#WordWeek: Writers on Words

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Samuel Beckett Looking at Parrot, New York, 1964
Samuel Beckett Looking at Parrot, New York, 1964Photography by Steve Schapiro

To mark the start of #WordWeek on Anothermag.com, we pick our favourite quotes on the power of words

Where would we be without words? The unsung heros of our daily existence, words offer expression to emotion, lend clarity to the metaphysical, and translate the illogical. In collaboration with The Design Museum, AnOthermag.com's #WordWeek is an exploration of the interrelationship between words, typography and fashion; paying homage to the indelible power of the written and spoken word across arts and culture. Writers have a closer relationship than anyone else with words, weilding them, whipping them to create worlds and emotions. For the writer, words can be evasive at times, at others cruel, but they are a necessity. As Virginia Woolf said, "When I cannot see words curling like rings of smoke round me, I am in darkness – I am nothing.”

So here, to celebrate the start of #WordWeek, and in anticipation of AnOthermag.com's celebration of Words and Fashion at the Design Museum tomorrow night, we present our favourite writers, on words.

"All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time" – Ernest Hemingway

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind” – Rudyard Kipling

"But words are things, and a small drop of ink/Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces/That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think" – Lord Byron

"I would define, in brief, the Poetry of words as The Rhythmical Creation of Beauty" – Edgar Allan Poe

“The next time you try to seduce anyone, don't do it with talk, with words. Women know more about words than men ever will. And they know how little they can ever possibly mean” – William Faulkner

“A word is dead when it's been said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day” – Emily Dickinson

"Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with the shades of deeper meaning" – Maya Angelou

“Actions are the first tragedy in life, words are the second. Words are perhaps the worst. Words are merciless...” Oscar Wilde

"Prose: words in their best order; poetry: the best words, in the best order" – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"You can stroke people with words" – F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Do not say a little in many words, but a great deal in a few" – Pythagoras

“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language” – W.H. Auden

"In words are seen the state of mind and character and disposition of the speaker" – Plutarch

"For words, like Nature, half reveal/And half conceal the Soul within" – Alfred Lord Tennyson

"Words are all we have" – Samuel Beckett

Words & Fashion: Alexander Fury, Gareth Hague & Caroline Murray in conversation with Laura Bradley, is at the Design Museum on Tuesday July 28. Tickets on sale now.

Text by Abigail Gurney-Read