Top 26 A. R. Ammons Quotes of 2020

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“Is it not careless to become too local when there are four hundred billion stars in our galaxy alone.”

― A. R. Ammons

“Anything looked at closely becomes wonderful.”

― A. R. Ammons

“In nature there are few sharp lines.”

― A. R. Ammons

“You have your identity when you find out, not what you can keep your mind on, but what you can’t keep your mind off.”

― A. R. Ammons

“If we ask a vague question, such as, ‘What is poetry?’ we expect a vague answer, such as, ‘Poetry is the music of words,’ or ‘Poetry is the linguistic correction of disorder.’”

― A. R. Ammons

“Poetry leads us to the unstructured sources of our beings, to the unknown, and returns us to our rational, structured selves refreshed.”

― A. R. Ammons

“Once every five hundred years or so, a summary statement about poetry comes along that we can’t imagine ourselves living without.”

― A. R. Ammons

“For though we often need to be restored to the small, concrete, limited, and certain, we as often need to be reminded of the large, vague, unlimited, unknown.”

― A. R. Ammons

“Everything is discursive opinion instead of direct experience.”

― A. R. Ammons

“I take the walk to be the externalization of an interior seeking so that the analogy is first of all between the external and the internal.”

― A. R. Ammons

“Even if you walk exactly the same route each time – as with a sonnet – the events along the route cannot be imagined to be the same from day to day, as the poet’s health, sight, his anticipations, moods, fears, thoughts cannot be the same.”

― A. R. Ammons

“There’s something to be said in favor of working in isolation in the real world.”

― A. R. Ammons

“If the greatest god is the stillness all the motions add up to, then we must ineluctably be included.”

― A. R. Ammons

“Questions structure and, so, to some extent predetermine answers.”

― A. R. Ammons

“Only silence perfects silence.”

― A. R. Ammons

“A poem generated by its own laws may be unrealized and bad in terms of so-called objective principles of taste, judgement, deduction.”

― A. R. Ammons

“Probably all the attention to poetry results in some value, though the attention is more often directed to lesser than to greater values.”

― A. R. Ammons

“I am grateful for – though I can’t keep up with – the flood of articles, theses, and textbooks that mean to share insight concerning the nature of poetry.”

― A. R. Ammons

“Definition, rationality, and structure are ways of seeing, but they become prisons when they blank out other ways of seeing.”

― A. R. Ammons

“Each poem in becoming generates the laws by which it is generated: extensions of the laws to other poems never completely take.”

― A. R. Ammons

“If a poem is each time new, then it is necessarily an act of discovery, a chance taken, a chance that may lead to fulfillment or disaster.”

― A. R. Ammons

“The poet exposes himself to the risk. All that has been said about poetry, all that he has learned about poetry, is only a partial assurance.”

― A. R. Ammons

“That’s a wonderful change that’s taken place, and so most poetry today is published, if not directly by the person, certainly by the enterprise of the poet himself, working with his friends.”

― A. R. Ammons

“I can’t tell you where a poem comes from, what it is, or what it is for: nor can any other man. The reason I can’t tell you is that the purpose of a poem is to go past telling, to be recognised by burning.”

― A. R. Ammons

“I must stress here the point that I appreciate clarity, order, meaning, structure, rationality: they are necessary to whatever provisional stability we have, and they can be the agents of gradual and successful change.”

― A. R. Ammons

“Besides the actual reading in class of many poems, I would suggest you do two things: first, while teaching everything you can and keeping free of it, teach that poetry is a mode of discourse that differs from logical exposition.”

― A. R. Ammons
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