everything contemporary

If he doesn’t put down the contemporary thing, he isn’t a great writer, for he has to live in the past. That is what I mean by “everything is contemporary.” The minor poets of the period, or the precious poets of the period, are all people who are under the shadow of the past. A man who is making a revolution has to be contemporary. A minor person can live in the imagination.

—Gertrude Stein, How Writing Is Written: Volume II of the Uncollected Writing of Gertrude Stein (Black Sparrow Press, 1974), edited by Robert Bartlett Haas

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