- Birthday, Books, Quotes, Reading, Writing

“Be plural, like the universe!”


Happy birthday, Fernando Pessoa! Here are some quotes from his writing.

“To pretend is to know oneself.”

“Could it think, the heart would stop beating.”

“To write is to forget.”

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been me.”

“Direct experience is the evasion, or hiding place of those devoid of imagination.”

“The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd: the longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create a raw landscape within us, a sun eternally setting on what we are.”

“I have no ambitions nor desires.
To be a poet is not my ambition,
It’s simply my way of being alone.”

“I’m beginning to know myself. I don’t exist. I’m the gap between what I’d like to be and what others have made me.”

“Every man who deserves to be famous knows it is not worth the trouble.”

“Myth is the nothing that is everything.”

“Without madness what is man
more than the healthy beast,
corpse adjourned that procreates?”

“I am nothing.
Never shall be anything.
Cannot will to be anything.
This apart, I have in me all the dreams of the world.”

“Solitude desolates me; company oppresses me.”

“I’m upset by the happiness of all these men who don’t know they’re unhappy. […] Because of that, though, I love them all. Dear vegetables!”

“When I write, I solemnly visit myself.”


  • John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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