Laura Riding

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They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world. Someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.
Allan K. Chalmers
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Laura Riding (1901-01-161991-09-02) was a controversial modernist American poet and literary critic, associated initially with the Fugitives and later with Robert Graves. She was born Laura Reichenthal, and her married names were Laura Riding Gottschalk and Laura (Riding) Jackson.


  • There is a sense of life so real that it becomes the sense of something more real than life…It is the meaning at work in what has no meaning; it is, at its clearest, poetry.
    • Contemporaries and Snobs (London: Jonathan Cape, 1928) p. 9.
  • Forgive me, giver, if I destroy the gift.
    It is so nearly what would please me
    I cannot but perfect it.
    • Poet: A Lying Word (London: Arthur Barker, 1933) p. 37.
  • If what you write is true, it will not be so because of what you are as a writer but because of what you are as a being. There can be no literary equivalent to truth. If, in writing, truth is the quality of what is said, told, this is not a literary achievement: it is a simple human achievement.
    • "Extracts from Communications", from The Telling (London: Athlone Press, 1972).
  • Art, whose honesty must work through artifice, cannot avoid cheating truth. Poetic art cheats truth to further and finer degrees than art of any other kind because the spoken word is its exclusive medium.
    • Preface to Selected Poems (New York: W. W. Norton, 1973).
  • To a poet the mere making of a poem can seem to solve the problem of truth…but only a problem of art is solved in poetry.
    • Preface to Selected Poems (New York: W. W. Norton, 1973).

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