So what did Amalfitano’s students learn? They learned to recite aloud. They memorized the two or three poems that they loved most in order to remember them and recite them at the proper times: funerals, weddings, moments of solitude. They learned that a book was a labyrinth and a desert. That there was nothing more important than ceaseless reading and traveling, perhaps one and the same thing. That when books were read, writers were released from the souls of stones, which is where they went to live after they died, and they moved into the souls of readers as if into a soft prison cell, a cell that later swelled to burst. That all writing systems are frauds. That true poetry resides between the abyss and misfortune and that the grand highway of selfless acts, of the elegance of eyes and the fate of Marcabru, passes near its abode. That the main lesson of literature was courage, a rare courage like a stone well in the middle of a lake district, like a whirlwind and a mirror. That reading wasn’t more comfortable than writing. That by reading one learned to question and remember. That memory was love.
—Robert Bolano, Woes of the True Policeman (via honeyforthehomeless)