Being Irish he had an abiding sense of tragedy which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.
Hard work without talent is a shame but talent without hard work is a tragedy.
All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.
Normally street children are shown in terms of the tragedy of their lives - which is true - but there's also another dimension: their wisdom dignity and enormous capacity for survival.
Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom not a guide by which to live.
Tragedy is like strong acid - it dissolves away all but the very gold of truth.
Tragedy is a hell of a teacher. It's much too strict but it's a hell of a teacher.
The key element in tragedy is that heroes and heroines are destroyed by that which appears to be their greatest strength.
I suppose society is wonderfully delightful. To be in it is merely a bore. But to be out of it is simply a tragedy.
I've never thought of my characters as being sad. On the contrary they are full of life. They didn't choose tragedy. Tragedy chose them.
And in this respect the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a tragedy a clash between one very powerful very convincing very painful claim over this land and another no less powerful no less convincing claim.
There is no tragedy in missing a putt no matter how short. All have erred in this respect.
It isn't fate but fecklessness that has shoved Sarah Palin to the sidelines of national politics. The real tragedy is that she's taken a lot of other serious Republican women with her.
None but a poet can write a tragedy. For tragedy is nothing less than pain transmuted into exaltation by the alchemy of poetry.
The government needs to help those in need but members of Congress shouldn't take advantage of the situation and use a national tragedy as an opportunity to spend taxpayer dollars on their pet projects.
It would behoove the world to become used to this fact: that without a just solution to the Palestine tragedy there can be no stable peace in the Middle East.
And I have lived since - as you have - in a period of cold war during which we have ensured by our achievements in the science and technology of destruction that a third act in this tragedy of war will result in the peace of extinction.
Kids are a great analogy. You want your kids to grow up and you don't want your kids to grow up. You want your kids to become independent of you but it's also a parent's worst nightmare: That they won't need you. It's like the real tragedy of parenting.
Plot rules nor even poetry are not half so great beauties in tragedy or comedy as a just imitation of nature of character of the passions and their operations in diversified situations.
In some ways my gift for music and writing was born out of tragedy really and loss.
I did know Ted Hughes and I partly wrote the book to explain to myself and others the complexities of a marriage that was for six years wonderfully productive of poetry and then ended in tragedy.
The mark of a good marriage is partnership and continuing to feel inspired by your spouse. I had that with Tao. But the end is not necessarily the tragedy. Staying in a relationship that is no longer working is the tragedy. Living unhappily - that's the tragedy.
I love John Irving's stuff. It's that marriage of comedy and tragedy. It's really terrific.
While we have the gift of life it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die - whether it is our spirit our creativity or our glorious uniqueness.