thing: life, life, life.
• John Burnside
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For the Yupik, all life was continuous, animal with human with 'spirit', and recognising that continuum allowed them to undergo transformations that we, locked into our own disappointingly Cartesian skins, find impossible even to imagine.
• John Burnside
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My father was this big, tough guy, almost heroic in proportion to me as a child. It was only later that I saw how fearful he was.
• John Burnside
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A mad person isn't someone who sees what isn't there; he's someone who sees what is there but that others can't see. I really believe that.
• John Burnside
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For a boy of ten, used to the coal bings and rust-coloured burns of Cowdenbeath, the fields and woodland of Kingswood, with its overgrown but stately avenue of copper-barked sequoias, felt like a local version of paradise.
• John Burnside
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The only pleasure in redecorating or moving house comes from stumbling across books that I'd almost forgotten I owned.
• John Burnside
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Andoya is in a different world, set at the northern edge of Europe in what seems to be a time and weather of its own.
• John Burnside
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The woods were a boon; all too often, the forest offered danger and mystery. Yet it could be liberating. If you entered that wild place on its own terms, you might be accorded wisdom.
• John Burnside
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What the flamingo teaches a child, at that subliminal level where animal encounters work, is that gravity is not just a limitation, but also a possible partner in an intriguing, potentially joyful game.
• John Burnside
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Poetry stands or falls by its music.
• John Burnside
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Once upon a time, forests were repositories of magic for the human race.
• John Burnside
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With human beings it could be argued that all music-making is, in essence, grounded in improvisation.
• John Burnside
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My second, third and fourth novels were mistakes, essentially.
• John Burnside
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The poem builds in my mind and sits there, as if in a register, until the poem, or a piece of a longer poem, is finished enough to write down. I can hold several lines in my head for quite some time, but as soon as they are written down, the register clears, as it were, and I have to work with what is on the paper.
• John Burnside

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