There are truths which one can only say after having won the right to say them.

The Louvre is a morgue; you go there to identify your friends.

Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.

I have lost my seven best friends, which is to say God has had mercy on me seven times without realizing it. He lent a friendship, took it from me, sent me another.

The reward of art is not fame or success but intoxication: that is why so many bad artists are unable to give it up.

What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.

Tact in audacity is knowing how far you can go without going too far.

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.

An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture.

If a hermit lives in a state of ecstasy, his lack of comfort becomes the height of comfort. He must relinquish it.

Emotion resulting from a work of art is only of value when it is not obtained by sentimental blackmail.

The greatest masterpiece in literature is only a dictionary out of order.

Take a commonplace, clean it and polish it, light it so that it produces the same effect of youth and freshness and originality and spontaneity as it did originally, and you have done a poet's job. The rest is literature.

If it has to choose who is to be crucified, the crowd will always save Barabbas.

Here I am trying to live, or rather, I am trying to teach the death within me how to live.

Commissions suit me. They set limits. Jean Marais dared me to write play in which he would not speak in the first act, would weep for joy in the second and in the last would fall backward down a flight of stairs.

The poet never asks for admiration; he wants to be believed.

Man seeks to escape himself in myth, and does so by any means at his disposal. Drugs, alcohol, or lies. Unable to withdraw into himself, he disguises himself. Lies and inaccuracy give him a few moments of comfort.

I am a lie who always speaks the truth.

It is not I who become addicted, it is my body.

All good music resembles something. Good music stirs by its mysterious resemblance to the objects and feelings which motivated it.

A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.

Art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.

There is always a period when a man with a beard shaves it off. This period does not last. He returns headlong to his beard.

True realism consists in revealing the surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing.

There are too many souls of wood not to love those wooden characters who do indeed have a soul.

Life is a horizontal fall.

The instinct of nearly all societies is to lock up anybody who is truly free. First, society begins by trying to beat you up. If this fails, they try to poison you. If this fails too, the finish by loading honors on your head.

Poetry is indispensable - if I only knew what for.

Art is not a pastime but a priesthood.

The extreme limit of wisdom, that's what the public calls madness.

I believe in luck: how else can you explain the success of those you dislike?

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.

A film is a petrified fountain of thought.

The poet doesn't invent. He listens.

In Paris, everybody wants to be an actor; nobody is content to be a spectator.

Asking an artist to talk about his work is like asking a plant to discuss horticulture.

Everything one does in life, even love, occurs in an express train racing toward death. To smoke opium is to get out of the train while it is still moving. It is to concern oneself with something other than life or death.

Children and lunatics cut the Gordian knot which the poet spends his life patiently trying to untie.

You've never seen death? Look in the mirror every day and you will see it like bees working in a glass hive.

The day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking toward me, without hurrying.

The worst tragedy for a poet is to be admired through being misunderstood.

After the writer's death, reading his journal is like receiving a long letter.

We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?

The ear disapproves but tolerates certain musical pieces; transfer them into the domain of our nose, and we will be forced to flee.

Film will only became an art when its materials are as inexpensive as pencil and paper.

Poets don't draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently.

Mystery has its own mysteries, and there are gods above gods. We have ours, they have theirs. That is what's known as infinity.

Silence moves faster when it's going backward.