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Poetry Quotes:

Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.

Rita Dove

The poet may be used as a barometer, but let us not forget that he is also part of the weather.

Lionel Trilling

Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.

Salvatore Quasimodo

The job of the poet is to render the world – to see it and report it without loss, without perversion. No poet ever talks about feelings. Only sentimental people do.

Mark Van Doren

Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original human mind. It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private.

Allen Ginsberg

He could not die when trees were green, for he loved the time too well.

John Clare

Even when poetry has a meaning, as it usually has, it may be inadvisable to draw it out… Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure.

A. E. Housman

If you read quickly to get through a poem to what it means, you have missed the body of the poem.

M. H. Abrams

Poetry is ordinary language raised to the Nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.

Paul Engle

One will never again look at a birch tree, after the Robert Frost poem, in exactly the same way.

Paul Muldoon

There’ll always be working people in my poems because I grew up with them, and I am a poet of memory.

Philip Levine

No poem is easily grasped; so why should any reader expect fast results?

John Barton

Sometimes poetry is inspired by the conversation entered into by reading other poems.

John Barton

Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry.

Muriel Rukeyser

Reality only reveals itself when it is illuminated by a ray of poetry.

Georges Braque

Poetry is that art which selects and arranges the symbols of thought in such a manner as to excite the imagination the most powerfully and delightfully.

William Cullen Bryant

I intended an Ode, And it turned to a Sonnet.

Henry Austin Dobson

I sometimes talk about the making of a poem within the poem.

Howard Nemerov

It may be said that poems are in one way like icebergs: only about a third of their bulk appears above the surface of the page.

Howard Nemerov

Everyone thinks they’re going to write one book of poems or one novel.

Marilyn Hacker

A poem might be defined as thinking about feelings – about human feelings and frailties.

Anne Stevenson

Each word bears its weight, so you have to read my poems quite slowly.

Anne Stevenson

I like poems that are little games.

Peter Davison

Usually a life turned into a poem is misrepresented.

Mark Strand

Pain is filtered in a poem so that it becomes finally, in the end, pleasure.

Mark Strand

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.

Robert Frost

I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I’ll die like a poet.

Bob Dylan

Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.

T. S. Eliot

If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.

Emily Dickinson

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.

Leonard Cohen

A poem is never finished, only abandoned.

Paul Valery

A poet can survive everything but a misprint.

Oscar Wilde

All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.

Oscar Wilde

Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.

Aristotle

Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.

Plato

I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.

Socrates

When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.

John F. Kennedy

One merit of poetry few persons will deny: it says more and in fewer words than prose.

Voltaire

Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.

Khalil Gibran

Poetry is what gets lost in translation.

Robert Frost

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.

Robert Frost

I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything.

Steven Wright

I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty.

Edgar Allan Poe

T. S. Eliot

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.

T. S. Eliot

What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music.

Soren Kierkegaard

Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth.

Samuel Johnson

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.

William Wordsworth

The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

Gilbert K. Chesterton

God is the perfect poet.

Robert Browning

If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for the Creator, there is no poverty.

Rainer Maria Rilke

If my poetry aims to achieve anything, it’s to deliver people from the limited ways in which they see and feel.

Jim Morrison

Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.

Plutarch

To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one.

John Ruskin

A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself.

E. M. Forster

Poetry should… should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.

John Keats

Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by singularity, it should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.

John Keats

‘Therefore’ is a word the poet must not know.

Andre Gide

A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.

W. H. Auden

The crown of literature is poetry.

W. Somerset Maugham

Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.

Audre Lorde

Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life.

William Hazlitt

Everything one invents is true, you may be perfectly sure of that. Poetry is as precise as geometry.

Gustave Flaubert

No poems can please for long or live that are written by water drinkers.

Horace

When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.

Niels Bohr

Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you.

Joseph Joubert

He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never written a line in all his life.

George Sand

Any healthy man can go without food for two days – but not without poetry.

Charles Baudelaire

Always be a poet, even in prose.

Charles Baudelaire

Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.

Carl Sandburg

Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.

Carl Sandburg

Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during the moment.

Carl Sandburg

Poetry, even when apparently most fantastic, is always a revolt against artifice, a revolt, in a sense, against actuality.

James Joyce

If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the inquisition might have let him alone.

Thomas Hardy

Poetry: the best words in the best order.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.

Salman Rushdie

The fact of the matter is that the most unexpected and miraculous thing in my life was the arrival in it of poetry itself – as a vocation and an elevation almost.

Seamus Heaney

To read a poem is to hear it with our eyes; to hear it is to see it with our ears.

Octavio Paz

Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.

Don Marquis

The poet doesn’t invent. He listens.

Jean Cocteau

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

Jean Cocteau

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.

Jean Cocteau

If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.

David Carradine

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.

Novalis

A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman.

Wallace Stevens

I have nothing to say, I am saying it, and that is poetry.

John Cage

There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.

John Cage

There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.

Robert Graves

A poet must be a psychologist, but a secret one: he should know and feel the roots of phenomena but present only the phenomena themselves in full bloom or as they fade away.

Ivan Turgenev

You don’t have to suffer to be a poet; adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.

John Ciardi

Poetry lies its way to the truth.

John Ciardi

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it’s the exact opposite.

Paul Dirac

Every single soul is a poem.

Michael Franti

Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.

Marianne Moore

Poetry is the mother-tongue of the human race.

Johann Georg Hamann

Each memorable verse of a true poet has two or three times the written content.

Alfred de Musset

However, if a poem can be reduced to a prose sentence, there can’t be much to it.

James Schuyler

How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.

Robert Penn Warren

The poem is a little myth of man’s capacity of making life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see-it is, rather, a light by which we may see-and what we see is life.

Robert Penn Warren

You don’t make a poem with ideas, but with words.

Stephane Mallarme

A poem can have an impact, but you can’t expect an audience to understand all the nuances.

Douglas Dunn

Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them.

Charles Simic

Wanted: a needle swift enough to sew this poem into a blanket.

Charles Simic

Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them.

Dennis Gabor

Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.

Albert Einstein

All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.

Edgar Allan Poe

The poetry of the earth is never dead.

John Keats

One difference between poetry and lyrics is that lyrics sort of fade into the background. They fade on the page and live on the stage when set to music.

Stephen Sondheim

When you write poetry you are always addressing the world somehow.

John Cooper Clarke

I had a strong propensity, which I still have, to be invisible. In grade school, I’d try to disappear and become formless. I lived in a very imaginary world. I loved poetry and wrote my first novel when I was 9. It was about a little girl and the people she met in the woods.

Amanda Plummer

I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business.

Henry David Thoreau

I liked to write from the time I was about 12 or 13. I loved to read. And since I only spoke to my brother, I would write down my thoughts. And I think I wrote some of the worst poetry west of the Rockies. But by the time I was in my 20s, I found myself writing little essays and more poetry – writing at writing.

Maya Angelou

I wrote some of the worst poetry west from the Mississippi River, but I wrote. And I finally sometimes got it right.

Maya Angelou

The poetry you read has been written for you, each of you – black, white, Hispanic, man, woman, gay, straight.

Maya Angelou

I know some people might think it odd – unworthy even – for me to have written a cookbook, but I make no apologies. The U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins thought I had demeaned myself by writing poetry for Hallmark Cards, but I am the people’s poet so I write for the people.

Maya Angelou

I find in my poetry and prose the rhythms and imagery of the best – I mean, when I’m at my best – of the good Southern black preachers. The lyricism of the spirituals and the directness of gospel songs and the mystery of blues are in my music or in my poetry and prose, or I missed everything.

Maya Angelou

Human beings love poetry. They don’t even know it sometimes… whether they’re the songs of Bono, or the songs of Justin Bieber… they’re listening to poetry.

Maya Angelou

I’ve always written. There’s a journal which I kept from about 9 years old. The man who gave it to me lived across the street from the store and kept it when my grandmother’s papers were destroyed. I’d written some essays. I loved poetry, still do. But I really, really loved it then.

Maya Angelou

In all my work, in the movies I write, the lyrics, the poetry, the prose, the essays, I am saying that we may encounter many defeats – maybe it’s imperative that we encounter the defeats – but we are much stronger than we appear to be and maybe much better than we allow ourselves to be. Human beings are more alike than unalike.

Maya Angelou

The moment of change is the only poem.

Adrienne Rich

I still read Donne, particularly his love poems.

Carol Ann Duffy

A poet’s autobiography is his poetry. Anything else is just a footnote.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words.

John Fowles

Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.

Thomas Gray

Poetry is the deification of reality.

Edith Sitwell

The novel is born of disillusionment; the poem, of despair.

Jose Bergamin

What is Poetry?

Poetry is a genre of literature that uses the esthetic and sometimes rhythmic qualities of language such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and meter to elicit meanings in addition to, or in place of, the ostensible prosaic significance.