1. "Self-contemplation is a curse That makes an old confusion worse."
- Quote by Theodore Roethke
2. "I must have made a pitiful, indeed pitiable impression on an observer, though there was none – unless I'm going to say that I am an observer of myself, which is stupid, since I am my own observer anyway: I've actually been observing myself for years, if not for decades; my life now consists only of self-observation and self-contemplation, which naturally leads to self-condemnation, self-rejection and self-mockery. For years I have lived in this state of self-condemnation, self-abnegation and self mockery, in which ultimately I always have to take refuge in order to save myself. But all the time I ask myself what I have to save myself from?"
- Thomas Bernhard, Concrete
3. "When he was in college, a famous poet made a useful distinction for him. He had drunk enough in the poet's company to be compelled to describe to him a poem he was thinking of. It would be a monologue of sorts, the self-contemplation of a student on a summer afternoon who is reading Euphues. The poem itself would be a subtle series of euphuisms, translating the heat, the day, the student's concerns, into symmetrical posies; translating even his contempt and boredom with that famously foolish book into a euphuism. The poet nodded his big head in a sympathetic, rhythmic way as this was explained to him, then told him that there are two kinds of poems. There is the kind you write; there is the kind you talk about in bars. Both kinds have value and both are poems; but it's fatal to confuse them. In the Seventh Saint, many years later, it had struck him that the difference between himself and Shakespeare wasn't talent - not especially - but nerve. The capacity not to be frightened by his"
- John Crowley, Novelty: Four Stories