Top Quotes from Jerome Charyn

Some readers may be disturbed that I wrote ‘The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson’ in Emily’s own voice. I wasn’t trying to steal her thunder or her music. I simply wanted to imagine my way into the head and heart of Emily Dickinson.

Jerome Charyn

Emily Dickinson has haunted my life – her poems, her persona, all the tales about her solitude. Ever since I discovered her in the seventh grade, I’ve had a crush on that spinster in white, who had such a heroic and startling inner landscape of her own.

Jerome Charyn

It was difficult to find my way into ‘I Am Abraham,’ to feel confident enough to inhabit Lincoln’s persona. I began with a prologue in a neutral voice, wrote of Lincoln at the White House with a sly young reporter quizzing him about his humble origins.

Jerome Charyn

Empire of Self’ is a loving portrait of a very difficult man. Jay Parini, himself a gifted novelist, poet and biographer, has gone very deep into the ‘black energy’ of Gore Vidal’s relentless narcissism and megalomania. Parini envisions an epic battle between Vidal’s angelic and demonic sides, yet there’s very little of the angel in Vidal.

Jerome Charyn

Lincoln prevailed: wearing his green shawl in the White House and gripped with melancholy, his feet constantly cold, he preserved a nation that had begun to unravel, often holding it together with nothing more than the flat of his hand and his unfaltering sense of human worth.

Jerome Charyn

I believe in monstrosities, and ‘I Am Abraham’ is a monstrosity of sorts, raveling out moment by moment with its contrapuntal songs, as if a band of musicians were at play, all of them with Lincoln’s beard and disturbing grey eyes.

Jerome Charyn

I dreamed my way into Lincoln and the details that moved me – his lack of education or ‘civilized’ manners and his deep connection to all humankind.

Jerome Charyn

Only a crazy man would write a novel in Lincoln’s voice.

Jerome Charyn

Many of the writers I admire – Melville, Dickinson, Kafka – were virtually invisible during their lifetimes. Art, I think, often has to dance around in the void.

Jerome Charyn

What I find curious is that I ever became a writer at all. I grew up in the South Bronx, the land of poverty and petty hoodlums.

Jerome Charyn

Compared with my brother, I always felt like Richard III, some clever humpbacked thing who surpassed him in the end. He was the one who read books, but I became the writer. He painted and drew, but I was the one who got accepted by the High School of Music and Art.

Jerome Charyn

I can say without melodrama or malice that Hollywood ruined my life.

Jerome Charyn

We’re the country of movie stars because the stars, like ourselves, represent a kind of extended infantilism, beauties waiting for the big chance.

Jerome Charyn

Suttree’ is a fat one, a book with rude, startling power and a flood of talk. Much of it takes place on the Tennessee River, and Cormac McCarthy, who has written ‘The Orchard Keeper’ and other novels, gives us a sense of river life that reads like a doomed ‘Huckleberry Finn.’

Jerome Charyn