Top 1726 Poetry Quotes of 2020

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“I was proud my father spoke Arabic fluently – his father sent him to learn Arabic from a sheikh – and we had Arab friends. His task of understanding the Arabs – not only politics but poetry – was very important; he took it as a vocation.”

― A. B. Yehoshua

“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

“I could no more define poetry than a terrier can define a rat.”

― A. E. Housman

“If a line of poetry strays into my memory, my skin bristles so that the razor ceases to act.”

― A. E. Housman

“Poetry comes from the highest happiness or the deepest sorrow.”

― A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

“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

“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

“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

“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

“In high school, my English teacher Celeste McMenamin introduced me to the great novels and Shakespeare and taught me how to write. Essays, poetry, critical analysis. Writing is a skill that was painful then but a love of mine now.”

― Aaron Lazar

“So now I have a collection of poetry by Aaron Neville and I give it to people I want to share it with. I’d like to publish it someday.”

― Aaron Neville

“I write poetry on my iPhone. I’ve got about 100 poems on there.”

― Aaron Neville

“In the total darkness, poetry is still there, and it is there for you.”

― Abbas Kiarostami

“Poetry always runs away from you – it’s very difficult to grasp it, and every time you read it, depending on your conditions, you will have a different grasp of it. Whereas with a novel, once you have read it, you have grasped it.”

― Abbas Kiarostami

“I love to read poetry but I haven’t written anything that I’m willing to show anybody.”

― Abraham Verghese

“I love all kinds of music. My dad’s from London, so he loves David Bowie, the Stones, The Clash. I grew up with that influence while loving poetry and loving all kinds of current music.”

― Adam Hicks

“I think the poetry that came out of Belfast, and especially the Queen’s University set, in the 1970s and ’80s – you know, Paul Muldoon and Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon and Ciaran Carson – that was probably the finest body of work since the Gaelic renaissance, up there with the work of Yeats and Synge and Lady Gregory.”

― Adrian McKinty

“Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people.”

― Adrian Mitchell

“Stadium rock and commercial rock are the opposite of what poetry needs. An audience of around 200 is ideal for poetry.”

― Adrian Mitchell

“Written poetry is different. Best thing is to see it in performance first, then read it. Performance is more provocative.”

― Adrian Mitchell

“The moment of change is the only poem.”

― Adrienne Rich

“Poetry is above all a concentration of the power of language, which is the power of our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe.”

― Adrienne Rich

“At twenty, I implicitly dissociated poetry from politics.”

― Adrienne Rich

“Poetry can’t give us the laws and institutions and representatives, the antidotes we need: only public activism by massive numbers of citizens can do that.”

― Adrienne Rich

“I want to gesture toward a poetry of ourselves and others under the conditions of twenty-first-century absolutism, making us dimensional in a time when the human concrete is continually erased by state and religious violence and by disingenuous jargon serving state power.”

― Adrienne Rich

“Granted, I’m someone who loves words. I’ve always loved poetry – so it’s suited to me.”

― Aimee Bender

“Rap is rhythm and poetry. Hip-hop is storytelling and poetry as well.”

― Ajay Naidu

“The claims I’m making for art are simply the claims that we naturally make around music or around poetry. We’re much more relaxed around those art forms. We’re willing to ask, ‘How could this find a place in my heart?’”

― Alain de Botton

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

― Albert Einstein

“I am a writer, which means I write stories, I write novels, and I would write poetry if I knew how to. I don’t want to limit myself.”

― Aleksandar Hemon

“I wrote poetry, journals, and, especially, plays for the neighborhood kids to perform. I had an ordinary, happy childhood. Nothing much was going on, but I had fun.”

― Alex Flinn

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

― Alfred de Musset

“But it is the province of religion, of philosophy, of pure poetry only, to go beyond life, beyond time, into eternity.”

― Alfred de Vigny

“I have not the slightest pretension to call my verses poetry; I write now and then for no other purpose than to relieve depression or to improve my English.”

― Alfred Nobel

“I did literature at university, so I had a real relationship with poetry, but they don’t make many films about the world of a poet.”

― Alice Eve

“The language of the Catholic Church – the liturgy, the prayer, the gospels – was in many ways my first poetry.”

― Alice McDermott

“I read a little bit of nonfiction and a lot of poetry. I think of poetry as my shot of whiskey when I don’t have time to savor a whole bottle of wine.”

― Alice McDermott

“I believed in fictional characters as if they were a part of real life. Poetry was important, too. My parents had memorized poems from their days attending school in New York City and loved reciting them. We all enjoyed listening to these poems and to music as well.”

― Alice McDermott

“One of the rules of Greek lament poetry is that it mustn’t mention the dead by name in case of invoking a ghost. Maybe the ‘Iliad,’ crowded with names, is more than a poem. Maybe it’s a dangerous piece of the brightness of both this world and the next.”

― Alice Oswald

“If you put a real leaf and a silk leaf side by side, you’ll see something of the difference between Homer’s poetry and anyone else’s. There seem to be real leaves still alive in the ‘Iliad,’ real animals, real people, real light attending everything.”

― Alice Oswald

“At eight, I made a commitment to poetry. Until then, I thought I’d be a policeman. But I went a whole night without sleeping, and the next day the world had changed. It needed a different language.”

― Alice Oswald

“I think it’s often assumed that the role of poetry is to comfort, but for me, poetry is the great unsettler. It questions the established order of the mind. It is radical, by which I don’t mean that it is either leftwing or rightwing, but that it works at the roots of thinking.”

― Alice Oswald

“I’d like to go back to poetry again. I really, really revere good poetry. It’s been my private discipline.”

― Alice Sebold

“Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.”

― Alice Walker

“For me, I used to be shy towards journalism because it wasn’t poetry. And then I realized that the events that I covered in essays that became journalism were actually great because they inspired me, and they became my muse.”

― Alice Walker

“There are things that neuroscience is useful for in terms of understanding behavior, but there are also things it is not all that useful for, like understanding the nuances of our reactions to poetry.”

― Alissa Quart

“Civic poetry is public poetry. It is political poetry. It is about the hard stuff of life: money, crime, gender, corporate excess, racial injustice. It gives expression not just to our rites but also to our problems and even our values; these poems are not about rustic vacations.”

― Alissa Quart

“Civic poetry offers us a way to think and talk about issues that so much of public speech ignores, to make them new by dissecting and repurposing public speech, prying its falsehoods from its half-truths. It is fighting for its right to critique our would-be democracy.”

― Alissa Quart

“Piercing minds go mute around poetry. It is imagined to be overly technical, like advanced arithmetic; otherworldly, priestess-like; suffocatingly personal; excessively decorative; exhaustingly bourgeois or tiringly avant-garde.”

― Alissa Quart

“There is a set of emotions around money and new technology and advertising and that sort of thing, and there is this kind of changing, transforming way we go through the world happening. The lyrical eye, the perspective of poetry, can get to something like this when other forms of writing can’t.”

― Alissa Quart

“I really like writing poetry and lyrics because it’s one thing where I give up control. I don’t feel like I need to be in control of it. I just sort of let it happen, and then I know when it’s done. I know when it’s finished.”

― Alissa White-Gluz

“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

“The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That’s what poetry does.”

― Allen Ginsberg

“Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It’s that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that’s what the poet does.”

― Allen Ginsberg

“I want people to bow as they see me and say he is gifted with poetry, he has seen the presence of the creator.”

― Allen Ginsberg

“There is probably nothing wrong with art for art’s sake if we take the phrase seriously, and not take it to mean the kind of poetry written in England forty years ago.”

― Allen Tate

“Serious poetry deals with the fundamental conflicts that cannot be logically resolved: we can state the conflicts rationally, but reason does not relieve us of them.”

― Allen Tate

“I am not ridiculing verbal mechanisms, dreams, or repressions as origins of poetry; all three of them and more besides may have a great deal to do with it.”

― Allen Tate

“How does one happen to write a poem: where does it come from? That is the question asked by the psychologists or the geneticists of poetry.”

― Allen Tate

“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 don’t think it’s always good to read lots of poetry.”

― Amber Tamblyn

“The major poets of New Jersey have all suffered, whether it’s Whitman, who lost his job for ‘Leaves of Grass,’ or William Carlos Williams, who was called a communist, or Ginsberg, whose ‘Howl’ was prosecuted, or myself. If you practise poetry the way I think it needs to be done, you’re going to put yourself in jeopardy.”

― Amiri Baraka

“Ideally, I’d like to write poetry for public performances and prose for a different, more contemplative kind of consumption.”

― Amitava Kumar

“In the poetry of immigrants, nostalgia is as common as confetti at parades or platitudes at political conventions.”

― Amitava Kumar

“There is a great deal of freshness and charm in ‘400 Blows.’ There is also a great deal of visual poetry in the way in which Truffaut’s camera looks at his beloved city.”

― Amitava Kumar

“I often read poetry to ‘warm up’ before I write.”

― Amity Gaige

“Women who are inclined to write poetry at all are inspired by being mad at something.”

― Amy Clampitt

“Film and TV are the most popular mediums in America. Literature and poetry are possibly the most under-recognized art forms.”

― Amy Gerstler

“With contemporary poetry having approximately as many fans outside the immediate field as there are devotees of undergoing knee surgery, any sentient, breathing reader who’s genuinely interested in poetry… not scared of it… seems a godsend.”

― Amy Gerstler

“I don’t like scaring people off. When I tell people I’m a writer, they look kind of interested. Then I tell them that I write poetry, and they think I’m weird.”

― Amy Gerstler

“Most people who write and publish poetry teach or do something else.”

― Amy Gerstler

“Poetry. I read Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Jane Hirschfield. I like to read Billy Collins out loud.”

― Amy Tan

“I always wrote poetry and stuff like that, so putting songs together wasn’t that spectacular.”

― Amy Winehouse

“Lapped in poetry, wrapped in the picturesque, armed with logical sentences and inalienable words.”

― Anatole Broyard

“’Therefore’ is a word the poet must not know.”

― Andre Gide

“I think it’s really hard to move between genres, and I think, especially in Britain, we’re very judgmental about it – me included. I know that when an actor comes out with some poetry or an album, I think, ‘Oh crikey, what’s this going to be like?’”

― Andrea Riseborough

“Romanians have a particular love for poetry and have a beautiful, vivid language. The poets they love are not versifiers like Vadim Tudor, but genuinely complex mystical souls like Mircea Cartarescu.”

― Andrei Codrescu

“Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart.”

― Andres Segovia

“I don’t write poetry and then strum some chords and then fit the words on top of the chords.”

― Andrew Bird

“I’m not precisely saying that a really good board meeting at the MLA (Museums, Libraries and Archives Coucil) makes me want to go and write poetry, but there is a pleasure in doing that sort of thing well.”

― Andrew Motion

“Poetry is at the centre of my life, too, emotionally speaking, and intellectually speaking – it’s just that I’m one of those people who enjoy doing other stuff as well.”

― Andrew Motion

“I wish I’d been better able to resist the sense of obligation to write some of the poems I did. It’s in the nature of commissioned work to be written too much from the side of your mind that knows what it’s doing, which dries up the poetry.”

― Andrew Motion

“In a general way, I want to be a kind of flag-waver, bunting hanger-up, drum-beater, you name it, for poetry.”

― Andrew Motion

“Thanks partly to the kind of poets that we now have and partly to funding, there’s been a gigantic shift in the way poetry is perceived… Poems on the Underground, poets in schools, football clubs, zoos.”

― Andrew Motion

“I wanted to reimagine the role, in a way that was respectful of its traditional responsibilities but made them part of a wider pattern of poetry about national incidents, events, preoccupations; and to spend a great deal of time going to schools trying to demystify poetry.”

― Andrew Motion

“More people are reading poetry now than at any time in the history of the human race.”

― Andrew Motion

“While also, importantly, not wanting to dumb it down or pretend the days of ‘difficult’ poetry are over, because we live in a pluralist culture and there’s room for ‘difficult’ poetry alongside rap and everything else. And poetry won’t be for everyone, but everyone should have the choice.”

― Andrew Motion

“I had always been literary, in the sense of loving poetry and discovering novels, but I found my voice, as they say, in an office full of elderly people who looked after blind ex-servicemen.”

― Andrew O’Hagan

“Definitely for writing, what inspires me is poetry, which I have next to me all the time because I think they’re doing what I’m doing, but much harder, more condensed. It’s the same job, but they’re more talented. All of them. So I just steal openly from them.”

― Andrew Sean Greer

“I’m looking for a guy who makes you want to dance and write poetry all day long.”

― Angela Sarafyan

“Sometimes the beauty is easy. Sometimes you don’t have to try at all. Sometimes you can hear the wind blow in a handshake. Sometimes there’s poetry written right on the bathroom wall.”

― Ani DiFranco

“Conversation may be compared to a lyre with seven chords – philosophy, art, poetry, love, scandal, and the weather.”

― Anna Jameson

“There is little premium in poetry in a world that thinks of Pound and Whitman as a weight and a sampler, not an Ezra, a Walt, a thing of beauty, a joy forever.”

― Anna Quindlen

“I never had much education in English poetry as such.”

― Anne Carson

“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 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.”

― Anne Stevenson

“I don’t like poetry that just slaps violent words on a canvas, as it were.”

― Anne Stevenson

“I have always made my own rules, in poetry as in life – though I have tried of late to cooperate more with my family. I do, however, believe that without order or pattern poetry is useless.”

― Anne Stevenson

“I’m not really quiet or shy. Ask any of my friends! But I always ground my poetry in life itself. Poetry is an art of language, though, so I am always aware of every word’s meaning, or multiple meanings.”

― Anne Stevenson

“Poets should ignore most criticism and get on with making poetry.”

― Anne Stevenson

“I’ve cancelled all my subscriptions to poetry magazines. I prefer to read the ‘New Scientist.’”

― Anne Stevenson

“I truly hate marketing promotions, and I don’t at all approve of encouraging wannabe poets to write bad poetry.”

― Anne Stevenson

“We have a motto at Naropa: ‘Keep the world safe for poetry.’ It’s humorous but has some real bite to it. If the world is safe for poetry, it can be safe for many other things.”

― Anne Waldman

“I know when I go to a poetry reading, I feel purged, exulted. You let the poet guide you through some kind of journey.”

― Anne Waldman

“When I attended the Berkeley Poetry Conference in 1965, I was very inspired. The collaboration of many poets from these alternative traditions – though there were not enough women – who were very much more influenced by, say, Asian forms or by Mantra or by thinking politically through their work in deeper ways really stuck with me.”

― Anne Waldman

“I want to branch out. I want to write. I write poetry. I want to see my children grow up well.”

― Annie Lennox

“Poetry operates by hints and dark suggestions. It is full of secrets and hidden formulae, like a witch’s brew.”

― Anthony Hecht

“There’s not a good poet I know who has not at the beck and call of his memory a vast quantity of poetry that composes his mental library.”

― Anthony Hecht

“I wish you would read a little poetry sometimes. Your ignorance cramps my conversation.”

― Anthony Hope

“I learn poetry, learn text, and that really keeps you alive.”

― Anthony Hopkins

“Written poetry is worth reading once, and then should be destroyed. Let the dead poets make way for others.”

― Antonin Artaud

“I got scouted for modeling on the street. I’m such a tomboy – still am. I just never thought about modeling before, but I thought, ‘Ooh, interesting, similar world, perhaps it’s a way into something.’ Then, I was on my third photo shoot ever, and Adam Leech from ‘Downtown Abbey’ saw me reading poetry and asked me to recite some.”

― Anya Taylor-Joy

“I think there’s a certain poetry to having your body reflect what you feel inside of you. Perhaps you have a feeling that’s so pure, or overwhelming inside of you that your body disfigures to it – contortions match your confusion.”

― Arca

“Journalism is concerned with events, poetry with feelings. Journalism is concerned with the look of the world, poetry with the feel of the world.”

― Archibald MacLeish

“Journalism wishes to tell what it is that has happened everywhere as though the same things had happened for every man. Poetry wishes to say what it is like for any man to be himself in the presence of a particular occurrence as though only he were alone there.”

― Archibald MacLeish

“In rap music, even though the element of poetry is very strong, so is the element of the drum, the implication of the dance. Without the beat, its commercial value would certainly be more tenuous.”

― Archie Shepp

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

― Aristotle

“Hence poetry is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are rather of the nature of universals, whereas those of history are singulars.”

― Aristotle

“My all time favourite films – one is ‘Mary Poppins,’ and the other one is ‘Pakeezah.’ ‘Pakeezah’ was an Indian film. The beauty of ‘Pakeezah’ was that it had a soundtrack which was pure poetry.”

― Art Malik

“Poetry, especially traditional Iranian poetry, is very good at looking at things from a number of different angles simultaneously.”

― Asghar Farhadi

“Maybe it is something to do with age, but I have become fonder of poetry than of prose.”

― Aung San Suu Kyi

“In these days of our new materialistic Irish state, poetry will have a harder, less picturesque task. But the loss of Yeats and all that boundless activity, in a country where the mind is feared and avoided, leaves a silence which it is painful to contemplate.”

― Austin Clarke

“Few realise that English poetry is rather like the British constitution, surrounded by pompous precedents and reverences.”

― Austin Clarke

“Reform and exchange in English poetry are as slow as in the British constitution itself.”

― Austin Clarke

“Irish poetry has lost the ready ear and the comforts of recognition. But we must go on. We must be true to our own minds.”

― Austin Clarke

“I always thought millennials are going westward, and they probably won’t understand vernacular poetry.”

― Ayushmann Khurrana

“I would love to write a script, for sure. I write poetry and songs. But writing a script needs a lot of time and discipline.”

― Ayushmann Khurrana

“America was based on a poetic vision. What will happen when it loses its poetry?”

― Azar Nafisi

“I see people who talk about America, and then undermine it by not paying attention to its soul, to its poetry. I see polarization, reductionism and superficiality.”

― Azar Nafisi

“Cotton was a force of nature. There’s a poetry to it, hoeing and growing cotton.”

― B. B. King

“I read pretty eclectically – fiction, non-fiction, and poetry – and I’ve been inspired and influenced by a number of writers.”

― Barry Eisler

“The mystic purchases a moment of exhilaration with a lifetime of confusion; and the confusion is infectious and destructive. It is confusing and destructive to try and explain anything in terms of anything else, poetry in terms of psychology.”

― Basil Bunting

“I began my writing life as a poet, so poetry has always been fundamental. I evolved from poetry to journalism to stories to novels. But poetry was always there.”

― Ben Okri

“America’s liberal arts universities have long been safe zones for leftist thinking, protected ivory towers for the pseudo-elite who earn their livings writing papers nobody reads about gender roles in the poetry of Maya Angelou.”

― Ben Shapiro

“I love films. I love music. I love poetry and stories. All of that I feel… I sort of get very excited and fed by.”

― Ben Whishaw

“I was lucky to have read a lot of poetry when I was younger; it helped me to remember a way to write.”

― Benjamin Clementine

“Poetry itself is music. I’m just lucky that I can convert it into music. William Blake is my favorite poet of all time, and he said that he wasn’t quite familiar with the sounds of music. If so, he would have been a musician. All of his poems are all like songs, and that’s how I always try to start my thoughts.”

― Benjamin Clementine

“I accept all interpretations of my films. The only reality is before the camera. Each film I make is kind of a return to poetry for me, or at least an attempt to create a poem.”

― Bernardo Bertolucci

“Don’t call my lyrics poetry. It’s an insult to real poets.”

― Bernie Taupin

“The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry.”

― Bertrand Russell

“Rap is poetry set to music. But to me it’s like a jackhammer.”

― Bette Midler

“Marriage – a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters in prose.”

― Beverley Nichols

“Often people, when they’re confronted with a poem, it’s like someone who keep saying ‘what is the meaning of this? What is the meaning of this?’ And that dulls us to the other pleasures poetry offers.”

― Billy Collins

“Poetry can do a lot of things to people. I mean it can improve your imagination. It can take you to new places. It can give you this incredible form of verbal pleasure.”

― Billy Collins

“I’m pretty much all for poetry in public places – poetry on buses, poetry on subways, on billboards, on cereal boxes.”

― Billy Collins

“The poem is not, as someone put it, deflective of entry. But the real question is, ‘What happens to the reader once he or she gets inside the poem?’ That’s the real question for me, is getting the reader into the poem and then taking the reader somewhere, because I think of poetry as a kind of form of travel writing.”

― Billy Collins

“There are interesting forms of difficulty, and there are unprofitable forms of difficulty. I mean, I enjoy some difficult poetry, but some of it is impenetrable and I actually wouldn’t want to penetrate it if I could, perhaps.”

― Billy Collins

“Radio is such a perfect medium for the transmission of poetry, primarily because there just is the voice, there’s no visual distraction.”

― Billy Collins

“Listeners are kind of ambushed… if a poem just happens to be said when they’re listening to the radio. The listener doesn’t have time to deploy what I call their ‘poetry deflector shields’ that were installed in high school – there’s little time to resist the poem.”

― Billy Collins

“Poetry is my cheap means of transportation. By the end of the poem the reader should be in a different place from where he started. I would like him to be slightly disoriented at the end, like I drove him outside of town at night and dropped him off in a cornfield.”

― Billy Collins

“I think if a poet wanted to lead, he or she would want the message to be unequivocally clear and free of ambiguity. Whereas poetry is actually the home of ambiguity, ambivalence and uncertainty.”

― Billy Collins

“I have my Poetry 180 project, which I’ve made my main project. We encourage high schools, because that’s really where, for most people, poetry dies off and gets buried under other adolescent pursuits.”

― Billy Collins

“I don’t think anybody reads a book of poetry front to back. Editors and reviewers only. I don’t think anybody else does.”

― Billy Collins

“I’m a great believer in poetry out of the classroom, in public places, on subways, trains, on cocktail napkins. I’d rather have my poems on the subway than around the seminar table at an MFA program.”

― Billy Collins

“I’m happy to stick with my persona. There are themes of love lost and love regained, but the main themes of all poems are basically love and death, and that seems to be the message of poetry.”

― Billy Collins

“I know my voice has a limited range of motion; I don’t write dramatic monologues and pretend to be other people. But so far, my voice is broad enough to accommodate most of what I want to put into my poetry. I like my persona; I often wish I were him and not me.”

― Billy Collins

“When I was a young man, I understood that poetry was two things – it was difficult to understand, but you could understand that the poet was miserable. So for a while there, I wrote poems that were hard to understand, even by me, but gave off whiffs of misery.”

― Billy Collins

“When I became poet laureate, I was in a slightly uncomfortable position because I think a lot of poetry isn’t worth reading.”

― Billy Collins

“For most Americans, poetry plays no role in their everyday lives. But also for most Americans, contemporary painting or jazz or sculpture play no role either. I’m not saying poetry is singled out as a special thing to ignore.”

― Billy Collins

“People think of poetry as a school subject… Poetry is very frustrating to students because they don’t have a taste for ambiguity, for one thing. That gives them a poetry hangover.”

― Billy Collins

“My persona is less miserable than a lot of contemporary poetry speakers are.”

― Billy Collins

“I’m all for poetry catching up with technology, and just as there are iTunes, I think we should have iPoems. I mean, people should be able to walk around with their earbuds in and listening to poems on their iPod.”

― Billy Collins

“I find a lot of poetry very disappointing, but I do have poets that I go back to. One book of poetry that I’d like to mention is ‘The Exchange’ by Sophie Cabot Black. Her poems are difficult without being too difficult.”

― Billy Collins

“In the long revolt against inherited forms that has by now become the narrative of 20th-century poetry in English, no poet was more flamboyant or more recognizable in his iconoclasm than Cummings.”

― Billy Collins

“Some honor Cummings as the granddaddy of all American innovators in poetry and ascribe to him a diverse progeny that includes virtually any poet who considers the page a field and allows silence to be part of poetry’s expressiveness.”

― Billy Collins

“I like cups of tea and reading books and poetry and old people things.”

― Bindi Irwin

“Writing dark poetry was always my escape.”

― Bishop Briggs

“I’ve written poetry since I was a kid. As the years went on, I got into writing stories and screenplays, but I always, always kept up with poetry as well.”

― Blake Jenner

“There’s a certain line between jokes and music and poetry that’s a bit blurred in my mind.”

― Bo Burnham

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

― Bob Dylan

“It’s not easy to define poetry.”

― Bob Dylan

“I want to write a book of poetry, as well as children’s stories.”

― Bobby McFerrin

“I come here to speak poetry. It will always be in the grass. It will also be necessary to bend down to hear it. It will always be too simple to be discussed in assemblies.”

― Boris Pasternak

“I like writing love songs. I really like romantic poetry.”

― Borns

“The kinds of things that poetry can offer are timeless – mainly the kind of compression it offers of powerful language, powerful feelings and images, and, you know, the inner experience becoming outer.”

― Brenda Hillman

“The techniques of contemporary poetry are probably the techniques of your daily life. I don’t know a single person who goes into the grocery store and thinks in complete sentences. We often think in fragments, we think in little lists, we think in non-sequiturs, we think in feelings that may not match up with each other.”

― Brenda Hillman

“To be born in Wales, not with a silver spoon in your mouth, but, with music in your blood and with poetry in your soul, is a privilege indeed.”

― Brian Harris

“A lot of people think, ‘I’ll give acting or poetry or filmmaking a try. And if it doesn’t work out I’ll go get a law degree, do something else that’s more practical.’ For me I went the reverse way. I lived the back-up plan.”

― Brit Marling

“I’d always loved poetry and I’d always loved writing music and composing music, but I hadn’t thought of putting the two together until around that time.”

― Bruce Cockburn

“The mystical poetry of William Blake’s artwork also forms the basis for the album cover.”

― Bruce Dickinson

“Poems have a different music from ordinary language, and every poem has a different kind of music of necessity, and that’s, in a way, the hardest thing about writing poetry is waiting for that music, and sometimes you never know if it’s going to come.”

― C. K. Williams

“When you begin to write poems because you love language, because you love poetry. Something happens that makes you write poems. And the writing of poems is incredibly pleasurable and addictive.”

― C. K. Williams

“I think poetry always lives its life, and people come to it and people go away from it, ‘people’ in the sense of larger numbers of people. It’s as though you begin to think that poetry is a resource, and that at certain times people seem to need it or want it or can find sustenance in it, and at other times they can’t.”

― C. K. Williams

“My father read poetry to me, encouraged me to memorize poems. But the writing of it was quite a different thing.”

― C. K. Williams

“The Scottish Highlands are incredible. There seems to be magic and poetry everywhere.”

― Caitriona Balfe

“I’m not really one for fancy, big words and poetry, and the scriptwriters worked very hard on ‘Paradise Lost’ to translate it.”

― Callan McAuliffe

“I certainly derived my skills as a prose writer from my scrutiny of poetry and of the individual word. But schools don’t do things like that anymore – tracking words down to their roots.”

― Camille Paglia

“I know I’m not a wordsmith. And I don’t write poetry. Sometimes I think I should, because it’s really helpful. But I always wanted to write novels.”

― Candace Bushnell

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.”

― Carl Sandburg

“Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.”

― Carl Sandburg

“I’ve written some poetry I don’t understand myself.”

― 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 is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away.”

― Carl Sandburg

“We read Robert Browning’s poetry. Here we needed no guidance from the professor: the poems themselves were enough.”

― Carl Sandburg

“When I was writing pretty poor poetry, this girl with midnight black hair told me to go on.”

― Carl Sandburg

“Poetry is necessary, but is the poet?”

― Carlos Drummond de Andrade

“I grew up in a bookless house – my parents didn’t read poetry, so if I hadn’t had the chance to experience it at school I’d never have experienced it. But I loved English, and I was very lucky in that I had inspirational English teachers, Miss Scriven and Mr. Walker, and they liked us to learn poems by heart, which I found I loved doing.”

― Carol Ann Duffy

“I have piles of poetry books in the bathroom, on the stairs, everywhere. The only way to write poetry is to read it.”

― Carol Ann Duffy

“I still read Donne, particularly his love poems.”

― Carol Ann Duffy

“It’s always good when women win things in fiction because it tends to be more male-dominated, unlike poetry, which is more equal.”

― Carol Ann Duffy

“I think poetry can help children deal with the other subjects on the curriculum by enabling them to see a subject in a new way.”

― Carol Ann Duffy

“Poetry and prayer are very similar.”

― Carol Ann Duffy

“Auden said poetry makes nothing happen. But I wonder if the opposite could be true. It could make something happen.”

― Carol Ann Duffy

“Poetry is really a way of sharing feelings and ideas.”

― Caroline Kennedy

“When you’re going through something, whether it’s a wonderful thing like having a child or a sad thing like losing somebody, you often feel like ‘Oh my God, I’m so overwhelmed; I’m dealing with this huge thing on my own.’ In fact, poetry’s a nice reminder that, no, everybody goes through it. These are universal experiences.”

― Caroline Kennedy

“The biggest problem is people are afraid of poetry, think they can’t understand it or that it will be boring.”

― Caroline Kennedy

“I wrote poetry off and on in high school, when I could manage to get out of gym classes and sports – using my allergies as an excuse – and climb the hill behind school till I found a nice place to settle down with a notebook and look at Spokane spread out below.”

― Carolyn Kizer

“I rely on poetry or literature to keep me centered before I go onstage because it reminds me to be present.”

― Carrie Coon

“What I wrote all the time when I was a kid – I don’t want to call it ‘poetry,’ because it wasn’t poetry. I was not that kind of a writer. I was a rhymer. I was a fan of Dorothy Parker’s, so maybe I wrote poetry to that extent, but my main focus was the humor of it, and word construction, and the slant. Your words, it’s a very powerful experience.”

― Carrie Fisher

“The single thing I’ve found it valuable to memorize is poetry.”

― Caterina Fake

“I stay up on current events. I read ‘The New Yorker’ and ‘The Economist.’ I go to community meetings to see what concerns the people in my neighborhood. I studied literature in college, so I also continue to read poetry, literature, and novels.”

― Caterina Fake

“I wanted to become a writer and felt that poetry was perfected language, so having it in my subconscious mind would make the music of language always available to me.”

― Caterina Fake

“The Internet is full of strangers, generous strangers who want to help you for no reason at all. Strangers post poetry and discographies and advice and essays and photos and art and diatribes. None of them are known to you, in the old-fashioned sense. But they give the Internet its life and meaning.”

― Caterina Fake

“It makes me happy to meet other poetry fans. Especially when they recommend poets I’m not familiar with.”

― Caterina Fake

“I spent many years in college studying English literature. I was on the verge of attending grad school to get a Ph.D. in Renaissance poetry – my lost careers were being a writer, artist, or academic. Do I regret spending all that time poring over Shakespeare when I could have been getting a jump start on the competition? Not at all.”

― Caterina Fake

“’Finally’ actually started out as a poem. I always wrote poetry, and pretty soon I figured out that if I could write poems, I could write songs.”

― CeCe Peniston

“I’m ashamed to admit that I very seldom read poetry, even though many of my friends are poets.”

― Celeste Ng

“A book is sent out into the world, and there is no way of fully anticipating the responses it will elicit. Consider the responses called forth by the Bible, Homer, Shakespeare – let alone contemporary poetry or a modern novel.”

― Chaim Potok

“I think book clubs should read more contemporary poetry.”

― Chang-Rae Lee

“The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.”

― Charles Baudelaire

“It is the hour to be drunken! to escape being the martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk. On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.”

― Charles Baudelaire

“It is time to get drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk; get drunk without stopping! On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.”

― Charles Baudelaire

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

― Charles Baudelaire

“Poetry and progress are like two ambitious men who hate one another with an instinctive hatred, and when they meet upon the same road, one of them has to give place.”

― Charles Baudelaire

“Always be a poet, even in prose.”

― Charles Baudelaire

“France is not poetic; she even feels, in fact, a congenital horror of poetry. Among the writers who use verse, those whom she will always prefer are the most prosaic.”

― Charles Baudelaire

“Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org. Requests range from pencils for a poetry writing unit to violins for a school recital to microscope slides for a biology class.”

― Charles Best

“What my character is or how many jails I have lounged in, or wards or walls or wassails, how many lonely-heart poetry readings I have dodged, is beside the point. A man’s soul or lack of it will be evident with what he can carve upon a white sheet of paper.”

― Charles Bukowski

“I don’t live for poetry. I live far more than anybody else does.”

― Charles Olson

“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

“Why should poetry have to make sense?”

― Charlie Chaplin

“Reagan wrote out many of his radio commentaries and newspaper articles as well as many of his own speeches. He wrote poetry, short stories, and letters. Trump, in his own hand, writes 140-character tweets.”

― Charlie Sykes

“I always loved writing, be it creative writing for school or just poetry. I just loved writing, and in college, I started really trying to write songs and was copying other artists, just to figure it out – but I think freshman year of high school is when I realized, ‘I want to be a writer. I have something to say.’”

― Chelsea Lankes

“Bad, quirky poetry might be better than some of the good stuff, because it really comes from the heart.”

― Cheryl Hines

“I published only in academic journals in philosophy until I was in my 40s, but I had been writing fiction and poetry my whole adult life – without ever once trying to publish it, and rarely letting anyone read it.”

― Cheryl Mendelson

“A documentary film-maker can’t help but use poetry to tell the story. I bring truth to my fiction. These things go hand in hand.”

― Chloe Zhao

“Fiction and poetry are my first loves, but the really beautiful lyrical essay can do so much that other forms cannot.”

― Chris Abani

“Whether you like modern incarnations of what country radio hits are, or you like what I’m doing, or you like something really off in folk, poetry Americana land, it’s all just music, man. If you like one of them, great – go buy it.”

― Chris Stapleton

“I have epiphanies all the time, because I’m always thinking. I’m a thinker. I’m always writing poetry, I’m always coming to conclusions.”

― Chrisette Michele

“Istanbul is inspiring because it has its own code of architecture, literature, poetry, music.”

― Christian Louboutin

“Poetry has the virtue of being able to say twice as much as prose in half the time, and the drawback, if you do not give it your full attention, of seeming to say half as much in twice the time.”

― Christopher Fry

“Poetry was the first step, and from the age of 18, there was nothing else I wanted to do.”

― Christopher Koch

“I was completely devoted to reading and books from the age of seven. It took until I was 18 to have the confidence to write poetry.”

― Christopher Koch

“My dad was the cause of me being in show business. He was not only in poetry but in acting a bit. He was Mordecai in the play ‘A Dream of Queen Esther.’”

― Chuck Berry

“That’s all there was in our house: poetry and choir rehearsal and duets and so forth; I listened to Dad and Mother discuss things about poetry and delivery and voice and diction – I don’t think anyone could know how much it really means.”

― Chuck Berry

“I love poetry. I love rhyming. Do you know, there are poets who don’t rhyme? Shakespeare did not rhyme most of the time, and that’s why I do not like him.”

― Chuck Berry

“Poetry was one of the things that interested me most as I was growing up. I used to write it in my head all the time. I still think the very greatest pleasure in life is to write a poem.”

― Claire Tomalin

“’Words and Music’ on Radio 3 is always a treat. Actors read passages of poetry and prose interspersed with music, and nobody tells you what it is. Later you can look it up online, but at the time you can’t cheat.”

― Claire Tomalin

“There’s a reason poets often say, ‘Poetry saved my life,’ for often the blank page is the only one listening to the soul’s suffering, the only one registering the story completely, the only one receiving all softly and without condemnation.”

― Clarissa Pinkola Estes

“I did a weird thing when I was about 24. For four years I had written quite a lot of poetry, and I started reading through it and thought some of it was really good. So I burnt it all.”

― Cliff Curtis

“Most of the time, as an artist, I can be self-indulgent, fulfilling my own impulses, embracing imagery that contains poetry on my own terms, without immediate regard to an audience or the particular placement of my finished work.”

― Clifford Ross

“I’ve been writing poetry seriously since about 2008, 2009.”

― Clint Smith

“One does not read a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks with hopes that it will grant him a career in engineering; he does so because poetry helps him see something in the world that he might not have seen before.”

― Clint Smith

“My poetry is me trying to reconcile my own life and opportunities I’ve had with opportunities my students aren’t given and how profoundly unfair that is.”

― Clint Smith

“I owe my discovery of the Hot Club of Cowtown to Kinky Friedman, leader of the Texas Jewboys. When I saw that Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys were headlining the 2003 Santa Clarita Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival, I thought it my duty to check out the band that had inspired the Texas Jewboys.”

― Clive Sinclair

“I write all the time – I write poetry, I love to write.”

― Colin Quinn

“Because people are very interested in my poetry, in what I say.”

― Compay Segundo

“Poetry must be made by all and not by one.”

― Comte de Lautreamont

“I’ve done a number of readings at poetry lounges in Vancouver and Los Angeles. I’ve compiled a book of poetry that’s completed, and two others I’m working on.”

― Corin Nemec

“The fact that Newark is having poetry festivals and peace conferences – all of these things are building an undeniable thesis that our city is making incredible strides forward.”

― Cory Booker

“Hebrew as a contemporary language, especially for poetry, is no longer the language of the Bible; but neither is it not the language of the Bible.”

― Cynthia Ozick

“I didn’t write anything at all except book reports until I was in seventh grade, and then I wrote mostly poetry for myself.”

― Cynthia Voigt

“What is poetry which does not save nations or people?”

― Czeslaw Milosz

“Living here on Earth, we breathe the rhythms of a universe that extends infinitely above us. When resonant harmonies arise between this vast outer cosmos and the inner human cosmos, poetry is born.”

― Daisaku Ikeda

“I don’t think that I ever believed that poetry would be a career. I have always thought of poems as something more private than professional… I would never introduce myself as a poet. I will always have some other thing that I am.”

― Dana Goodyear

“As an actor, there is room for a certain amount of creativity, but you’re always ultimately going to be saying somebody else’s words. I don’t think I’d have the stamina, skill or ability to write a novel, but I’d love to write short stories and poetry, because those are my two passions.”

― Daniel Radcliffe

“I don’t think I’d have the stamina, skill or ability to write a novel, but I’d love to write short stories and poetry, because those are my two passions.”

― Daniel Radcliffe

“Poetry is something I love to do. Good poetry has an amazing ability to be communicative before it’s even understood. I get emotional just from the beauty of words.”

― Daniel Radcliffe

“When poetry is on the money, 12 words can slay you. I admire that greatly.”

― Daniel Woodrell

“I’m very attracted to poetry for all the reasons someone likes poetry. The notion of compression seems to fit my personality.”

― Daniel Woodrell

“In my late teenage years, I developed a real passion for it, and wrote a lot of poetry.”

― Danielle Steel

“I think that I have less conviction than ever that poetry matters – that poetry changes or saves anything or anyone. But, in fact, that’s tremendously freeing. If it doesn’t matter much, the stakes are lower and you can’t really fail. It’s insurrection. It’s a tiny alphabet revolution. A secret. A psalm.”

― Daphne Gottlieb

“Poetry is a lousy form of activism; it doesn’t really change much. And maybe we can point to one or two historical times when a poem has started a revolution or a rebellion or an uprising, but it doesn’t happen that often, and if you put the number of poems next to the number of political acts, it would be pretty slim.”

― Daphne Gottlieb

“You’re in high school, and you’re telling your friends that you’re skipping lunch to go write poetry, and they were all questioning my sexuality.”

― Dave Franco

“There’s poetry in being the band that can sell out Wembley but also makes a record in a garage. I don’t like doing what people expect me to do.”

― Dave Grohl

“That is what I did with Jack, and that’s why he liked to do the readings with me because he knew I was there for him, and for our ability to blend the poetry and the music.”

― David Amram

“While I’ve had a great distaste for what’s usually called song in modern poetry or for what’s usually called music, I really don’t think of speech as so far from song.”

― David Antin

“I hardly remember how I started to write poetry. It’s hard to imagine what I thought poetry could do.”

― David Antin

“I approach video games the same way I approach theatre, filmmaking, poetry, or painting. I wish more people would take that point of view. It would help the industry to move on.”

― David Cage

“If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.”

― David Carradine

“Well, I still write poetry, but I wouldn’t call myself a poet.”

― David Duchovny

“The poetry from the eighteenth century was prose; the prose from the seventeenth century was poetry.”

― David Hare

“Poetry is the key to the hieroglyphics of nature.”

― David Hare

“Well you can’t teach the poetry, but you can teach the craft.”

― David Hockney

“Some Marines made fun of the fact that I had done plays and studied poetry, but then I won the award for physical training.”

― David Hunt

“I always liked the magic of poetry but now I’m just starting to see behind the curtain of even the best poets, how they’ve used, tried and tested craft to create the illusion. Wonderful feeling of exhilaration to finally be there.”

― David Knopfler

“Rap is poetry to music, like beatniks without beards and bongos.”

― David Lee Roth

“Poetry criticism at its worst today is mean in spirit and spiteful in intent, as if determined to inflict the wound that will spur the artist to new heights if it does not cripple him or her.”

― David Lehman

“A play is basically a long, formalistic polemic. You can write it without the poetry, and if you do, you may have a pretty good play. We know this because we see plays in translation. Not many people speak Norwegian or Danish or whatever guys like Ibsen spoke, or Russian – yet we understand Chekhov and the others.”

― David Mamet

“I studied English at the College of Wooster in Ohio, and I did an M.F.A. in Poetry at Columbia.”

― David Means

“Poetry is a street fighter. It has sharp elbows. It can look after itself. Poetry can’t be used for manipulation; it’s why you never see good poetry in advertising.”

― David Whyte

“Poetry gives us courage and sets us straight with the world. Poems are great companions and friends.”

― David Whyte

“Poetry carries the imagery which is large enough for the kind of life we want for ourselves.”

― David Whyte

“There’s a fierce practicality and empiricism which the whole imaginative, lyrical aspect of poetry comes from.”

― David Whyte

“By definition, poetry works with qualities and dynamics that mainstream society is reluctant to face head-on. It’s an interesting phenomenon that by necessity, poetry is just below the radar.”

― David Whyte

“It is the province of poetry to be more realistic and present than the artificial narratives of an outer discourse, and not afraid of the truthful difficulty of the average human life.”

― David Whyte

“The thing about great poetry is we have no defenses against it.”

― David Whyte

“My favourite room in my house is easily the top room, which is a bedroom but also a bathroom, with a big, wooden carved bath, two huge fireplaces and a raised bit in the corner for performances. I’ve had some really lovely parties and poetry readings up there.”

― Deborah Moggach

“I wrote poetry and short stories. I would send them to magazines; they wouldn’t get in. But short stories are how I found philosophy and how I’d understand the world.”

― Dee Rees

“When superstition is allowed to perform the task of old age in dulling the human temperament, we can say goodbye to all excellence in poetry, in painting, and in music.”

― Denis Diderot

“Poetry must have something in it that is barbaric, vast and wild.”

― Denis Diderot

“All the modern verse plays, they’re terrible; they’re mostly about the poetry. It’s more important that the play is first.”

― Denis Johnson

“I was a serious poet for quite a while and had little notebooks filled with poetry.”

― Denis O’Hare

“I was actually a poetry major in college before I punted and decided to become a theater major. I wrote the poem that we put on the sauerkraut boxes in the style of Elling.”

― Denis O’Hare

“Making poetry with a camera – that’s the essence of what I do.”

― Denis Villeneuve

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

― Dennis Gabor

“Children can write poetry and then, unless they’re poets, they stop when reach puberty.”

― Dennis Potter

“I used to do poetry in elementary school. I used to just write.”

― Denzel Curry

“I have never separated the writing of poetry from prayer. I have grown up believing it is a vocation, a religious vocation.”

― Derek Walcott

“Where I come from, we sing poetry.”

― Derek Walcott

“I don’t think poetry has a readership anywhere, really, that’s that big.”

― Derek Walcott

“Ted Hughes is dead. That’s a fact, OK. Then there’s something called the poetry of Ted Hughes. The poetry of Ted Hughes is more real, very soon, than the myth that Ted Hughes existed – because that can’t be proven.”

― Derek Walcott

“There is no one more deserving of a place in Poets’ Corner. Ted Hughes introduced a new kind of landscape into English poetry. The most compelling aspect of his work was his intimacy with nature.”

― Derek Walcott

“There’s always a need at a critical time for poetry.”

― Derek Walcott

“I don’t believe that poetry is in danger because nobody wants to read it or appreciate it. There is a tremendous audience for it on any given day or night. You just have to know where to look.”

― Derek Walcott

“Look at Allen Ginsberg. In poems like ‘Kaddish’ and ‘Howl,’ you can hear a cantor between the lines. It’s fully alive, and I think that’s what’s missing in modern poetry. It’s too dry and cerebral.”

― Derek Walcott

“I always knew that was what I wanted to do – to write, particularly poetry.”

― Derek Walcott

“I grew up in a place in which, if you learned poetry, you shouted it out. Boys would scream it out and perform it and do it and flourish it.”

― Derek Walcott

“I don’t feel like a celebrity. Poetry justifies celebrity. It’s good to have respect for a poet.”

― Derek Walcott

“The fate of poetry is to fall in love with the world.”

― Derek Walcott

“I write plays and poetry at the same time, and I’m always refining, but I’m not obsessive about it. It’s what I like to do, what I’ve always wanted to do.”

― Derek Walcott

“I can be upset by malice. Most critics are very poor poets. Poetry is a craft that takes a lot to appreciate, and there are some critics who have no ear for it. An irresponsible critic can do a lot of psychic damage, but eventually, they don’t affect your work.”

― Derek Walcott

“American poetry, like American painting, is always personal with an emphasis on the individuality of the poet.”

― Diane Wakoski

“But I am not political in the current events sense, and I have never wanted anyone to read my poetry that way.”

― Diane Wakoski

“But I don’t think that poetry is a good, to use a contemporary word, venue, for current events.”

― Diane Wakoski

“High and low culture come together in all Post Modern art, and American poetry is not excluded from this.”

― Diane Wakoski

“I definitely wish to distinguish American poetry from British or other English language poetry.”

― Diane Wakoski

“Still, language is resilient, and poetry when it is pressured simply goes underground.”

― Diane Wakoski

“Because, in fact, women, feminists, do read my poetry, and they read it often with the power of their political interpretation. I don’t care; that’s what poetry is supposed to do.”

― Diane Wakoski

“I think that’s what poetry does. It allows people to come together and identify with a common thing that is outside of themselves, but which they identify with from the interior.”

― Diane Wakoski

“I’m perfectly happy when I look out at an audience and it’s all women. I always think it’s kind of odd, but then, more women than men, I think, read and write poetry.”

― Diane Wakoski

“PC stuff just lowers the general acceptance of good work and replaces it with bogus poetry that celebrates values that in themselves are probably quite worthy.”

― Diane Wakoski

“Distinctly American poetry is usually written in the context of one’s geographic landscape, sometimes out of one’s cultural myths, and often with reference to gender and race or ethnic origins.”

― Diane Wakoski

“From reading a previous answer, you know that I consider all those aspects to be part of American cultural myth and thus they figure into good American poetry, whether the poet is aware of what he is doing or not.”

― Diane Wakoski

“I don’t like political poetry, and I don’t write it. If this question was pointing towards that, I think it is missing the point of the American tradition, which is always apolitical, even when the poetry comes out of politically active writers.”

― Diane Wakoski

“I have always wanted what I have now come to call the voice of personal narrative. That has always been the appealing voice in poetry. It started for me lyrically in Shakespeare’s sonnets.”

― Diane Wakoski

“I think I’m a very good reader of poetry, but obviously, like everybody, I have a set of criteria for reading poems, and I’m not shy about presenting them, so if people ask for my critical response to a poem, I tell them what works and why, and what doesn’t work and why.”

― Diane Wakoski

“I think that great poetry is the most interesting and complex use of the poet’s language at that point in history, and so it’s even more exciting when you read a poet like Yeats, almost 100 years old now, and you think that perhaps no one can really top that.”

― Diane Wakoski

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

― Don Marquis

“Writing a book of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.”

― Don Marquis

“Poetry is what Milton saw when he went blind.”

― Don Marquis

“I was around in 1970, and now I am around in 2015 … there is no poetry and very little romance in anything anymore, so it is really like the last phase of ‘American Pie.’”

― Don McLean

“I’ve always felt that poetry was particularly erotic, more than prose was… I say that you read poems not with your eyes and not with your ears, but with your mouth. You taste it.”

― Donald Hall

“I have written some poetry and two prose books about baseball, but if I had been a rich man, I probably would not have written many of the magazine essays that I have had to do. But, needing to write magazine essays to support myself, I looked to things that I cared about and wanted to write about, and certainly baseball was one of them.”

― Donald Hall

“When it comes to poetry, I think partly the numbers of people attempting to write poems is probably a result or the reaction to technology.”

― Donald Hall

“Every afternoon, I shut the door of my bedroom to write: Poetry was secret, dangerous, wicked and delicious.”

― Donald Hall

“Prose is not so dependent on sound. The line of poetry, with the breaking of the line – to me, sound is the kind of doorway into poetry. And my sense of sound, or my ability to control it, lapsed or grew less.”

― Donald Hall

“After a couple of years of public high school, I went to Exeter – an insane conglomeration of adolescent males in the wilderness, all of whom claimed to hate poetry.”

― Donald Hall

“My parents were willing to let me follow my nose, do what I wanted to do, and they supported my interest by buying the books that I wanted for birthdays and Christmas, almost always poetry books.”

― Donald Hall

“I loathe the trivialization of poetry that happens in creative writing classes. Teachers set exercises to stimulate subject matter: Write a poem about an imaginary landscape with real people in it. Write about a place your parents lived in before you were born. We have enough terrible poetry around without encouraging more of it.”

― Donald Hall

“For better or worse, poetry is my life.”

― Donald Hall

“Sound had always been my portal to poetry, but in the beginning, sound was imagined through the eye.”

― Donald Hall

“Poetry is what I’ve done my whole life. And every important thing in my life had found itself into poems.”

― Donald Hall

“In my life, I’ve seen enormous increase in the consumption of poetry. When I was young, there were virtually no poetry readings.”

― Donald Hall

“I was at Harvard with a whole bunch of poets, and that was very rare. They published a lot of books because there was an excitement after the war that translated into poetry.”

― Donald Hall

“As I grew older – collapsing into my seventies, glimpsing ahead the cliffs of the eighties, colliding into eighty-five – poetry abandoned me.”

― Donald Hall

“Maya Angelou was the voice of three generations. Her poetry spanned our journey, chronicled our hearts and documented our struggles as we moved from the orations of Martin Luther King to the presidency of Barack Obama.”

― Donna Brazile

“In bohemian circles, we were very aware that poetry was missing from popular culture.”

― Donovan

“I think of myself as a poet. I grew up with poetic influences – what I know from my background is the bardic poetry, which came down through oral tradition.”

― Donovan

“I didn’t know until later, but my uncle was quite a famous bohemian in Glasgow, and he played guitar. My father was a kind of a poetic bohemian, and he read me poetry.”

― Donovan

“In England, we’d leave school at 15 and go on to a college, and I went to further education in a town called Welling Garden City. I fully immersed myself in bohemia there, which included poetry and modern art, jazz, philosophy, social radicalism.”

― Donovan

“When I met Bob Dylan, I was definitely impressed. This guy had come from the American folk world, but he was very schooled in poetry, too. He’d studied the Beat poets, of course. I grew up in the British bohemian scene. Dylan grew up in the American bohemian scene. So I was very pleased to meet such a guy.”

― Donovan

“The olive branch has been consecrated to peace, palm branches to victory, the laurel to conquest and poetry, the myrtle to love and pleasure, the cypress to mourning, and the willow to despondency.”

― Dorothea Dix

“There is no real way to categorize McLean’s ‘American Pie’ for its hybrid of modern poetry and folk ballad, beer-hall chant and high-art rock.”

― Douglas Brinkley

“When you write, it’s just a much more crystalline, compressed version of the voice you think with – though not the one you speak with. I think your writing voice is your laser-guided missile. It’s the poetry part of you.”

― Douglas Coupland

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

― Douglas Dunn

“My father had wanted to name me for Dylan Thomas. He had seen him speak on one of those drunken poetry tours he did.”

― Dylan Walsh

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

― E. M. Forster

“The sort of poetry I seek resides in objects man can’t touch.”

― E. M. Forster

“It just happens to be that people like to associate poetry and rap music. I think that idea is kind of corny.”

― Earl Sweatshirt

“I think rap music is rap music. I mean, are there heavy writing aspects of it? Absolutely. In a sense, is it poetry? Yeah. I’ve heard that so much, growing up in a house with poetry. But I think people like to use that as a shortcut for who’s good and who’s not. It’s like the word ‘lyrical’ – ‘lyrical’ is the worst word in the entire world.”

― Earl Sweatshirt

“I didn’t know how to weigh ideas about poetry. Nothing in the life I lived as a student – and later as wife and mother at the suburban edge of Dublin – suggested I had the wherewithal to do so. But I did have a unit of measurement. It was the measure of my own life.”

― Eavan Boland

“Poetry begins where language starts: in the shadows and accidents of one person’s life.”

― Eavan Boland

“When I was young, I struggled with authorship: with everything the word meant and failed to mean. Irish poetry was heavy with custom. Sometimes at night, when I tried to write, a ghost hand seemed to hold mine. Where could my life, my language fit in?”

― Eavan Boland

“At the age of seventeen, I left school. I went to university, and I wrote my first attempts at poetry in a room in a flat at the edge of the city.”

― Eavan Boland

“It is certainly true that writers take a stance at some variance from organized religion. This has not always been true. But since the romantic movement – and I’m referring now exclusively to poetry – the emphasis has been on the individual imagination defined against, rather than in terms of, any orthodoxy.”

― Eavan Boland

“Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks.”

― Ed Koch

“I’ve been writing a lot of poetry recently. It helps me think and work things out.”

― Ed Westwick

“I’ve hated poetry ever since I was at school. I include Shakespeare in that. I don’t understand the obsession with him!”

― Eddie the Eagle

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

― Edgar Allan Poe

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

― Edgar Allan Poe

“With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion.”

― Edgar Allan Poe

“There is a real formula to writing music, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge. It’s very formulaic. The subject matter that you can address in pop music is somewhat restricted. It just doesn’t allow that same emotive quality that you can put into poetry.”

― Edgar Winter

“None but a poet can write a tragedy. For tragedy is nothing less than pain transmuted into exaltation by the alchemy of poetry.”

― Edith Hamilton

“Poetry is the deification of reality.”

― Edith Sitwell

“Poetry is the art of substantiating shadows, and of lending existence to nothing.”

― Edmund Burke

“Poetry is an art, and chief of the fine art; the easiest to dabble in, the hardest in which to reach true excellence.”

― Edmund Clarence Stedman

“My exposure to Beckett and to late O’Neill was probably important right at the time I gave up poetry and the novel.”

― Edward Albee

“Art history and Elizabethan poetry don’t employ workers; the arduous and tedious application of business sciences such as computer programming and accounting does.”

― Edward Conard

“For a poet to depict a poet in poetry is a hazardous experiment; in regarding one’s own trade a sense of humour and a little wholesome cynicism are not amiss.”

― Edward Dowden

“As long as there’s been poetry, there have been lamentations.”

― Edward Hirsch

“Poetry takes place in time. It is a durational. Things take place in sequence.”

― Edward Hirsch

“Someone who’s awake in the middle of the night is a soul consciousness when everyone else is asleep, and that creates a feeling of solitude in poetry that I very much like.”

― Edward Hirsch

“The muse, the beloved, and duende are three ways of thinking of what is the source of poetry, and all three seem to me different names or different ways to think about something that is not entirely reasonable, not entirely subject to the will, not entirely rational.”

― Edward Hirsch

“I’m a poet, and I spent my life in poetry.”

― Edward Hirsch

“Poetry takes courage because you have to face things and you try to articulate how you feel.”

― Edward Hirsch

“You’re shadowed by your own dream, especially as you get older, of trying to create something that will last in poetry. And so, you’re working on its behalf.”

― Edward Hirsch

“There have always been great defenses of poetry, and I’ve tried to write mine, and I think all of my work and criticism is a defense of poetry to try and keep something alive in poetry.”

― Edward Hirsch

“When I taught at the University of Houston in the Creative Writing program, we required the poets to take workshops in fiction writing, and we required the fiction writers to take workshops in poetry.”

― Edward Hirsch

“I don’t think you can read poetry while you’re watching television very well.”

― Edward Hirsch

“The idea of how to read a poem is based on the idea that poetry needs you as a reader. That the experience of poetry, the meaning in poetry, is a kind of circuit that takes place between a poet, a poem and a reader, and that meaning doesn’t exist or inhere in poems alone.”

― Edward Hirsch

“There’s never been a culture without poetry in the history of the world.”

― Edward Hirsch

“In every culture, in every language, there is expressive play, expressive word play; there’s language use to different purposes that we would call poetry.”

― Edward Hirsch

“I don’t think poetry will die, but I think that poetry does demand a certain kind of attention to language. It does demand a certain space in order to read it, and I think that space is somewhat threatened by the lack of attention that people have and the amount of time that they give to things.”

― Edward Hirsch

“I had feelings that I didn’t know what to do with, and I felt better when I started writing them. I thought of it as poetry. I did notice girls really liked it. Better than football. They liked the combination.”

― Edward Hirsch

“I’d say people do need some help with poetry because I think poetry just helps takes us to places that Americans aren’t always accustomed to going.”

― Edward Hirsch

“The commitment to working at poetry is important because a poet is a maker, and a poem is a made thing. We have to honor our feelings by working to transform them into something meaningful and lasting.”

― Edward Hirsch

“I find great consolation in having a lot of poetry books around. I believe that writing poetry and reading it are deeply intertwined. I’ve always delighted in the company of the poets I’ve read.”

― Edward Hirsch

“Poetry is a form of necessary speech… I have sought to restore the aura of sacred practice that accompanies true poetic creation, to honor both the rational and the irrational elements of poetry.”

― Edward Hirsch

“Poetry is meant to inspire readers and listeners, to connect them more deeply to themselves even as it links them more fully to others. But many people feel put off by the terms of poetry, its odd vocabulary, its notorious difficulty.”

― Edward Hirsch

“The terms of poetry – some simple, some complicated, some ancient, some new – should bring us closer to what we’re hearing, enlarging our experience of it, enabling us to describe what we’re reading, to feel and think with greater precision.”

― Edward Hirsch

“The line is a way of framing poetry. All verse is measured by lines. The poetic line immediately announces its difference from everyday speech and prose.”

― Edward Hirsch

“There are still many tribal cultures where poetry and song, there is just one word for them. There are other cultures with literacy where poetry and song are distinguished. But poetry always remembers that it has its origins in music.”

― Edward Hirsch

“The sense of flowing, which is so crucial to song, is also crucial to poetry.”

― Edward Hirsch

“When poetry separates from song, then the words have to carry all the rhythm themselves; they have to do all the work. They can’t rely on the singing voice.”

― Edward Hirsch

“One of the things that distinguishes poetry from ordinary speech is that in a very few number of words, poetry captures some kind of deep feeling, and rhythm is the way to get there. Rhythm is the way the poetry carries itself.”

― Edward Hirsch

“I started writing poetry as a teenager in suburban Chicago out of emotional desperation.”

― Edward Hirsch

“I grew up in a middle-class house without books, without art. No one around me wrote poetry or even read it.”

― Edward Hirsch

“Poetry itself hasn’t been well served by poets who fled to the margins.”

― Edward Hirsch

“I aspire to a poetry of great formal integrity, deep passion and high intellect, and I have many models for how to do that.”

― Edward Hirsch

“I’m so happy to be an advocate for poetry.”

― Edward Hirsch

“I didn’t read poetry seriously until college, when I really began to devour it in a very intense way. I also discovered that a poet is a maker. Before that, I thought a poet was someone who wrote about his own experiences.”

― Edward Hirsch

“The idea that a poem was a made thing stayed with me, and I decided then that I wanted to be an artist, not just a diarist. So I put myself through a kind of apprenticeship in writing poetry, and I understood even then that my practice as a poet was deeply related to my reading.”

― Edward Hirsch

“Poetry is a vocation. It is not a career but a calling.”

― Edward Hirsch

“Writing poetry is such an intense experience that it helps to start the process in a casual or wayward frame of mind.”

― Edward Hirsch

“Daydreaming is one of the key sources of poetry – a poem often starts as a daydream that finds its way into language – and walking seems to bring a different sort of alertness, an associative kind of thinking, a drifting state of mind.”

― Edward Hirsch

“There is something about poetry beyond prose logic, there is mystery in it, not to be explained but admired.”

― Edward Young

“Poetry is the utterance of deep and heart-felt truth – the true poet is very near the oracle.”

― Edwin Hubbel Chapin

“I just discovered when I was, oh, 12 or 13, that I was very interested in language – and this showed itself as poetry. There was no looking back.”

― Edwin Morgan

“Translated poetry filled the no-man’s-land between my own work and other writers’, and I found this fascinating to explore.”

― Edwin Morgan

“Poetry is partly sympathy, don’t you think? If it’s any good, it gets people to think about others’ points of view.”

― Edwin Morgan

“If the poetry world celebrate its female stars at the true level of their productivity and influence, poetry would wind up being a largely female world, and the men would leave.”

― Eileen Myles

“Poetry always, always, always is a key piece of democracy.”

― Eileen Myles

“As things get worse, poetry gets better because it becomes more necessary.”

― Eileen Myles

“I wasn’t afraid of being poor. I didn’t want to live in a big house. I’m the perfect size for poetry. I can move around.”

― Eileen Myles

“Sunday is a likely day to write a poem. Because poetry is a piece of language flying around: you’ll find notebooks, something on your phone. It’s about finding them and getting them off that crumpled piece of paper and onto my computer.”

― Eileen Myles

“In Arlington, people would laugh at you if you tried to get people to look at your drawings or listen to your poetry. It was like you thought you were special.”

― Eileen Myles

“Poetry from the bottom up is an act of selection: you kind of feel your way through the crowds of poems. The good ones came forward a long time ago, and the bad ones fell away.”

― Eileen Myles

“Poetry and novels are lists of our devotions. We love the feel of making the marks as the feelings are rising and falling.”

― Eileen Myles

“Fiction is supposed to be immersive and supposed to be entertaining and narrative, so structures have to be buried a little bit. If they come foregrounded too much, it stops being fiction and starts being poetry – something more concrete and out of time.”

― Eleanor Catton

“Stylized acting and direction is to realistic acting and direction as poetry is to prose.”

― Elia Kazan

“I was a 16-year-old girl at one point, so of course I wrote poetry.”

― Elizabeth Edwards

“There was a time when poetry often made its way to vinyl; take a deep dive, for example, into the beat poets’ countercultural albums of the 1950s to ’80s.”

― Elizabeth Flock

“For me, poetry is always a search for order.”

― Elizabeth Jennings

“When I was in college, I wrote poetry very seriously, and then once I had started writing short stories, I didn’t go back to poetry, partially because I felt like I understood how incredibly difficult it was.”

― Elizabeth McCracken

“Oh, I wish I organized my books. But I don’t. I’m not an organized person. The best I can do is put the books I really like in one sort of general area, and poetry in another.”

― Elizabeth Strout

“Poetry is the most intimate of all writing. I want to speak first from me to myself and then from me to you.”

― Ellen Bass

“I think many people love poetry who don’t know they love it. People are sometimes afraid of poetry, or they’ve been introduced to poetry that doesn’t speak to them.”

― Ellen Bass

“Without poetry, stories would be told in sepia.”

― Ellen Hopkins

“I write poetry anyway and have for years and years. For me, putting fiction and poetry together is like the best of both worlds.”

― Ellen Hopkins

“And at some point I would like to talk my publisher into doing an anthology of my poetry alongside some teen readers’ poetry. It would be fun, and really wonderful to get their stuff out there.”

― Ellen Hopkins

“For thousands of years, poetry has been picturing love as a mysterious and tragic power. But when anyone says the same thing in plain prose, and adds that life would be colourless and poor without the great passions, then this is called immorality!”

― Ellen Key

“You pick up loads of baggage with your first record with reaction to it from fans and critics. So I went to Ireland by myself for a couple of weeks with my guitar. I read lots of poetry, I read Patti Smith’s autobiography and started words and phrases and then songs started to take shape.”

― Ellie Goulding

“We’re all just animals. That’s all we are, and everything else is just an elaborate justification of our instincts. That’s where music comes from. And romantic poetry. And bad novels.”

― Elvis Costello

“I believe the death of Bobby Kennedy was in many ways the death of decency in America. I think it was the death of manners and formality, the death of poetry and the death of a dream.”

― Emilio Estevez

“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

“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.”

― Emily Dickinson

“There is no Frigate like a book to take us lands away nor any coursers like a page of prancing Poetry.”

― Emily Dickinson

“I don’t think I’ve ever read poetry, ever.”

― Eminem

“I don’t think I’ve ever read poetry, ever. I’m not really book-smart.”

― Eminem

“What are the sources of poetry? Love and death and the paradox of love and death. All poetry from the beginning is about Eros and Thanatos. Those are the only subjects. And how Eros and Thanatos interweave.”

― Erica Jong

“Poetry is what we turn to in the most emotional moments of our life – when a beloved friend dies, when a baby is born or when we fall in love.”

― Erica Jong

“Poetry is the language we speak in the most terrifying or ecstatic passages of our lives. But the very word poetry scares people. They think of their grade school teachers reciting ‘Hiawatha’ and they groan.”

― Erica Jong

“I thought to spend my declining years writing poetry and teaching – but that won’t pay the Bergdorf’s bill. I think I’ll move to somewhere life is cheaper.”

― Erica Jong

“I guess the thing that I’m most proud of is that I kept on writing poetry. I understand that poetry is sort of the source of everything I do. It’s the source of my creativity.”

― Erica Jong

“Often I find that poems predict what I’m going to do later in my own writing, and often I find that poems predict my life. So I think poetry is the most intense expression of feeling that we have.”

― Erica Jong

“I don’t really have a bucket list, but if I did, one entry would be to dust off my college Russian and spend a big chunk of a year reading, or trying to read, ‘War and Peace’ as it was meant to be read, in Russian, with all that rumbly rocks-on-rocks poetry inherent to the language.”

― Erik Larson

“The musician is perhaps the most modest of animals, but he is also the proudest. It is he who invented the sublime art of ruining poetry.”

― Erik Satie

“Without touching my subject I want to come to the moment when, through pure concentration of seeing, the composed picture becomes more made than taken. Without a descriptive caption to justify its existence, it will speak for itself – less descriptive, more creative; less informative, more suggestive – less prose, more poetry.”

― Ernst Haas

“Usually, I am a compulsive person, and I need – sometimes urgently – to paint… Painting is close to poetry, is a kind of poetry expressed visually. It has to be spontaneous, rapid – at least in my case.”

― Etel Adnan

“You know that thing people say, ‘poetry is the hardest, stories are the second hardest, novels are the easiest?’ I’m here to tell you that novels are the hardest. Writing a novel is unbelievably difficult. It’s nightmarish.”

― Ethan Canin

“In high school I was very much involved in poetry. You cannot read a poem quickly. There’s too much going on there. There are rhythms and alliterations. You have to read poetry slow, slow, slow to absorb it all.”

― Eugene H. Peterson

“When I was nine, the teacher asked us to write a piece about our village fete. He read mine in class. I was encouraged and continued. I even wanted to write my memoirs at the age of ten. At twelve I wrote poetry, mostly about friendship – ‘Ode to Friendship.’ Then my class wanted to make a film, and one little boy suggested that I write the script.”

― Eugene Ionesco

“I do not go in search of poetry. I wait for poetry to visit me.”

― Eugenio Montale

“Slowly poetry becomes visual because it paints images, but it is also musical: it unites two arts into one.”

― Eugenio Montale

“Poetry is the art which is technically within the grasp of everyone: a piece of paper and a pencil and one is ready.”

― Eugenio Montale

“For my part, if I consider poetry as an object, I maintain that it is born of the necessity of adding a vocal sound (speech) to the hammering of the first tribal music.”

― Eugenio Montale

“However, poetry does not live solely in books or in school anthologies.”

― Eugenio Montale

“Narrative art, the novel, from Murasaki to Proust, has produced great works of poetry.”

― Eugenio Montale

“There is also poetry written to be shouted in a square in front of an enthusiastic crowd. This occurs especially in countries where authoritarian regimes are in power.”

― Eugenio Montale

“There is poetry even in prose, in all the great prose which is not merely utilitarian or didactic: there exist poets who write in prose or at least in more or less apparent prose; millions of poets write verses which have no connection with poetry.”

― Eugenio Montale

“This proves that great lyric poetry can die, be reborn, die again, but will always remain one of the most outstanding creations of the human soul.”

― Eugenio Montale

“True poetry is similar to certain pictures whose owner is unknown and which only a few initiated people know.”

― Eugenio Montale

“And New York is the most beautiful city in the world? It is not far from it. No urban night is like the night there… Squares after squares of flame, set up and cut into the aether. Here is our poetry, for we have pulled down the stars to our will.”

― Ezra Pound

“Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance… poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music.”

― Ezra Pound

“Colloquial poetry is to the real art as the barber’s wax dummy is to sculpture.”

― Ezra Pound

“Poetry had far better imply things than preach them directly… in the open pulpit her voice grows hoarse and fails.”

― F. L. Lucas

“For awhile after you quit Keats all other poetry seems to be only whistling or humming.”

― F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Poetry is emotion, passion, love, grief – everything that is human. It is not for zombies by zombies.”

― F. Sionil Jose

“I can’t understand Urdu, Bahasa or Russian, but when the Pakistani Faiz, the Indonesian Rendra and the Russian Rosdentvensky declaim, I can feel the living throb of rhythm and music, the warmth and passion of their poetry, as do the hundreds, not a mere roomful, of poetry lovers in the audience.”

― F. Sionil Jose

“Poetry, fiction as novels or short stories – these are autonomous as created by their authors. They should stand on their own, like pieces of furniture that should be judged as to their usefulness, elegance.”

― F. Sionil Jose

“I am for poetry that is admired by peasant and aristocrat alike.”

― F. Sionil Jose

“In poetry, I have, since very young, loved poetry in translation. The Chinese, the French, the Russians, Italians, Indians and early Celts: the formality of the translator’s voice, their measured breath and anxiety moves me as it lingers over the original.”

― Fanny Howe

“Money is everywhere but so is poetry. What we lack are the poets.”

― Federico Fellini

“I read, read enormously on all different fields of Islamic thought, from philosophy to Islamic literature, poetry, exegeses, knowledge of the Hadith, the teachings of the prophet. That’s how I trained myself. And then I was appointed imam by a Sufi master from Istanbul, Turkey.”

― Feisal Abdul Rauf

“Poetry is one of the oldest of all art forms, and one of its powers for shamans and tribal leaders was the mnemonic.”

― Felix Dennis

“With a poetry book I can send 100 copies out to reviewers and other people, and even do it in advance and get their response. It’s difficult with iPad: how do you send it out for free, and how do you even disseminate it before it goes into their store?”

― Felix Dennis

“You don’t have to live in a garage to write great poetry.”

― Felix Dennis

“I want to prove that if you write in strict meter and rhyme about subjects people care about, they will buy poetry.”

― Felix Dennis

“I am absolutely convinced that my life was redeemed by poetry.”

― Felix Dennis

“No poetry that I’m aware of, however bad or glorious, has ever left somebody a worse person than they were before they read it.”

― Felix Dennis

“What does that represent? There was never any question in plastic art, in poetry, in music, of representing anything. It is a matter of making something beautiful, moving, or dramatic – this is by no means the same thing.”

― Fernand Leger

“If I don’t write down a thought – or an image or a line of poetry – the instant it comes to mind, it vanishes, which explains why I have pens and notebooks in my pants and coat pockets, the car, the bicycle basket, on one or two desks in every room including bathrooms and the kitchen.”

― Floyd Skloot

“Elaine Equi has been publishing her observant, often playful poetry for some 30 years, extending and deepening the range of her intrinsically wry voice.”

― Floyd Skloot

“I feel that I’m a poet first. Not only was poetry the first genre in which I wrote, it’s the genre that serves as the basis for my practice as a writer.”

― Floyd Skloot

“Though my poems are about evenly split between traditionally formal work that uses rhyme and meter and classical structure, and work that is freer, I feel that the music of language remains at the core of it all. Sound, rhythm, repetition, compression – these elements of my poetry are also elements of my prose.”

― Floyd Skloot

“In ‘A Poetics of Optics,’ Equi writes that ‘all images bank on alchemy.’ This idea captures her fundamental sense of poetry as turning common material into something rare and valuable.”

― Floyd Skloot

“I love Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. I also love more cerebral poets like H.D. and Emily Dickinson. My parents subscribed to a monthly poetry periodical, and as a teenager I was introduced to Denise Levertov, who was an influence.”

― Francesca Lia Block

“Painting (like poetry) chooses from universals what is most apposite. It brings together, in a single imaginary being, circumstances and characteristics which occur in nature in many different persons.”

― Francisco Goya

“It’s more fun to have a name rather than a number. I think this gives our products a personality. I get the names from literature, movies, opera, traveling, nature, poetry, sometimes even the street. I keep a small book that I write in. I wake up in the middle of the night and jot down a name for a lipstick or an eyeshadow.”

― Francois Nars

“Publishing the lyric books, poetry or comics of other musicians I know. That’s the thing I really want to break into!”

― Frank Iero

“Science and art, or by the same token, poetry and prose differ from one another like a journey and an excursion. The purpose of the journey is its goal, the purpose of an excursion is the process.”

― Franz Grillparzer

“Poetry, it is often said and loudly so, is life’s true mirror. But a monkey looking into a work of literature looks in vain for Socrates.”

― Franz Grillparzer

“Prose talks and poetry sings.”

― Franz Grillparzer

“Poetry endures when it possesses passionate and primally sincere clarity in the service of articulating universal human concerns.”

― Franz Wright

“Poetry, just because it is poetry, doesn’t mean it is some kind of magic spell.”

― Franz Wright

“The office of poetry is not to make us think accurately, but feel truly.”

― Frederick William Robertson

“A novel is a work of poetry. In order to write it, one must have tranquility of spirit and of impression.”

― Fyodor Dostoevsky

“I wrote poetry before I wrote songs, and T.S. Eliot was my inspiration. I love his honesty and try to bring that to my own songwriting.”

― Gabrielle Aplin

“I grew up in New York City. In elementary school, I was a charter member of the Scribble Scrabble Club, and in high school, my poems were published in an anthology of student poetry.”

― Gail Carson Levine

“That’s the way it is with poetry: When it is incomprehensible it seems profound, and when you understand it, it is only ridiculous.”

― Galway Kinnell

“In college, I was a huge fan of ‘Les Miserables.’ I seem to remember that people who were into French literature preferred Hugo’s poetry.”

― Garth Risk Hallberg

“As human beings, we are the only organisms that create for the sheer stupid pleasure of doing so. Whether it’s laying out a garden, composing a new tune on the piano, writing a bit of poetry, manipulating a digital photo, redecorating a room, or inventing a new chili recipe – we are happiest when we are creating.”

― Gary Hamel

“My mum always liked poetry, and she had pictures on the wall, so there was this visual stuff around.”

― Gary Hume

“If I’m feeling desperate, I’ll go out image-hunting. I’ll go to news agents and stand at the rack flicking through magazines or go to second-hand bookshops. And then, bit by bit, like concrete poetry, I start to realise that I am drawn to particular things, and then I start wondering why that is.”

― Gary Hume

“I love the simple poetry of theater, where you can stand in a spotlight on a stage and wrap a coat around you, and say, ‘It was 1860 and it was winter…’”

― Gary Oldman

“I think what will happen is that fiction will become more like poetry. As in, the only people who read it will write it.”

― Gary Shteyngart

“The great function of poetry is to give back to us the situations of our dreams.”

― Gaston Bachelard

“Poetry is one of the destinies of speech… One would say that the poetic image, in its newness, opens a future to language.”

― Gaston Bachelard

“In traditional Asian arts, the word and the picture always sit next to each other. I have an aunt, a Chinese brush painter, who told me that when you do a Chinese brush painting, you have to pair the image up with some poetry.”

― Gene Luen Yang

“You have an absolute right to translate poetry in any form with any sound. It’s all up for grabs.”

― Genesis P-Orridge

“The growth of art seems to be in cycles, and often its vigorous lifetime is restricted to a century or two. The periods of distinctive drama, Greek, English, Spanish, fall within such a limit; the schools of painting and sculpture likewise; and, in poetry, the Victorian age or the school of Pope will serve as examples.”

― George Edward Woodberry

“Shakespeare has been praised in English more than anything mortal except poetry itself. Fame exhausts thought in his eulogy.”

― George Edward Woodberry

“Poetry is a mere drug, Sir.”

― George Farquhar

“Even the people who have had success and made money writing these books of fiction seem to feel the need to pretend it’s no big deal, or part of a natural progression from poetry to fiction, but often it’s really just about the money, the perceived prestige.”

― George Murray

“Humour is a fine line to walk in poetry, as in fiction. I just think it’s harder to write. It’s harder to keep the respect of the reader too.”

― George Murray

“I’ve often entertained paranoid suspicions about my fridge and what it’s been doing to my poetry when I’m not looking, but I never even considered that my fan was thinking about me.”

― George Murray

“The poetry community here has been extraordinarily welcoming.”

― George Murray

“Then I discovered I loved writing poetry more than fiction.”

― George Murray

“Clarity, clarity, surely clarity is the most beautiful thing in the world, A limited, limiting clarity I have not and never did have any motive of poetry But to achieve clarity.”

― George Oppen

“The first question at that time in poetry was simply the question of honesty, of sincerity.”

― George Oppen

“I’ve read a lot of war writing, even World War I writing, the British war poetry of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves’s memoir ‘Goodbye to All That,’ and a civilian memoir, ‘Testament of Youth,’ by Vera Brittain.”

― George Packer

“As far as I’m concerned, the voices of Washington, black Washington, it’s poetry, man. There’s beauty in it.”

― George Pelecanos

“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

“My father loved poetry and music. But deep in himself he thought teaching the finest thing a person could do.”

― George Steiner

“My wife has been my greatest earthly inspiration. She excels in eloquence, the poetry of words, empathy and graciousness.”

― George W. Romney

“There may be more poetry than justice in poetic justice.”

― George Will

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

― Georges Braque

“Some say they see poetry in my paintings; I see only science.”

― Georges Seurat

“The cliche is dead poetry.”

― Gerald Brenan

“I seem to be always returning to photography in my poetry. I guess you could say that I’m documenting the personal history and relationship I have with photography.”

― Gerard Malanga

“When I started writing poetry in my senior term of high school – I was sixteen – I felt in touch with a secret language. It gave me a sense of identity. I suddenly discovered I wasn’t alone.”

― Gerard Malanga

“It is a happy thing that there is no royal road to poetry. The world should know by this time that one cannot reach Parnassus except by flying thither.”

― Gerard Manley Hopkins

“Poetry consists in a rhyming dictionary and things seen.”

― Gertrude Stein

“I’m a wizard at poetry.”

― Ghostface Killah

“’The Wizard of Poetry’ – I had that title since I did ‘The Pretty Toney’ album. That’s when the name first came to me.”

― Ghostface Killah

“All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry.”

― Gilbert K. Chesterton

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

― Gilbert K. Chesterton

“The higher Greek poetry did not make up fictitious plots; its business was to express the heroic saga, the myths.”

― Gilbert Murray

“What’s the function of poetry? It’s to express general truths, to connect with the reader and make him think: ‘Wow, I’ve experienced that, but you’ve expressed it so much better.’”

― Giles Andreae

“Poetry for me is very easy. It’s like a lightning bolt. I feel this calling, and the first line of the poem comes into my head, and I just have to go to the page, to the typewriter, to the computer or whatever and write it.”

― Gioconda Belli

“For poetry there exists neither large countries nor small. Its domain is in the heart of all men.”

― Giorgos Seferis

“If you don’t mark your successes, the day your ship comes in could be just another day at the office, and there’s no poetry in that.”

― Glen Hansard

“Claudia Rankine’s book-length poem ‘Citizen’ was nominated for National Book Critics Circle awards in the categories of poetry and criticism. It is one of the most devastating takes on American culture I have read in a long time, laying bare the stakes of being black in a country long ambivalent about our presence here.”

― Glenn Ligon

“I wrote poetry, which got me into lyrics. Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Elton John pulled me into pop. I started singing with a band – just for fun – when I was 17. And pretty soon, I was thinking I could sing pop in English as well as Spanish.”

― Gloria Estefan

“As to London we must console ourselves with the thought that if life outside is less poetic than it was in the days of old, inwardly its poetry is much deeper.”

― Goldwin Smith

“Every one who has a heart, however ignorant of architecture he may be, feels the transcendent beauty and poetry of the mediaeval churches.”

― Goldwin Smith

“I was in Paris at an English-language bookstore. I picked up a volume of Dickinson’s poetry. I came back to my hotel, read 2,000 of her poems and immediately began composing in my head. I wrote down the melodies even before I got to a piano.”

― Gordon Getty

“Writing poetry, which for me was then saying how I felt about this and that, didn’t help me to understand the world I lived in.”

― Grace Paley

“I developed a definition – which I think becomes less and less accurate as poetry moves into the world – that poetry was a way of speaking to the world, but fiction was a way to get the world to speak to me.”

― Grace Paley

“I’m really into poetry.”

― Grace Potter

“The poetry and transgression that was so much of surrealism’s anarchic force has been recruited into mainstream culture. It has been made commonplace by television and magazine merchandising, by computer games and Internet visuals, by film and MTV, by the fashion shoot.”

― Graham Joyce

“Watching and learning from the great Josette Bushell-Mingo, who was playing Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra at the time, and then to return to the same stage six months later playing a lead role, was incredible – I fell in love with the poetry and the breadth of the language so much that I didn’t want it to end.”

― Gugu Mbatha-Raw

“Prose, poetry, and drawings stand side by side in a very democratic way in my work.”

― Gunter Grass

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

― Gustave Flaubert

“All one’s inventions are true, you can be sure of that. Poetry is as exact a science as geometry.”

― Gustave Flaubert

“Poetry is as precise a thing as geometry.”

― Gustave Flaubert

“Poetry and fiction have grieved for a century now over the loss of some vitality which they think they see in a past from which we are by now irrevocably alienated.”

― Guy Davenport

“There’s a level at which, if you take poetry seriously, the focus it involves… that never goes away.”

― Guy Gavriel Kay

“My mother asked me what I wanted for my birthday, so I said I wanted to read poetry with her.”

― Guy Johnson

“Poetry is life distilled.”

― Gwendolyn Brooks

“There is a wonderful Hungarian literature, especially in lyric poetry.”

― Gyorgy Ligeti

“Poetry has done enough when it charms, but prose must also convince.”

― H. L. Mencken

“That metre itself forms an essential part of all true poetry is a principle which not even the assertions of an Aristotle or the pronouncements of a Plato can disestablish.”

― H. P. Lovecraft

“In the Nordic countries, there are hardly any societal problems, but we writers are bloodthirsty people like anyone else, so we have to quench this thirst with literature. If you live in a mafia state with lots of violence on the streets, you tend to write beautiful poetry.”

― Hallgrimur Helgason

“There is no gilding of setting sun or glamor of poetry to light up the ferocious and endless toil of the farmers’ wives.”

― Hamlin Garland

“I have a deep and ongoing love of Iceland, particular the landscape, and when writing ‘Burial Rites,’ I was constantly trying to see whether I could distill its extraordinary and ineffable qualities into a kind of poetry.”

― Hannah Kent

“And inasmuch as the bridge is a symbol of all such poetry as I am interested in writing it is my present fancy that a year from now I’ll be more contented working in an office than ever before.”

― Hart Crane

“Thinking in its lower grades, is comparable to paper money, and in its higher forms it is a kind of poetry.”

― Havelock Ellis

“Writing poetry makes you intensely conscious of how words sound, both aloud and inside the head of the reader. You learn the weight of words and how they sound to the ear.”

― Helen Dunmore

“People compose poetry, novels, sitcoms – for love.”

― Helen Fisher

“I have been in love with Emily Dickinson’s poetry since I was 13, and, like an anonymous post on findagrave.com says, ‘Dear Emily – I hope I have understood.’ Emily’s poems are sometimes difficult, often abstract, on occasion flippant, but her mind is inside them.”

― Helen Oyeyemi

“There are better ways we can transform this virulent hatred – by living our ideals, the Peace Corps, exchange students, teachers, exporting our music, poetry, blue jeans.”

― Helen Thomas

“If you like the precision and concision of poetry, a page of prose is unsatisfying in a certain way. And poetry is so direct.”

― Helen Vendler

“Twentieth-century American poetry has been one of the glories of modern literature.”

― Helen Vendler

“I would like to spend more time with Spanish poetry. I know French better than Spanish, but Spanish was my first language, and my father spoke it to us.”

― Helen Vendler

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

― Henry Austin Dobson

“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

“There are men who can write poetry, and there are men who can read balance sheets. The men who can read balance sheets cannot write.”

― Henry R. Luce

“Those who have never entered upon scientific pursuits know not a tithe of the poetry by which they are surrounded.”

― Herbert Spencer

“Love is the poetry of the senses.”

― Honore de Balzac

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

― Horace

“Poetry is a beautiful way of spoiling prose, and the laborious art of exchanging plain sense for harmony.”

― Horace Walpole

“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.”

― Horace Walpole

“A lot happens by accident in poetry.”

― Howard Nemerov

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

― Howard Nemerov

“I think there was a revolution in poetry, associated chiefly with Eliot and Pound; but maybe it is of the nature of revolutions or of the nature of history that their innovations should later come to look trivial or indistinguishable from technical tricks.”

― 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

“I’ve never read a political poem that’s accomplished anything. Poetry makes things happen, but rarely what the poet wants.”

― Howard Nemerov

“I’m reading a lot of poetry because it’s a lot easier to dip in and dip out when you’ve got 10 minutes to yourself.”

― Hozier

“On July 26, 1916, I announced to all my friends in America that from now on I resolved to write no more poems in the classical language, and to begin my experiments in writing poetry in the so-called vulgar tongue of the people.”

― Hu Shih

“For me concrete poetry was a particular way of using language which came out of a particular feeling, and I don’t have control over whether this feeling is in me or not.”

― Ian Hamilton Finlay

“But I can only write what the muse allows me to write. I cannot choose, I can only do what I am given, and I feel pleased when I feel close to concrete poetry – still.”

― Ian Hamilton Finlay

“But at the beginning it was clear to me that concrete poetry was peculiarly suited for using in public settings. This was my idea, but of course I never really much got the chance to do it.”

― Ian Hamilton Finlay

“Well, probably I was fed up with concrete poetry. There was a lot of bad concrete poetry and besides, it was confused with visual poetry which was completely different.”

― Ian Hamilton Finlay

“I was playing a singer-songwriter, so I started writing, and I started going up to different places around Los Angeles and reading poetry of my own, which terrified me, but I had to do it. I picked up a guitar and started learning guitar.”

― Inbar Lavi

“I can recite poetry, but I cannot write it.”

― Irrfan Khan

“I despair of ever writing excellent poetry.”

― Isaac Rosenberg

“I will not leave a corner of my consciousness covered up, but saturate myself with the strange and extraordinary new conditions of this life, and it will all refine itself into poetry later on.”

― Isaac Rosenberg

“Nobody ever told me what to read, or ever put poetry in my way.”

― Isaac Rosenberg

“Writing poetry is the hard manual labor of the imagination.”

― Ishmael Reed

“The founding father of Albanian literature is the nineteenth-century writer Naim Frasheri. Without having the greatness of Dante or Shakespeare, he is nonetheless the founder, the emblematic character. He wrote long epic poems, as well as lyrical poetry, to awaken the national consciousness of Albania.”

― Ismail Kadare

“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

“I found that it wasn’t so oddball to like music and poetry and visual arts, they’re kindred spirits.”

― J. Carter Brown

“I read as much poetry as time allows and circumstance dictates: No heartache can pass without a little Dorothy Parker, no thunderstorm without W. H. Auden, no sleepless night without W. B. Yeats.”

― J. Courtney Sullivan

“Reading poetry gives me a sense of calm, well-being, and love for humanity – the same stuff more flexible women get from yoga.”

― J. Courtney Sullivan

“Fiction will always be my greatest love, with poetry close behind.”

― J. Courtney Sullivan

“There’s no musical landscape to poetry. It has somewhat of a higher standard than songs, I think.”

― J. D. Souther

“When the modern movement began, starting perhaps with the paintings of Manet and the poetry of Baudelaire and Rimbaud, what distinguished the modern movement was the enormous honesty that writers, painters and playwrights displayed about themselves. The bourgeois novel flinches from such notions.”

― J. G. Ballard

“Poetry is an art, the easiest to dabble in, but the hardest to reach true excellence.”

― J. G. Stedman

“Every now and then I read a poem that does touch something in me, but I never turn to poetry for solace or pleasure in the way that I throw myself into prose.”

― J. K. Rowling

“On the subject of literary genres, I’ve always felt that my response to poetry is inadequate. I’d love to be the kind of person that drifts off into the garden with a slim volume of Elizabethan verse or a sheaf of haikus, but my passion is story.”

― J. K. Rowling

“I’ve written for every medium except poetry, at which I suck.”

― J. Michael Straczynski

“I wrote The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God in five hours, but I had it all planned out. It isn’t poetry and it does not pretend to be, but it does what it sets out to do.”

― J. Milton Hayes

“I keep trying to define ‘poetry,’ but it’s so difficult.”

― Jack Gleeson

“We all need ways to express ourselves, and poetry is one of mine.”

― Jack Prelutsky

“Poetry seems to sink into us the way prose doesn’t. I can still quote verses I learned when I was very young, but I have trouble remembering one line of a novel I just finished reading.”

― Jack Prelutsky

“Otherwise I don’t read much adult poetry at all, because I’m not smart enough and mostly I don’t get it.”

― Jack Prelutsky

“I look for poetry in English because it’s the only language I read.”

― Jack Prelutsky

“Frankly, writing poetry for children is plain old fun, and I consider myself blessed to have such a delightful career.”

― Jack Prelutsky

“Children seem naturally drawn to poetry – it’s some combination of the rhyme, rhythm, and the words themselves.”

― Jack Prelutsky

“To be poet laureate is to try to spread the love and the accessibility of poetry to young people.”

― Jacqueline Woodson

“I wrote some bad poetry that I published in North African journals, but even as I withdrew into this reading, I also led the life of a kind of young hooligan.”

― Jacques Derrida

“Poetry is man’s rebellion against being what he is.”

― James Branch Cabell

“In the world of poetry there are would-be poets, workshop poets, promising poets, lovesick poets, university poets, and a few real poets.”

― James Broughton

“Today the U.S. is farther from being nourished by poetry than it was a hundred years ago, when books of poems were best-sellers.”

― James Broughton

“Poetry for me is as much a spiritual practice as sexual ecstasy is.”

― James Broughton

“The quietest poetry can be an explosion of joy.”

― James Broughton

“For me, prose walks, poetry dances.”

― James Broughton

“My films are an extension of my poetry, using the white screen like the white page to be filled with images.”

― James Broughton

“Is there any purpose to translating poetry? A poem does not contain information of importance, like a signpost or a warning notice.”

― James Buchan

“I want a fever, in poetry: a fever, and tranquillity.”

― James Dickey

“She was the Judy Garland of American poetry.”

― James Dickey

“I think Ginsberg has done more harm to the craft that I honor and live by than anybody else by reducing it to a kind of mean that enables the most dubious practitioners to claim they are poets because they think, If the kind of thing Ginsberg does is poetry, I can do that.”

― James Dickey

“Poetry carries its history within it, and it is oral in origin. Its transmission was oral. Its transmission today is still in part oral, because we become acquainted with poetry through nursery rhymes, which we hear before we can read.”

― James Fenton

“Modernism in other arts brought extreme difficulty. In poetry, the characteristic difficulty imported under the name of modernism was obscurity. But obscurity could just as easily be a quality of metrical as of free verse.”

― James Fenton

“The voice is raised, and that is where poetry begins. And even today, in the prolonged aftermath of modernism, in places where ‘open form’ or free verse is the orthodoxy, you will find a memory of that raising of the voice in the term ‘heightened speech.’”

― James Fenton

“When we study Shakespeare on the page, for academic purposes, we may require all kinds of help. Generally, we read him in modern spelling and with modern punctuation, and with notes. But any poetry that is performed – from song lyric to tragic speech – must make its point, as it were, without reference back.”

― James Fenton

“Lyric poetry is, of course, musical in origin. I do know that what happened to poetry in the twentieth century was that it began to be written for the page. When it’s a question of typography, why not? Poets have done beautiful things with typography – Apollinaire’s ‘Calligrammes,’ that sort of thing.”

― James Fenton

“English poetry begins whenever we decide to say the modern English language begins, and it extends as far as we decide to say that the English language extends.”

― James Fenton

“Some people think that English poetry begins with the Anglo-Saxons. I don’t, because I can’t accept that there is any continuity between the traditions of Anglo-Saxon poetry and those established in English poetry by the time of, say, Shakespeare. And anyway, Anglo-Saxon is a different language, which has to be learned.”

― James Fenton

“Composers need words, but they do not necessarily need poetry. The Russian composer, Aleksandr Mossolov, who chose texts from newspaper small ads, had a good point to make. With revolutionary music, any text can be set to work.”

― James Fenton

“A glance at the history of European poetry is enough to inform us that rhyme itself is not indispensable. Latin poetry in the classical age had no use for it, and the kind of Latin poetry that does rhyme – as for instance the medieval ‘Carmina Burana’ – tends to be somewhat crude stuff in comparison with the classical verse that doesn’t.”

― James Fenton

“Great poetry does not have to be technically intricate.”

― James Fenton

“Poetry carries its history within it, and it is oral in origin. Its transmission was oral.”

― James Fenton

“The iambic pentameter owes its pre-eminence in English poetry to its genius for variation. Good blank verse does not sound like a series of identically measured lines. It sounds like a series of subtle variations on the same theme.”

― James Fenton

“One problem we face comes from the lack of any agreed sense of how we should be working to train ourselves to write poetry.”

― James Fenton

“In the writing of poetry we never know anything for sure. We will never know if we have ‘trained’ or ‘practised’ enough. We will never be able to say that we have reached grade eight, or that we have left the grades behind and are now embarked on an advanced training.”

― James Fenton

“The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.”

― James Gates Percival

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

― James Joyce

“The short story seems like the best of all possible worlds. I do feel it is closer to writing poetry than to writing a novel, with its requirements of concentration and economy.”

― James Lasdun

“Concrete poets continue to turn out beautiful things, but to me they’re more visual than oral, and they almost really belong on the wall rather than in a book. I haven’t the least idea of where poetry is going.”

― James Laughlin

“I think that concrete poetry seems to have, as far as I can see, come to a kind of a dead end. It doesn’t seem to be going any further than it went in its high period of about five or six years ago.”

― James Laughlin

“I think that is where poetry reading becomes such an individual thing. I mean I have friend who like poets who just don’t say anything to me at all, I mean they seem to me rather ordinary and pedestrian.”

― James Laughlin

“I think there’s no excuse for the American poetry reader not knowing a good deal about what is going on in the rest of the world.”

― James Laughlin

“I think we will always have the impulse towards visual poetry with us, and I wouldn’t agree with Bly that it’s a bad thing. It depends on the ability of the individual poet to do it well, and to make a shape which is interesting enough to hold your attention.”

― James Laughlin

“Of course a poem is a two-way street. No poem is any good if it doesn’t suggest to the reader things from his own mind and recollection that he will read into it, and will add to what the poet has suggested. But I do think poetry readings are very important.”

― James Laughlin

“We don’t attempt to have any theme for a number of the anthology, or to have any particular sequence. We just put in things that we like, and then we try to alternate the prose and the poetry.”

― James Laughlin

“Religion is no more possible without prayer than poetry without language, or music without atmosphere.”

― James Martineau

“There’s a great deal of poetry in working out how things work, cutting bits of metal, trying to mend stuff.”

― James May

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

― James Schuyler

“Well, if this is poetry, I’m certainly never going to write any myself.”

― James Schuyler

“I don’t think you can define how you acquire your imagination any more than you can define why one person has a sense of humor and another doesn’t. But I certainly would lean to the side that says all those solitary hours of daydreaming were a kind of training for poetry.”

― James Tate

“My hobbies are playing piano and guitar, pining for girls, worrying about climate change, pining for girls, and the poetry of John Keats.”

― James Veitch

“I have a band called M&O. We were working on our first album in 2011 or 2012. We were looking for people to collaborate with, and I met Chance through a Young Chicago Authors poetry slam.”

― Jamila Woods

“I like to borrow forms and quotes and use a lot of allusions, in both poetry and music.”

― Jamila Woods

“When I started writing poetry, it was always in very hip-hop influenced spaces: Someone would teach a Nas song side-by-side with a Gwendolyn Brooks poem, and we’d talk about the connections between those things.”

― Jamila Woods

“It was through poetry I learned just to appreciate my own voice and to not think of my voice in terms of what it needs to be able to do, but what it can do.”

― Jamila Woods

“My artistic manifesto exists in the world as poetry. So even though most of the things that I’ve done have been on other people’s projects or could be pigeonholed in certain ways, that’s not how I perceive myself.”

― Jamila Woods

“I really liked ‘Blk Girl Art.’ It’s like a manifesto saying why I create, whether it’s poetry or music.”

― Jamila Woods

“As for how criticism of Keats’ poetry relates to criticism of my own work, I’ll leave that for others to decide.”

― Jane Campion

“I have to admit that I had a lot of problems with poetry.”

― Jane Campion

“And, I mean, I think poetry does need to be met to some extent, especially, I guess, 19th century poetry, and for me, it’s just been so worth the effort. It’s like I’m planting a garden in my head.”

― Jane Campion

“Living here in Cambridge, you had to have an identity. It was not enough to be a wife. So I did a Ph.D. in medieval Spanish poetry.”

― Jane Hawking

“I see poetry as a path toward new understanding and transformation, and so I’ve looked at specific poems I love, and at poetry’s gestures in the broadest sense, in an effort to feel and learn what they offer from the inside.”

― Jane Hirshfield

“Poetry is a release of something previously unknown into the visible. You write to invite that, to make of yourself a gathering of the unexpected and, with luck, of the unexpectable.”

― Jane Hirshfield

“While I was in junior high, I wrote an entire essay in rhyme about manufacturing in New York State. In high school, I won a Scholastic poetry contest.”

― Jane Yolen

“I always read poetry before I write, to sensitize me to the rhythms and music of language.”

― Janet Fitch

“I have always written poetry but I have never applied it to songwriting.”

― Janine Turner

“I recently read that it’s the left brain that does all that calculating, and the right brain that does the poetry. Somehow I’ve veered way towards the left. I’ve been doing it for years. Maybe I do art to balance it out.”

― Jason Mraz

“It all has to do with art – writing, painting, things I’ve done for a long time but just never had enough time to pursue. I have poetry – things that are designed for songs, but they’re always poems first.”

― Jason Newsted

“Poetry has the ability to create entire moments with just a few choice words. The spacing and line breaks create rhythm, a helpful musicality, a natural flow. The separate stanzas aid in perpetuating a kind of incremental reading, one small chunk at a time.”

― Jason Reynolds

“I wanted to be a poet. I fell in love with poetry around eight years old, but not through literature. Instead, it came through hip-hop lyrics and my obsession with reading liner notes. Queen Latifah’s ‘Black Reign’ is the album that stands out the most.”

― Jason Reynolds

“Queen Latifah was writing poetry. Maybe Latifah’s ‘Ladies First’ and Angelou’s ‘Phenomenal Woman’ are the same thing, a generation apart.”

― Jason Reynolds

“I have written about some truly great writers – John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, and William Faulkner. Faulkner and Frost were the very peaks of American poetry and fiction in the 20th century.”

― Jay Parini

“Shakespeare was a man who wrote poetry. I’m a man who writes poetry. Why not compare yourself to the best?”

― Jay-Z

“Poetry is indispensable – if I only knew what for.”

― 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

“The poet doesn’t invent. He listens.”

― Jean Cocteau

“There are certain things in which mediocrity is not to be endured, such as poetry, music, painting, public speaking.”

― Jean de la Bruyere

“The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.”

― Jean Giraudoux

“The idea is to make the script out of a political analysis and then to convey that – sometimes in poetry, sometimes science, sometimes all it takes is a film. The film itself is less and less spectacular because I think very strongly now the more spectacular you are, the more you are absorbed by the things you are trying to destroy.”

― Jean-Luc Godard

“What has always attracted me in life is poetry. Any genre can have poetry. For me, poetry contains truth.”

― Jean Marais

“Every age has its own poetry; in every age the circumstances of history choose a nation, a race, a class to take up the torch by creating situations that can be expressed or transcended only through poetry.”

― Jean-Paul Sartre

“I’ve always written, all my life, and when I was very young I developed an interest in poetry.”

― Jeffery Deaver

“I like the way words go together and I like the gamesmanship of writing poetry. It is such a challenge.”

― Jeffery Deaver

“But one does not make living writing poetry unless you’re a professor, and one frankly doesn’t get a lot of girls as a poet.”

― Jeffery Deaver

“I’m partial to epic poetry, which might be surprising given that I don’t write poetry at all. The combination of rollicking storytelling with musical language seems to me the highest achievement.”

― Jennifer Egan

“I studied poetry in college and for a year in an MFA program. As time went on, my poems got more and more complicated. What I was really trying to do was tell stories.”

― Jennifer McMahon

“Poetry taught me a great deal about language and images, but when it came to plotting, I was stumped. It’s been very much a learn-by-doing thing for me.”

― Jennifer McMahon

“I graduated with a B.A. from Goddard College in 1991 and then studied poetry for a year in the M.F.A. in Writing Program at Vermont College.”

― Jennifer McMahon

“I was trained as an actress. But I wasn’t a very convincing actress, so I started doing punk poetry and then fell into doing stand-up.”

― Jenny Eclair

“It’s necessary to start most work alone. But I’m tickled to death when I can pull somebody in or join someone, whether it’s borrowing poetry or traveling with an associate.”

― Jenny Holzer

“When I was 18, I took a trip to Thailand with a friend. We stayed for a month. Bangkok was very raw for a teenager: there were no cellphones, no Internet, and the only music I had with me was this cassette by Liz Phair. I was writing a lot of poetry, and she embodied a talky style of songwriting that I found very accessible.”

― Jenny Lewis

“Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, who founded Lenny Books together, also happen to have exquisite reading tastes – from obscure small press poetry chapbook to dishy memoirs to literary novels – and so it’s a real honor that they’ve chosen to announce their imprint with my stories.”

― Jenny Zhang

“I went to school in California, at Stanford when I was seventeen, and I lived in San Francisco until I was twenty-three, and then I lived in Hungary for, like, a summer, and then I went to Iowa for three years. At Iowa, I actually did the fiction program, not poetry. I was a fiction writer for a long time before I was ‘out’ as a poet.”

― Jenny Zhang

“I just submitted what I had to the ‘Octopus Books’ contest open reading period, and they said they wanted to publish my poetry book. Then I started to publish more and more poetry because people would ask me to do readings or ask me submit something for their journal.”

― Jenny Zhang

“Poetry was my dirty little secret when I was a fiction writer at Iowa, and then fiction became my dirty little secret when I started writing more poetry and working for ‘Rookie’.”

― Jenny Zhang

“The historical legacy of ‘The Best American Poetry’ is they’ve had very few editors who were not white. They’ve had very few instances where they’ve selected poems by non-white poets.”

― Jenny Zhang

“Gil Thorpe is a great diversion and is to book writing as poetry is to prose.”

― Jerry B. Jenkins

“So few people read poetry. That’s sad, isn’t it?”

― Jerry Hall

“I think poetry is able to say things in such a small, perfect way that are so hard to say. I think it’s a perfect medium for expressing difficult ideas and concepts and feelings. It’s one of my great loves.”

― Jerry Hall

“I’ve been writing since I was sixteen. At first, I wrote mostly short stories and poetry. The first thing I ever had published was a poem about a football game. It was printed in my local newspaper.”

― Jerry Spinelli

“I’m a failed poet. Reading poetry helps me to see the world differently, and I try to infuse my prose with figurative language, which goes against the trend in fiction.”

― Jesmyn Ward

“I dabbled in writing, wrote really bad poetry in high school. I also took a few writing classes when I was an undergrad at Stanford. I was so intimidated.”

― Jesmyn Ward

“My cure for writer’s block is to step away from the thing I’m stuck on, usually a novel, and write something totally different. Besides fiction, I write poetry, screenplays, essays and journalism. It’s usually not the writing itself that I’m stuck on, but thing I’m trying to write. So I often have four or five things going at once.”

― Jess Walter

“For me, movies and television are interesting because they are the dominant storytelling form of our time. My first love will always be fiction, and especially novels, but I’m a writer… I write poetry and essays and criticism and I’d love to write a whole play, and sometimes I even write scripts.”

― Jess Walter

“My poetry is the most disappointing thing for me that I’ve ever written. When I say I can write everything, I don’t say I can write everything well.”

― Jess Walter

“I was raised on songs of poetry like Simon and Garfunkel and Cat Stevens and Neil Young, etc. I love those old songs probably the most because they hit me so deep down in my core.”

― Jessica Steen

“I love words; I love poetry.”

― Jessica Steen

“My mum is a singer and harpist, and my dad writes fantastic poetry, so we’ve grown up around a lot of words and music.”

― Jessie Buckley

“I think when kids just see well-crafted poetry, it’s just obtuse to them. It’s hard to relate to.”

― Jewel

“I’ve always had a love for poetry and when I got signed to a record label I thought, ‘How odd that I’m doing a record before a book of poetry,’”

― Jewel

“As I got older, I really got into Tupac’s poetry, his books and just learning about his life and what he was into.”

― Jhene Aiko

“From the beginnings of literature, poets and writers have based their narratives on crossing borders, on wandering, on exile, on encounters beyond the familiar. The stranger is an archetype in epic poetry, in novels. The tension between alienation and assimilation has always been a basic theme.”

― Jhumpa Lahiri

“I love reading poetry, and yet, at this point, the thought of writing a poem, to me, is tantamount to figuring out a trigonometry question.”

― Jhumpa Lahiri

“I think the first time I really heard poetry was in the schoolyard. Just the little limericks that kids say when they’re jumping rope and playing games. I think that’s the first time I heard rhyming words – I don’t know if I’d call that the definitive poetry, but that’s when I heard rhyming words said and not necessarily sung.”

― Jill Scott

“I’ve been reading poetry publicly for 20 years, and this is what you do – you express, you sometimes dig a bit to get a conversation started. That’s the point of poetry. You’re supposed to go, ‘Hmmmm,’ and ‘Woooh!’”

― Jill Scott

“I was reading poetry to my girlfriends, and they were like, ‘You’re really good. You should go to some poetry readings or something.’ And I eventually went and got a, you know, somewhat of a name for myself and a little bit of a following.”

― Jill Scott

“Poetry can unleash a terrible fear. I suppose it is the fear of possibilities, too many possibilities, each with its own endless set of variations… With basketball, you can correct your own mistakes, immediately and beautifully, in midair.”

― Jim Carroll

“Poetry is a pure meritocracy. There’s no room for ambiguity: either a poem moves you and opens up new vistas in life, or it doesn’t. It’s completely objective, and the best always rise to the top.”

― Jim Goetz

“Poetry, at its best, is the language your soul would speak if you could teach your soul to speak.”

― Jim Harrison

“We are supposed to write poetry to keep the gods alive.”

― Jim Harrison

“I think it comes from really liking literary forms. Poetry is very beautiful, but the space on the page can be as affecting as where the text is. Like when Miles Davis doesn’t play, it has a poignancy to it.”

― Jim Jarmusch

“Listen, real poetry doesn’t say anything; it just ticks off the possibilities. Opens all doors. You can walk through any one that suits you.”

― Jim Morrison

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

― Jim Morrison

“The Masters is poetry to me.”

― Jim Nantz

“Dylan captured what was on a million minds and turned it into poetry. With ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ or ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’,’ he set a whole new standard.”

― Jimmy Iovine

“I think I would have been a writer, anyhow, in the sense of having written a story every now and then, or continued writing poetry. But it was the war experience and the two novels I wrote about Vietnam that really got me started as a professional writer.”

― Joe Haldeman

“Poetry is the mother-tongue of the human race.”

― Johann Georg Hamann

“Personality is everything in art and poetry.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Superstition is the poetry of life.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Science arose from poetry… when times change the two can meet again on a higher level as friends.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“I don’t look on poetry as closed works. I feel they’re going on all the time in my head and I occasionally snip off a length.”

― John Ashbery

“There is the view that poetry should improve your life. I think people confuse it with the Salvation Army.”

― John Ashbery

“An experienced reader uses the poem as an agent of inquiry. This makes poetry very exciting, unstable, and interactive.”

― John Barton

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

― John Barton

“Poetry is but another form of inquiry into the nature of phenomena, using with its own unique procedures and tools.”

― John Barton

“In the past, poetry came in the form of spells and chants used to effect change.”

― John Barton

“If poetry alters the way in which the reader views the world, then it has had its desired effect.”

― John Barton

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

― John Barton

“My obsession with time informs my poetry so completely it is hard for me to summarize it. We want time to pass, for new things to happen to us, we want to hold on to certain moments, we don’t want our lives to end.”

― John Barton

“Drawing is a way of coming upon the connection between things, just like metaphor in poetry reconnects what has become separated.”

― John Berger

“Too many people in the modern world view poetry as a luxury, not a necessity like petrol. But to me it’s the oil of life.”

― John Betjeman

“Poetry stands or falls by its music.”

― John Burnside

“My poems tend to be more celebratory and lyrical, and the novels so far pretty dark. Poetry doesn’t seem to me to be an appropriate tool for exploring that.”

― John Burnside

“With fiction, I tend to get to my desk and start writing. Poetry I write in my head, often while walking, so that my poems have an organic quality, hopefully.”

― John Burnside

“I realised I’d spent a lot of time in my poetry trying to find a way of talking about that whereof we cannot speak.”

― John Burnside

“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

“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

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

― John Clare

“The arts generally have had to recognize Modernism – how should poetry escape?”

― John Crowe Ransom

“And how can poetry stand up against its new conditions? Its position is perfectly precarious.”

― John Crowe Ransom

“It’s something we, guys, have all done. Made tapes for girls, trying to impress them, to meet them on a shared plane of aesthetics. Read them someone else’s poetry because they do poetry better than you could do it, because you’re too awkward to do it.”

― John Cusack

“Opera combines pretty basic theater and poetry, but the storyline itself is actually quite poetic and, after some digital research, taking that actual content and seeing it as undeniably poetic.”

― John Darnielle

“I was writing poetry, and the Mountain Goats was an outgrowth of that.”

― John Darnielle

“My father would tell me if I wasn’t writing in meter verse, it wasn’t poetry.”

― John Darnielle

“Poetry is of so subtle a spirit, that in the pouring out of one language into another it will evaporate.”

― John Denham

“I am two fools, I know, for loving, and for saying so in whining poetry.”

― John Donne

“The Bible is not just one book, but an entire library, with stories, songs, poetry, letters and history, as well as literature that might more obviously qualify as ‘religious.’”

― John Drane

“For while the subjects of poetry are few and recurrent, the moods of man are infinitely various and unstable. It is the same in all arts.”

― John Drinkwater

“So it is in poetry. All we ask is that the mood recorded shall impress us as having been of the kind that exhausts the imaginative capacity; if it fails to do this the failure will announce itself either in prose or in insignificant verse.”

― John Drinkwater

“A lyric, it is true, is the expression of personal emotion, but then so is all poetry, and to suppose that there are several kinds of poetry, differing from each other in essence, is to be deceived by wholly artificial divisions which have no real being.”

― John Drinkwater

“Any long work in which poetry is persistent, be it epic or drama or narrative, is really a succession of separate poetic experiences governed into a related whole by an energy distinct from that which evoked them.”

― John Drinkwater

“But in the finished art of the song the use of words has no connection with the use of words in poetry.”

― John Drinkwater

“If it is an imperfect word, no external circumstance can heighten its value as poetry.”

― John Drinkwater

“It should here be added that poetry habitually takes the form of verse.”

― John Drinkwater

“Poetry being the sign of that which all men desire, even though the desire be unconscious, intensity of life or completeness of experience, the universality of its appeal is a matter of course.”

― John Drinkwater

“Poetry is the communication through words of certain experiences that can be communicated in no other way.”

― John Drinkwater

“The musician – if he be a good one – finds his own perception prompted by the poet’s perception, and he translates the expression of that perception from the terms of poetry into the terms of music.”

― John Drinkwater

“To know anything of a poet but his poetry is, so far as the poetry is concerned, to know something that may be entertaining, even delightful, but is certainly inessential.”

― John Drinkwater

“We recognise in the finished art, which is the result of these conditions, the best words in the best order – poetry; and to put this essential poetry into different classes is impossible.”

― John Drinkwater

“Dancing is the poetry of the foot.”

― John Dryden

“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

“I’m fascinated by rap and by hip-hop. I think there’s a lot of poetry in it. There’s a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it. And I think you’d better listen to it pretty carefully, ’cause it’s important.”

― John F. Kerry

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

― John Fowles

“When I began, poetry was very academic. You published little pamphlets from fancy presses. It was rather… chaste. There wasn’t much public reading. Then there was poetry and jazz, which I don’t think worked, though I love jazz.”

― John Fuller

“It’s always good to show that poetry isn’t the little depressed lyric people believe it to be, that it’s something bigger.”

― John Fuller

“Film has its own innate poetry.”

― John Hillcoat

“To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry.”

― John Holmes

“Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one’s soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject.”

― John Keats

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

― John Keats

“The poetry of the earth is never dead.”

― 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

“Money is like poetry because both involve learning to communicate in a compressed language that packs a lot of meaning and consequence into the minimum semantic space.”

― John Lanchester

“Leaving college early to play pro football was the best thing that happened to me. I got to drop the most boring poetry class. Dumbest thing I did was being in that class.”

― John Layfield

“Since the printing press came into being, poetry has ceased to be the delight of the whole community of man; it has become the amusement and delight of the few.”

― John Masefield

“Poetry is a mixture of common sense, which not all have, with an uncommon sense, which very few have.”

― John Masefield

“Music is closer to poetry than anything.”

― John McLaughlin

“Rap and spoken word have reawakened the country to poetry in itself. Texting and Twitter encourage creative uses of casual language, in ways I have celebrated widely. But we’ve fallen behind on savoring the formal layer of our language.”

― John McWhorter

“It is the timber of poetry that wears most surely, and there is no timber that has not strong roots among the clay and worms.”

― John Millington Synge

“The gross heathenism of civilization has generally destroyed nature, and poetry, and all that is spiritual.”

― John Muir

“It is written on the arched sky; it looks out from every star. It is the poetry of Nature; it is that which uplifts the spirit within us.”

― John Ruskin

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

― John Ruskin

“The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world… to see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one.”

― John Ruskin

“It is certain that at certain times talent entirely overcomes thought or poetry.”

― John Singer Sargent

“Everybody interprets things differently with their own perception, and I want poetry to pull out of them their own feelings.”

― John Trudell

“The applause of his native land is the richest reward to which the patriot ever aspires. It is this for which ‘he bears to live or dares to die.’ It is the high incentive to those achievements which illustrate the page of history and give to poetry its brightest charm.”

― John Tyler

“Writing criticism is to writing fiction and poetry as hugging the shore is to sailing in the open sea.”

― John Updike

“I must say, when I reread myself, it’s the poetry I tend to look at. It’s the most exciting to write, and it’s over the quickest.”

― John Updike

“The beauty, the poetry of the fear in their eyes. I didn’t mind going to jail for, what, five, six hours? It was absolutely worth it.”

― Johnny Depp

“I guess I started writing poetry and stuff and then decided to set it to music.”

― Johnny Flynn

“In Lithuania, I am known as a poet, and they don’t care about my cinema. In Europe, they don’t know my poetry; in Europe, I am a filmmaker. But here, in the United States, I am only a maverick!”

― Jonas Mekas

“I’ve always loved the poetry in ‘Pale Fire.’ I think it’s wonderful.”

― Jonathan Galassi

“Poetry is really about your mental state or intellectual, and where you are, and you’re trying to evoke that, explain it to yourself, whatever, you’re trying to dig into it, analyse yourself.”

― Jonathan Galassi

“I think poetry was always where I went to deal with my deepest feelings.”

― Jonathan Galassi

“I’ve always used poetry to explain myself to myself. These things just sat in my psyche and then came out.”

― Jonathan Galassi

“I love poetry; it’s my primary literary interest, and I suppose the kind of reading you do when you are reading poems – close reading – can carry over into how you read other things.”

― Jonathan Galassi

“Poetry is not mainstream, but then neither is serious fiction, really. But I don’t think there’s a lot to worry about in this particular ‘problem’. Why does art have to be mainstream to be significant?”

― Jonathan Galassi

“I think poetry should be read very much like prose, except that the line breaks should be acknowledged somehow.”

― Jonathan Galassi

“I find a lot of poetry to be narcissistic.”

― Joni Mitchell

“I’ve written poetry since I was in the first grade, and it wasn’t until I was a little bit older that I realized poetry could be put to music and become a song.”

― Jordin Sparks

“Poetry remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art.”

― Jorge Luis Borges

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

― Jose Bergamin

“A grain of poetry suffices to season a century.”

― Jose Marti

“Poetry is adolescence fermented, and thus preserved.”

― Jose Ortega y Gasset

“I think the novel is not so much a literary genre, but a literary space, like a sea that is filled by many rivers. The novel receives streams of science, philosophy, poetry and contains all of these; it’s not simply telling a story.”

― Jose Saramago

“If what distinguishes us from other species is speech, then poetry, which is the supreme linguistic operation, is our anthropological – indeed, genetic – goal.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“Poetry is rather an approach to things, to life, than it is typographical production.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“Poetry seems to be the only weapon able to beat language, using language’s own means.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“To translate poetry, one has to possess some art, at the very least the art of stylistic re-embodiment.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“The more one reads poetry, the less tolerant one becomes of any sort of verbosity, be that in political or philosophical discourse, be that in history, social studies or the art of fiction.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“Americans have been tremendously fortunate in poetry, regarding both the quantity and quality of poetry produced. Unfortunately, it remains in schools and universities; it is not widely distributed.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“My idea is simply – is very simple – is that the books of poetry should be published in far greater volume and be distributed in far greater volume, in far more substantial manner. You can sell in supermarkets very cheaply. In paperbacks. You can sell in drugstores.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“This assumption that the blue collar crowd is not supposed to read it, or a farmer in his overalls is not to read poetry, seems to be dangerous if not tragic.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“I am a patriot, but I must say that English poetry is the richest in the world.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“Poetry is not an art or a branch of art: it’s something more.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“Anyone who regards poetry as an entertainment, as a ‘read,’ commits an anthropological crime, in the first place against himself.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“American poetry to me is a sort of relentless, nonstop sermon on human autonomy.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“Tyranny will make an entire population into readers of poetry.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“American poetry is this country’s greatest patrimony. It takes a stranger to see some things clearly. This is one of them, and I am that stranger.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“Poetry isn’t just different from prose, it’s more important for the human species.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“The charge frequently leveled against poetry – that it is difficult, obscure, hermetic and whatnot – indicates not the state of poetry but, frankly, the rung of the evolutionary ladder on which society is stuck.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“People who buy ‘The National Enquirer’ would buy poetry. They should be given a choice. I’m absolutely serious.”

― Joseph Brodsky

“From my teenage years on, I sought out Native elders from many tribal nations and listened to their words. I also started a small press, The Greenfield Review Press, and became very involved with publishing the work of other American Indian authors, especially books of poetry.”

― Joseph Bruchac

“When I arrived at Columbia, I gave up acting and became interested in all things French. French poetry, French history, French literature.”

― Joseph Gordon-Levitt

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

― Joseph Joubert

“You will not find poetry anywhere unless you bring some of it with you.”

― Joseph Joubert

“Poetry is the exquisite expression of exquisite expressions.”

― Joseph Roux

“Science is for those who learn, poetry is for those who know.”

― Joseph Roux

“Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes.”

― Joseph Roux

“Music has a poetry of its own, and that poetry is called melody.”

― Joshua Logan

“I read mostly poetry.”

― Joshua Sasse

“The next big push in my life is trying to get poetry popular again.”

― Joshua Sasse

“The creative act amazes me. Whether it’s poetry, whether it’s music, it’s an amazing process, and it has something to do with bringing forth the old out into the world to create and to bring forth that which will rejuvenate.”

― Joy Harjo

“Bottom line, I have to follow what my soul says, or my spirit. And my spirit said that poetry and the arts should be without borders, should be without political borders.”

― Joy Harjo

“You just go where poetry is, whether it’s in your heart or your mind or in books or in places where there’s live poetry or recordings.”

― Joy Harjo

“I chose poetry. Actually, poetry chose me.”

― Joy Harjo

“When you are writing literary writing, you are communicating something subtextual with emotions and poetry. The prose has to have a voice; it’s not just typing. It takes a while to get that voice.”

― Joyce Carol Oates

“If food is poetry, is not poetry also food?”

― Joyce Carol Oates

“Let’s detox our cluttered academic brain. That’s what the poet does. People call it daydreaming, detoxing our minds and taking care of that clutter. It’s being able to let in call letters from the poetry universe.”

― Juan Felipe Herrera

“San Diego shaped me a lot. The visual landscapes, the emotional panoramas, the teachers and mentors I had from the third grade through San Diego High – it’s all a big part of the poetry fountain that I continue to drink from.”

― Juan Felipe Herrera

“Poetry, as odd as it is, and as hard to figure out as it is, many times, it’s almost something that we’re used to. It’s kind of like a dream language that we had centuries ago, so that when we speak poetically or write a poem about what’s going on, a real difficult issue that’s facing our communities, people listen.”

― Juan Felipe Herrera

“All voices are important, and yet it seems that people of color have a lot to say, particularly if you look through the poetry of young people – a lot of questions and a lot of concerns about immigration and security issues, you name it – big questions.”

― Juan Felipe Herrera

“Poetry can tell us about what’s going on in our lives – not only our personal but our social and political lives.”

― Juan Felipe Herrera

“Poetry is a call to action, and it also is action.”

― Juan Felipe Herrera

“I gave my voice to poetry.”

― Juan Felipe Herrera

“The banner of the project is ‘Casa de Colores.’ Under that banner, I’m going to invite people to do a lot of good things. Perhaps working in groups, working on poetry.”

― Juan Felipe Herrera

“My mother was a washerwoman – or a woman that cleaned houses in Texas… in Plano, Texas – who always loved poetry and always loved stories.”

― Juan Felipe Herrera

“In my opinion, the most significant works of the twentieth century are those that rise beyond the conceptual tyranny of genre; they are, at the same time, poetry, criticism, narrative, drama, etc.”

― Juan Goytisolo

“Literature is a state of culture, poetry is a state of grace, before and after culture.”

― Juan Ramon Jimenez

“I’ve written poetry most of my life.”

― Julia Michaels

“Metaphorical tone deafness is when people are unable to discern what is of value in something. I think I’m tone deaf to poetry, for instance. Despite having studied it into a second year of university, most of it just leaves me cold.”

― Julian Baggini

“I remember films I made at university, which are unbelievably pretentious. Poetry that I’d written that I delivered to camera, against a Venetian blind, strong shadows, looking slightly off-camera.”

― Julian Barratt

“And I know I’m supposed to feel guilty for wanting people to buy my books… and books in general? Novels and poetry, they belong to the realm of art. How dirty of us to try to hawk art! But, after a decade of hand-wringing and apologies, I can’t quite muster the guilt anymore.”

― Julianna Baggott

“Theater is far superior to film in poetry, in abstract poetry.”

― Julie Taymor

“Only in dreams, in poetry, in play do we sometimes arrive at what we were before we were this thing that, who knows, we are.”

― Julio Cortazar

“So, poetry becomes a means for useful dialogue between people who are not only unknown, but mute to each other. It produces a dialogue among people that guards all of us against manipulation by our so-called leaders.”

― June Jordan

“The first function of poetry is to tell the truth, to learn how to do that, to find out what you really feel and what you really think.”

― June Jordan

“Poetry is a political act because it involves telling the truth.”

― June Jordan

“Like most lit nerds, I’m a voracious reader. I never got enough poetry under my belt growing up but I do read it – some of my favorites, Gina Franco and Angela Shaw and Cornelius Eady and Kevin Young, remind me daily that unless the words sing and dance, what’s the use of putting them down on paper.”

― Junot Diaz

“Personally I always feel like I could use a little more of poetry apothegmatic power in my own work but we’re always lacking something.”

― Junot Diaz

“A connection between poetry and blindness is a classical trope.”

― Justin Cartwright

“I’ve always written. When I was in school, the only teacher who ever liked me was my creative writing teacher. I used to enter poetry competitions, and I don’t think I ever lost one. So I had the idea for a while of being some kind of poet.”

― Justin Townes Earle

“I heard Nirvana, and discovered that songs could be like poetry, but a little bit more refined: you didn’t have to have 20 verses to get your point across.”

― Justin Townes Earle

“I was a very creative child. I played the saxophone and piano, and I was always writing poetry and stories, or drawing in my notebook. I just tried to express myself through as many creative outlets as possible. And in high school, I started to get really into photography and videography and would spend hours working on it.”

― Kali Uchis

“I write the occasional poem. I think my dabbling in poetry makes me better at screenplays. Poetry teaches the value of condensing, the importance of talking in a few words.”

― Kamal Haasan

“There’s a whole stereotype of the jazz musician that’s into poetry and reading and metaphysics and all that stuff. Really, it’s a sign of someone who’s searching, whose mind is open, looking for answers. Whatever ideas you may come up with, the beautiful thing is the search.”

― Kamasi Washington

“Poetry and prose can start a revolution, break walls, and ideas can build nations.”

― Kanika Dhillon

“I have been writing poetry for a long time now. I started writing in my school days.”

― Kapil Sibal

“I think poetry is a fabulous medium to encapsulate thoughts far more precisely than prose.”

― Kapil Sibal

“A theology should be like poetry, which takes us to the end of what words and thoughts can do.”

― Karen Armstrong

“Poetry is innocent, not wise. It does not learn from experience, because each poetic experience is unique.”

― Karl Shapiro

“Versatility of education can be found in our best poetry, but the depth of mankind should be found in the philosopher.”

― Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

“A definition of poetry can only determine what poetry should be and not what poetry actually was and is; otherwise the most concise formula would be: Poetry is that which at some time and some place was thus named.”

― Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

“The poetry of this one is called philosophical, of that one philological, of a third rhetorical, and so on. Which is then the poetic poetry?”

― Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

“Women are treated as unjustly in poetry as in life. The feminine ones are not idealistic, and the idealistic not feminine.”

― Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

“One has only as much morality as one has philosophy and poetry.”

― Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

“From what the moderns want, we must learn what poetry should become; from what the ancients did, what poetry must be.”

― Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

“He who has religion will speak poetry. But philosophy is the tool with which to seek and discover religion.”

― Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

“Women do not have as great a need for poetry because their own essence is poetry.”

― Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

“Nothing truly convincing – which would possess thoroughness, vigor, and skill – has been written against the ancients as yet; especially not against their poetry.”

― Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

“Mathematics is, as it were, a sensuous logic, and relates to philosophy as do the arts, music, and plastic art to poetry.”

― Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

“If you want to see mankind fully, look at a family. Within the family minds become organically one, and for this reason the family is total poetry.”

― Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

“My first book was an adult novel, ‘Down Among the Gods,’ published by Virago, and I’ve written poems as well, a slim volume of poetry.”

― Kate Thompson

“In the world of British poetry, Carol Ann Duffy is a superstar.”

― Katharine Viner

“You have to be careful about over-politicizing the utterances of people of colour because, oftentimes, there’s poetry that seeks to go beyond that narrative.”

― Kehinde Wiley

“People who can’t speak Russian will be less susceptible to Russian propaganda. But they will also be less susceptible to the poetry of Joseph Brodsky.”

― Keith Gessen

“I have been enlightened. I have fallen into poetry and it has swallowed me up.”

― Keith Haring

“You watch an old ‘Jeopardy!’ and the categories alone are very plain. ‘Poetry,’ or ‘Movies,’ or ‘Physics.’ If you watch it now, though, there’ll be a theme board where the categories are all Hitchcock movies. Lots more jokes, lots more high-concept categories and questions.”

― Ken Jennings

“Shakespeare is rhythmic; he is musical in the sense that he likes poetry, and he’s musical because he constantly refers to settings where there’s singing and dancing.”

― Kenneth Branagh

“As for political poetry, as it’s usually defined, it seems there’s very little good political poetry.”

― Kenneth Koch

“I was excited by what my painter friends were doing, and they seemed to be interested in our poetry too, and that was a wonderful little, fizzy sort of world.”

― Kenneth Koch

“I wonder if I ever thought of an ideal reader… I guess when I was in my 20s and in New York and maybe even in my early 30s, I would write for my wife Janice… mainly for my poet friends and my wife, who was very smart about poetry.”

― Kenneth Koch

“I was influenced by surrealist poetry and painting as were thousands of other people, and it seems to me to have become a part of the way I write, but it’s not.”

― Kenneth Koch

“I’ve always had an affinity for writers who have a poetry background, so I always liked Tennessee Williams.”

― Kenny Leon

“I knew what book we had to write, it was clear in my head; it was journals and poetry. So I passed on their offer. I told my agent this is our vision, and no one’s done it this way.”

― Kenny Loggins

“I guess I find the boundaries between poetry and prose to be somewhat permeable.”

― Kevin Powers

“Poetry and prose are of equal importance to me as a reader, and there doesn’t seem to be much difference in my own writing.”

― Kevin Powers

“To me, poetry is spoken – not exclusively, but there’s a mix of languages in it. That’s what I liked about ‘For the Confederate Dead;’ it has many different tones to it.”

― Kevin Young

“I think music is poetry in the sense that I think the condition of poetry I’m going for has some qualities of music that it aspires to.”

― Kevin Young

“There isn’t, even now, a great tradition of novel-writing in Afghanistan. Most of the literature is in the form of poetry.”

― Khaled Hosseini

“I had originally planned to do musical theatre and be on Broadway, but then my love for poetry also set in. Once that happened, I became torn between a career as an English teacher or a music teacher.”

― Khalid

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

― Khalil Gibran

“In writing, I want to be remembered for telling good stories in beautiful and powerful language, using the poetry of words to reflect the thematic concerns of compelling stories.”

― Kim Edwards

“The poetry I grew up on is really an intense form of poetry; it’s so pure and powerful.”

― K’naan

“I have had much to learn from Sweden’s poetry and, more especially, from her lyrics of the last generation.”

― Knut Hamsun

“No, what I should really like to do right now, in the full blaze of lights, before this illustrious assembly, is to shower every one of you with gifts, with flowers, with offerings of poetry – to be young once more, to ride on the crest of the wave.”

― Knut Hamsun

“When I was in my late twenties, a friend suggested that, since I was an avid SF reader and had been since I was barely a teenager, that since it didn’t look like the poetry was going where I wanted, I might try writing a science fiction story. I did, and the first story I ever wrote was ‘The Great American Economy.’”

― L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

“I started writing poetry in high school because I wanted desperately to write, but somehow, writing stories didn’t appeal to me, and I loved the flow and the feel and sense of poetry, especially that of what one might call formal verse.”

― L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

“Thomas Davis was a great man where poetry is concerned, and a better than Thomas Moore. All over Ireland his poetry is, and he would have done other things but that he died young.”

― Lady Gregory

“There is one type of ideal woman very seldom described in poetry – the old maid, the woman whom sorrow or misfortune prevents from fulfilling her natural destiny.”

― Lafcadio Hearn

“The subject of Finnish poetry ought to have a special interest for the Japanese student, if only for the reason that Finnish poetry comes more closely in many respects to Japanese poetry than any other form of Western poetry.”

― Lafcadio Hearn

“Perhaps there is an idea among Japanese students that one general difference between Japanese and Western poetry is that the former cultivates short forms and the latter longer ones, gut this is only in part true.”

― Lafcadio Hearn

“It is true that short forms of poetry have been cultivated in the Far East more than in modern Europe; but in all European literature short forms of poetry are to be found – indeed quite as short as anything in Japanese.”

― Lafcadio Hearn

“I often imagine that the longer he studies English literature the more the Japanese student must be astonished at the extraordinary predominance given to the passion of love both in fiction and in poetry.”

― Lafcadio Hearn

“But every great scripture, whether Hebrew, Indian, Persian, or Chinese, apart from its religious value will be found to have some rare and special beauty of its own; and in this respect the original Bible stands very high as a monument of sublime poetry and of artistic prose.”

― Lafcadio Hearn

“I write poetry, and I put it to a beat – I mean, that’s what they call rap.”

― Lakeith Stanfield

“Growing up, I think I always had a sense of art: a sense that there was poetry in the world. I didn’t know where I was going to find it. I didn’t know where I was going to fit in, that was for sure. But I kept moving forward. There wasn’t a future in anything other than movement.”

― Lance Henriksen

“I was a victim of a stereotype. There were only two of us Negro kids in the whole class, and our English teacher was always stressing the importance of rhythm in poetry. Well, everybody knows – except us – that all Negroes have rhythms, so they elected me class poet.”

― Langston Hughes

“I believe in the popularizing of art. But when you get right down to it, it’s a bit of an elitist world. Not just economically elitist – how many people read poetry?”

― Larry Gagosian

“Epic poetry exhibits life in some great symbolic attitude. It cannot strictly be said to symbolize life itself, but always some manner of life.”

― Lascelles Abercrombie

“But the gravest difficulty, and perhaps the most important, in poetry meant solely for recitation, is the difficulty of achieving verbal beauty, or rather of making verbal beauty tell.”

― Lascelles Abercrombie

“By the general process of epic poetry, I mean the way this form of art has constantly responded to the profound needs of the society in which it was made.”

― Lascelles Abercrombie

“If epic poetry is a definite species, the sagas do not fall within it.”

― Lascelles Abercrombie

“Poetry is the work of poets, not of peoples or communities; artistic creation can never be anything but the production of an individual mind.”

― Lascelles Abercrombie

“That is to say, epic poetry has been invented many times and independently; but, as the needs which prompted the invention have been broadly similar, so the invention itself has been.”

― Lascelles Abercrombie

“The reason can only be this: heroic poetry depends on an heroic age, and an age is heroic because of what it is, not because of what it does.”

― Lascelles Abercrombie

“Traditional matter must be glorified, since it would be easier to listen to the re-creation of familiar stories than to quite new and unexpected things; the listeners, we must remember, needed poetry chiefly as the re-creation of tired hours.”

― Lascelles Abercrombie

“With several different kinds of poetry to choose from, a man would decide that he would like best to be an epic poet, and he would set out, in conscious determination, on an epic poem.”

― Lascelles Abercrombie

“I’m moved by people who see the world differently than others. People who see the world with a longing for its poetry often can be broken people.”

― Laura Dern

“The romanticised life, where all the great poetry and music and art of the world comes from, is great but it requires a lot of self-indulgence.”

― Laura Marling

“To a poet the mere making of a poem can seem to solve the problem of truth, but only a problem of art is solved in poetry.”

― Laura Riding

“The end of poetry is not to create a physical condition which shall give pleasure to the mind… The end of poetry is not an after-effect, not a pleasurable memory of itself, but an immediate, constant and even unpleasant insistence upon itself.”

― Laura Riding

“Poetry brings all possible experience to the same degree: a degree in the consciousness beyond which the consciousness itself cannot go.”

― Laura Riding

“What she did was to open our eyes to details of country life such as teaching us names of wild flowers and getting us to draw and paint and learn poetry.”

― Laurie Lee

“In politics, as in poetry, it is sometimes true that it is darkest before dawn.”

― Lawrence Summers

“For the last 15 years that I have been performing, all I ever wanted to do was transcend poetry to the world. See, it wasn’t enough for me to write a book. It wasn’t enough for me to join a slam competition, and while those things hold weight, it wasn’t the driving force that pushes the pen to the pad.”

― Lemon Andersen

“You know, bad poetry I wrote in high school can still be found on the Internet, and, you know, there’s a Web log of our college newspaper. You know, there’s so many different stages of my creative development are sort of on-record if somebody were to choose to look for them.”

― Lena Dunham

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

― Leonard Cohen

“I never really liked poetry readings; I liked to read poetry by myself, but I liked singing, chanting my lyrics to this jazz group.”

― Leonard Cohen

“I always thought that poetry is the verdict that others give to a certain kind of writing. So to call yourself a poet is a kind of dangerous description. It’s for others; it’s for others to use.”

― Leonard Cohen

“I think the term poet is a very exalted term and should be applied to a man at the end of his work. When he looks back over the body of his work and he’s written poetry then let the verdict be that he’s a poet.”

― Leonard Cohen

“I started playing guitar when I was 13. I’d written a few songs on the guitar over some time. I’d written a book of poetry, and I got a book of lyrics that I had when I was a kid.”

― Lewis Hamilton

“The cloning of humans is on most of the lists of things to worry about from Science, along with behaviour control, genetic engineering, transplanted heads, computer poetry and the unrestrained growth of plastic flowers.”

― Lewis Thomas

“I am often asked why I started to write poetry. The answer is that my motivation sprang from a visceral need to creatively articulate the experiences of the black youth of my generation, coming of age in a racist society.”

― Linton Kwesi Johnson

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

― Lionel Trilling

“A group of us started a community center in Santa Monica. We’ve tried different programs, and three have worked really well. A poetry group. Once a week we visit Venice High and talk to girls at risk.”

― Lisa Bonet

“Memory and poetry go together, absolutely. It is a matter of preserving and of remembering things.”

― Lisel Mueller

“Poetry, for me, is the answer to, ‘How does one stay sane when private lives are being ransacked by public events?’ It’s something that hangs over your head all the time.”

― Lisel Mueller

“When I was in college, I did do some writing of poetry, somewhat inspired, I think at that time, by Carl Sandburg, because English was still relatively new to me, and Sandburg, of course, wrote in a very easy-to-understand, very colloquial and informal manner.”

― Lisel Mueller

“All good poetry is forged slowly and patiently, link by link, with sweat and blood and tears.”

― Lord Alfred Douglas

“Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven!”

― Lord Byron

“I come from a short fiction background, and my mom is a poet, so I’ve always read poetry; I’ve always had a lot of different influences both linguistically and musically.”

― Lorde

“The residue of religion in my work appears as a modified transcendentalism, and the positivist scientific side of my thought appears as concreteness and realism. The effort to reconcile the two is at the core of all my poetry.”

― Louis Dudek

“The poetry of heroism appeals irresistibly to those who don’t go to a war, and even more to those whom the war is making enormously wealthy. It’s always so.”

― Louis-Ferdinand Celine

“The trouble with us in America isn’t that the poetry of life has turned to prose, but that it has turned to advertising copy.”

― Louis Kronenberger

“For this reason poets and artists developed the doctrine of Art for Art’s Sake. The community did not appear to need them, so, tit for tat, they did not need the community. This being granted, it was no longer necessary or even desirable to make one’s poetry either intelligible or sympathetic to the community.”

― Louis MacNeice

“The rules or ‘laws’ of poetry are only tentative devices, an approximate scheme. There is no Sinaitic recipe for poetry, for the individual poem is the norm.”

― Louis MacNeice

“Good poets have written in order to describe something or to preach something – with their eye on the object or the end. The essence of the poetry does not lie in the thing described or in the message imparted but in the resulting concrete unity, the poem.”

― Louis MacNeice

“I would admit that poetry is something more than mere communication and that if that ‘something more’ could be abstracted from the whole, it might well prove to be that which makes the whole a poem.”

― Louis MacNeice

“Everyone is not able, or inclined, to write poetry in the narrower sense any more than everyone is qualified to take part in a walking race. But just as all of us can and do walk, so all of us can and do use language poetically.”

― Louis MacNeice

“I’m hopefully touring with Colin Baker next year in Perfect Strangers. I have performed with Sylvia Simms in poetry and music evenings. I would love to do those for the rest of my career – they are so fun and witty.”

― Louise Jameson

“People wish to be poets more than they wish to write poetry, and that’s a mistake. One should wish to celebrate more than one wishes to be celebrated.”

― Lucille Clifton

“Poetry is a matter of life, not just a matter of language.”

― Lucille Clifton

“I often say poetry was my first love.”

― Luis Alberto Urrea

“Poetry is how I feed the soul, and it’s how I fire the furnace of writing.”

― Luis Alberto Urrea

“I am addicted to poetry, but the truth is I cannot pass up a good hard-boiled mystery.”

― Luis Alberto Urrea

“If there’s one thing I’ve written that could survive into posterity, I’d want that to be the poetry.”

― Luke Davies

“I do actually dabble in a bit of poetry! And I’m yet to pen a script, but it is something that I’ve been telling myself I want to do.”

― Luke Treadaway

“The library was open for one hour after school let out. I hid there, looking at art books and reading poetry.”

― Lynda Barry

“And my father was a comic. He could play any musical instrument. He loved to perform. He was a wonderfully comedic character. He had the ability to dance and sing and charm and analyze poetry.”

― Lynn Johnston

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

― M. H. Abrams

“Reading a piece of poetry with no beat in front of 20 people is way more challenging than rocking for 10,000 people.”

― Macklemore

“I really love poetry. I’m a big E.E. Cummings fan and a big Walt Whitman fan, and I have a big book of poetry.”

― Mae Whitman

“After watching Guru Dutt’s films, I became a huge fan of Sahir Ludhianvi’s poetry and the songs of Guru Dutt’s films.”

― Mahira Khan

“Against barbarity, poetry can resist only by confirming its attachment to human fragility like a blade of grass growing on a wall while armies march by.”

― Mahmoud Darwish

“I believe in the power of poetry, which gives me reasons to look ahead and identify a glint of light.”

― Mahmoud Darwish

“To be under occupation, to be under siege, is not a good inspiration for poetry.”

― Mahmoud Darwish

“I see poetry as spiritual medicine.”

― Mahmoud Darwish

“The importance of poetry is not measured, finally, by what the poet says but by how he says it.”

― Mahmoud Darwish

“Since the beginning of establishment, poets and spoken word artists have always been both vocal supporters and critics of government. And in this age of Trump as President, alternative facts, falsehoods becoming truth at the send of a tweet, it’s vital that spoken word poetry does its job helping to keep folks ‘woke’ and not numb or shut down.”

― Malcolm-Jamal Warner

“Music is more emotional than prose, more revolutionary than poetry. I’m not saying I’ve got the answers, just a of questions that I don’t hear other artists asking.”

― Malcolm Wilson

“I like the beauty of Faulkner’s poetry. But I don’t like his themes, not at all.”

― Manuel Puig

“Rational intelligence is dangerous and leads to ratiocination. The painter is a medium who doesn’t realize what he is doing. No translation can express the mystery of sensibility, a word, still unreliable, which is nevertheless the basis of painting or poetry, like a kind of alchemy.”

― Marcel Duchamp

“The reason why we do maths is because it’s like poetry. It’s about patterns, and that really turned me on. It made me feel that maths was in tune with the other things I liked doing.”

― Marcus du Sautoy

“I think it was T.S. Eliot who talked about good poetry being felt before it’s understood. I believe that. There are some bands where I love their lyrics but I don’t have a clue what they’re on about.”

― Marcus Mumford

“The genesis of a poem for me is usually a cluster of words. The only good metaphor I can think of is a scientific one: dipping a thread into a supersaturated solution to induce crystal formation. I don’t think I solve problems in my poetry; I think I uncover the problems.”

― Margaret Atwood

“When I am writing fiction, I believe I am much better organized, more methodical – one has to be when writing a novel. Writing poetry is a state of free float.”

― Margaret Atwood

“I don’t think of poetry as a ‘rational’ activity but as an aural one. My poems usually begin with words or phrases which appeal more because of their sound than their meaning, and the movement and phrasing of a poem are very important to me.”

― Margaret Atwood

“The poetry of a people comes from the deep recesses of the unconscious, the irrational and the collective body of our ancestral memories.”

― Margaret Walker

“I’m not a ‘long writer’ and have never wanted to write a novel or even a novella. Poetry, like flash fiction, provides a readily accessible canvas to play with. Whether to express an emotion or share a vignette, these forms are often interchangeable.”

― Marge Simon

“As the years pass, I find that writers who were once central to me aren’t anymore. I revered Yeats’s poetry in college. I respect it now and am still ravished by certain lines, but I don’t go back to him again and again. I do go back to Emily Dickinson again and again.”

― Margo Jefferson

“I’m quite sure that most writers would sustain real poetry if they could, but it takes devotion and talent.”

― Marguerite Young

“I’m as much influenced by Joseph Smith and the Mormons as I am, more so, than by Eliot. Actually, I’m much more influenced by the poetry of the Mormons.”

― Marguerite Young

“We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.”

― Maria Mitchell

“How can any one paint who cannot grade colors? How can any one write poetry who has not learnt to hear and see?”

― Maria Montessori

“Poetry has always been made to seem kind of cultish. But the truth is, everybody really loves it! It’s much more mainstream than anyone thought.”

― Maria Shriver

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

― Marianne Moore

“Poetry is all nouns and verbs.”

― Marianne Moore

“I see no reason for calling my work poetry except that there is no other category in which to put it.”

― Marianne Moore

“When you translate poetry in particular, you’re obliged to look at how the writer with whom you’re working puts together words, sentences, phrases, the triple tension between the line of verse, the syntax and the sentence.”

― Marilyn Hacker

“I have experienced healing through other writers’ poetry, but there’s no way I can sit down to write in the hope a poem will have healing potential. If I do, I’ll write a bad poem.”

― Marilyn Hacker

“Poetry seems to have been eliminated as a literary genre, and installed instead, as a kind of spiritual aerobic exercise – nobody need read it, but anybody can do it.”

― Marilyn Hacker

“Translation is an interestingly different way to be involved both with poetry and with the language that I’ve found myself living in much of the time. I think the two feed each other.”

― Marilyn Hacker

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

― Marilyn Hacker

“I read poetry to save time.”

― Marilyn Monroe

“The idea that myth is the opposite of knowledge, or the opposite of truth, is simply to disallow it. It is like saying poetry is the opposite of truth.”

― Marilynne Robinson

“One of the things that is wonderful about hymns is that they are a sort of universally shared poetry, at least among certain populations.”

― Marilynne Robinson

“When I was in college, I used to write little ditties and short stories and poetry for my friends. Writing a book is another thing. It is so much different from my traditional day of dirty fingernails and greasy hair and hot pans.”

― Mario Batali

“You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.”

― Mario Cuomo

“I like poetry when I don’t quite understand why I like it. Poetry isn’t just a question of wrapping something up and giving it to someone else to unwrap. It just doesn’t work like that.”

― Mark Haddon

“The music just tends to be a vehicle for that poetry.”

― Mark Knopfler

“I love poetry. If my mind gets a bit tight or bound up with information or depressed with bad news, I find a good book of poetry is like going to the gym for an hour. My mind just expands.”

― Mark Rylance

“Usually a life turned into a poem is misrepresented.”

― Mark Strand

“Poetry is, first and last, language – the rest is filler.”

― Mark Strand

“Poetry is something that happens in universities, in creative writing programs or in English departments.”

― Mark Strand

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

― Mark Strand

“I would say that American poetry has always been a poetry of personal testimony.”

― Mark Strand

“I think the best American poetry is the poetry that utilizes the resources of poetry rather than exploits the defects or triumphs of the poet’s personality.”

― Mark Strand

“I certainly can’t speak for all cultures or all societies, but it’s clear that in America, poetry serves a very marginal purpose. It’s not part of the cultural mainstream.”

― Mark Strand

“I believe that all poetry is formal in that it exists within limits, limits that are either inherited by tradition or limits that language itself imposes.”

― Mark Strand

“And yet, in a culture like ours, which is given to material comforts, and addicted to forms of entertainment that offer immediate gratification, it is surprising that so much poetry is written.”

― Mark Strand

“And at least in poetry you should feel free to lie. That is, not to lie, but to imagine what you want, to follow the direction of the poem.”

― Mark Strand

“A life is not sufficiently elevated for poetry, unless, of course, the life has been made into an art.”

― Mark Strand

“A great many people seem to think writing poetry is worthwhile, even though it pays next to nothing and is not as widely read as it should be.”

― Mark Strand

“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

“I think of it this way: When you hear that people have downloaded your comic, appreciate that thousands are eager to hear what you have to say. The poetry club down the hall may not have the same problem. That’s a good problem to have.”

― Mark Waid

“Not every gay person recites poetry or has read Keats. You can get readers through anything if the characters are complicated. You can’t dismiss Josey Wales’ quite liberal worldview.”

― Marlon James

“Music pulled me like a gravitational force. I entered college as a physics major but left as a Bachelor of Music, a degree with the same practical application as, say, one in the History of Chinese Poetry.”

― Marshall Brickman

“The middle class is doing fine in fiction. But it’s not what gets me going. I love the working class, and everyone from it I’ve met, and think they’re incredibly witty, inventive – there’s a lot of poetry there.”

― Martin Amis

“I’ve got a book of poetry by the bed, one of these big collections that goes back to the Greeks and Romans.”

― Martin Cruz Smith

“When I first started reading poetry, all the poets I read – Edgar Allan Poe, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Greenleaf Whittier – were rhyme poets. That’s what captured me.”

― Marv Levy

“Actually, I’m working on a book of poetry.”

― Marv Levy

“I’m about 75 pages into a book on poetry. I don’t know if anybody wants to read it. It’s on any broad variety of subjects. I walk down the street and think of a topic and jot it down and say, ‘Okay, that’s another one.’ They go from the humorous to the serious to every topic imaginable.”

― Marv Levy

“When we were 15, my girlfriend Ruth Kaplan and I applied to the Universidad Ibero-Americana in Mexico City. We were accepted into a program that placed us with a lovely Mexican family. We lived with them for six weeks while studying Spanish poetry and Mexican anthropology.”

― Mary Doria Russell

“It was actually a women’s writing group I belonged to in graduate school that gave me the courage to move from poetry to fiction.”

― Mary Gordon

“Poetry privileges music and is aesthetically more challenging. Prose privileges information and is emotionally more challenging.”

― Mary Karr

“Prose cannot compete with the economy of poetry, the ability to have a full artistic experience in a short period of time.”

― Mary Karr

“Sylvia Plath, Rumi, there’s a lot of spoken word poets who do a really incredible job putting their spoken work into page poetry – that’s what I strive to do.”

― Mary Lambert

“Poetry is one of the ancient arts, and it began as did all the fine arts, within the original wilderness of the earth.”

― Mary Oliver

“Poetry isn’t a profession, it’s a way of life. It’s an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that.”

― Mary Oliver

“People want poetry. They need poetry. They get it. They don’t want fancy work.”

― Mary Oliver

“One thing I do know is that poetry, to be understood, must be clear.”

― Mary Oliver

“Poetry is meant to be heard.”

― Mary Oliver

“Lizzie Magie was a pretty astonishing woman. She was an outspoken feminist, she had acted, she had done some performing, she had written some poetry, and she was a game designer.”

― Mary Pilon

“I love reading all kinds of books. I usually have about ten books going at any one time – books about the past, the present, novels, non-fiction, poetry, mythology, religion, etc. Reading is my favorite thing to do.”

― Mary Pope Osborne

“The Lord’s Prayer is the most perfect piece of poetry. I always feel at peace and moved when I recite it.”

― Mary Quant

“When I was young, I reached a point where I found myself unable to pray. I was devastated by it. I missed being able to say words in my head that I believed could be heard by a being, a consciousness outside me. That is when I turned to poetry.”

― Mary Szybist

“I think that a good deal of poetry and art gives us some sense of access to another’s voice, perception, texture of thought, imagination. Sometimes it gives us better access to the strangeness in ourselves.”

― Mary Szybist

“Form is endlessly interesting to me, and I love poetry as a formal enterprise.”

― Mary Szybist

“I was always into poetry and writing. So the urgency of spoken word is something that really has always appealed to me.”

― Mat Kearney

“I was an English major in college, so I really liked spoken word and poetry; it was what I did before I wrote music.”

― Mat Kearney

“I was really drawn to spoken-word style poetry. I loved the rhythms, and for some reason, I was just drawn to this poetry as a way of expressing my feelings, because I didn’t have any other outlet.”

― Matt de la Pena

“Poetry is simply the most beautiful, impressive, and widely effective mode of saying things.”

― Matthew Arnold

“Poetry; a criticism of life under the conditions fixed for such a criticism by the laws of poetic truth and poetic beauty.”

― Matthew Arnold

“’The Dante Club’ was one of America’s most important book clubs, as their Wednesday night meetings ultimately led to our country’s first exposure to Dante’s poetry on a wide scale.”

― Matthew Pearl

“The novel has always been a contradictory form. Here is a long form narrative mainly read originally by consumers who were only newly literate or limited in their literacy. The novel ranked below poetry, essay and history in prestige for a long time.”

― Matthew Pearl

“Italian is the language of song. German is good for philosophy and English for poetry. French is best at precision; it has a rigour to it.”

― Maurice Druon

“Poetry can’t cure cancer, but it can save your life until you die.”

― Maurice Saatchi

“Let my life as Poet begin. I want the life of the Poet. I have labored for over twelve years, one thousand pages of prose. Now, I want the easiness of poetry. The brevity of the poem.”

― Maxine Hong Kingston

“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

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

― Maya Angelou

“I’m happy to be a writer – of prose, poetry, every kind of writing. Every person in the world who isn’t a recluse, hermit or mute uses words. I know of no other art form that we always use.”

― 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

“I used to write stories and poetry, but for some reason I have it in my head that if I’m going to write, I have to write a script.”

― Melanie Lynskey

“Magna Carta has become totemic. It is in the comedy of Tony Hancock, in the poetry of Kipling, never far from the front pages in a constitutional crisis.”

― Melvyn Bragg

“I used to joke that if acting didn’t work out, poetry was my commonsense fallback.”

― Merritt Wever

“Most lyric poetry is about love, whether yearned after, fulfilled, or wistfully regretted; what isn’t tends to consist of laments and cris du coeur over this, that, and the other.”

― Michael Dirda

“Hip-hop is about the brilliance of pavement poetry.”

― Michael Eric Dyson

“Every single soul is a poem.”

― Michael Franti

“Existential philosophy, poetry and art – just like sadness – were all unavoidable to a tender young man in the meat works.”

― Michael Leunig

“My dad is a Jack Nicholson lookalike and a frustrated performer, my mother’s into reading and poetry. I suppose the thing I owe them most is my confidence.”

― Michael Sheen

“Poetry is fascinating. As soon as it begins the poetry has changed the thing into something extra, and somehow prose can go over into poetry.”

― Michael Tippett

“I became a very passionate Christian when I was 17. I started writing and performing poetry at different venues across the U.K. I started performing from then, really.”

― Michaela Coel

“I think poetry is the only domain where a writer you like can truly be said to influence you, because you read and reread a poem so many times that it simply drills itself into your head.”

― Michel Houellebecq

“You don’t have to be a renowned artist like Q-Tip to try your hand at poetry. You don’t need any special equipment – that’s the beauty of it.”

― Michelle Obama

“The whole thing about making films in an organic film on location is that it’s not all about characters, relationships and themes, it’s also about place and the poetry of place. It’s about the spirit of what you find, the accidents of what you stumble across.”

― Mike Leigh

“I like to think that the best poetry is or involves a contest between ordinary conversation and ritual.”

― Miller Williams

“I don’t like poetry that doesn’t give me a sense of ritual, but I don’t like poetry that doesn’t sound like people talking to each other. I try to do both at once.”

― Miller Williams

“For something to be useful to the spirit is not very valuable to get your covered wagon across the desert. We have adopted that attitude so thoroughly that any American father whose son tells him he wants to write poetry will be embarrassed.”

― Miller Williams

“In 20th-century poetry, Robert Graves is to love what Philip Larkin is to mortality.”

― Miranda Seymour

“Well, I like to write poetry. I’m a published poet.”

― Misha Collins

“The Hindi film that I recommend is ‘Ijaazat.’ It is my most favourite film; it is a poetry in itself, and Gulzar Sahab is somebody I am a huge fan of.”

― Mithila Palkar

“I used to spend a lot of time dreaming and writing poetry.”

― Mohit Chauhan

“Sufi poetry is, in a sense, self-help poetry about how to live a decent life, how to deal with your mortality.”

― Mohsin Hamid

“When truth has no burning, then it is philosophy, when it gets burning from the heart, it becomes poetry.”

― Muhammad Iqbal

“Art: If the object of poetry is, to make men, then poetry is the heir of prophecy.”

― Muhammad Iqbal

“If the object of poetry is, to make men, then poetry is the heir of prophecy.”

― Muhammad Iqbal

“Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry.”

― Muriel Rukeyser

“The actual world, not some fantastic structure that has nothing to do with reality, must provide the material for modern poetry.”

― Muriel Rukeyser

“One characteristic of modern poetry is that arrangement of parts which strikes many people as being violent or obscure.”

― Muriel Rukeyser

“If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger.”

― Muriel Rukeyser

“The sources of poetry are in the spirit seeking completeness.”

― Muriel Rukeyser

“Local images have one kind of reality. ‘U.S. 1’ will, I hope, have that kind and another, too. Poetry can extend the document.”

― Muriel Rukeyser

“I didn’t know how this would play out when I was a kid. I knew I wanted to play ball, be a paleontologist, and write poetry. I thought, ‘Heck, where will I find the time? Well, football comes first, and I’ll just find some time for poetry, and paleontology can come at the end.’ I made this plan at 14, and dang, it’s all coming together.”

― Myles Garrett

“From the very beginning, I wanted to be the best, whether it was sports or poetry.”

― Myles Garrett

“I’m a regular person. I’m a regular guy. As a kid, I played games. As a kid, I liked poetry. As a kid, I liked drawing. And I never felt the need to stop doing anything. I never lost interest in them.”

― Myles Garrett

“As far as I am concerned, poetry is a statement concerning the human condition, composed in verse.”

― N. Scott Momaday

“Do-gooders are easily overlooked. We’re supposed to be soft, touchy-feely types, who wear Birkenstocks, compost everything, and write poetry by candlelight.”

― Nancy Lublin

“We are looking to brands for poetry and for spirituality, because we’re not getting those things from our communities or from each other.”

― Naomi Klein

“Shakespeare is a seminal story-teller. I don’t think he imagined he was writing classics or that he was writing great poetry. I don’t think he dreamt his work would be staged 400 years after he died.”

― Naseeruddin Shah

“Poetry comes alive to me through recitation.”

― Natalie Merchant

“Dismissals of poetry are nothing new. It’s easy to dismiss poetry if one has not read much of it.”

― Natasha Trethewey

“The experience of poetry could bring my mother back to me. Poetry offers a different kind of solace – here on earth.”

― Natasha Trethewey

“I want to be the best advocate and promoter for poetry that I can be.”

― Natasha Trethewey

“From the catbird seat, I’ve found poetry to be the necessary utterance it has always been in America.”

― Natasha Trethewey

“I think I felt at some point that I couldn’t understand poetry or that it was beyond me or it didn’t speak to my experience. I think that was because I hadn’t yet found the right poems to invite me in.”

― Natasha Trethewey

“I think there is a poem out there for everyone, to be an entrance into the poetry and a relationship with it.”

― Natasha Trethewey

“I think poetry’s always a kind of faith. It is the kind that I have.”

― Natasha Trethewey

“I think people turn to poetry more often than they think they do, or encounter it in more ways than they think that they do. I think we forget the places that we encounter it, say, in songs or in other little bits and pieces of things that we may have remembered from childhood.”

― Natasha Trethewey

“I think the biggest thing that I have to do is to remind people that poetry is there for us to turn to not only to remind us that we’re not alone – for example, if we are grieving the loss of someone – but also to help us celebrate our joys. That’s why so many people I know who’ve gotten married will have a poem read at the wedding.”

― Natasha Trethewey

“Poetry’s a thing that belongs to everyone.”

― Natasha Trethewey

“’NewsHour’ is very interested in poetry, but they’re also interested in not just that something’s cute to add on at the end of their programming, but something that actually is integrated into the news.”

― Natasha Trethewey

“I’ve been most happy to be an advocate for the kinds of grassroots things that people are doing who care about poetry.”

― Natasha Trethewey

“One can’t write for all readers. A poet cannot write for people who don’t like poetry.”

― Nathalie Sarraute

“The reason people get afraid of writing real, honest journalism and fiction, and the reason corrupted people and demagogues are afraid of journalism and fiction and poetry across the world, is because it is a subversive form.”

― Nathan Englander

“As a kid, I loved ‘Godot’ because of the poetry and the humor and the strangeness, but then as you get older, it’s much more resonant.”

― Nathan Lane

“Nobody, I think, ought to read poetry, or look at pictures or statues, who cannot find a great deal more in them than the poet or artist has actually expressed. Their highest merit is suggestiveness.”

― Nathaniel Hawthorne

“I love to write music and poetry.”

― Naturi Naughton

“I’m not an academic, but I’ve always loved poetry since I’ve been small.”

― Naveen Andrews

“We explore our environment, more than we are compelled to utter poetry, when we’re toddlers. We start doing that later. Before that happens, every child is a scientist.”

― Neil deGrasse Tyson

“Let’s say intelligence is your ability to compose poetry, symphonies, do art, math and science. Chimps can’t do any of that, yet we share 99 percent DNA. Everything that we are, that distinguishes us from chimps, emerges from that one-percent difference.”

― Neil deGrasse Tyson

“I want to write a play. I’d like to do an original musical. I should probably put together a poetry collection.”

― Neil Gaiman

“I like it when someone gives me a new book of poetry by a poet I haven’t read.”

― Nell Freudenberger

“I was quiet, and I was artistic. I liked writing poetry, and that was very strange, so I was bullied a lot.”

― Nelsan Ellis

“When I really want to be soothed and reminded of why people bother to fiddle with sentences, I often read poetry.”

― Nicholson Baker

“From my music training, I knew that, some Spanish rhythms apart, 5/4 is a time signature used only in the modern era. Holst’s Mars from the Planets is 5/4. But if you speak lines of poetry in that pattern you just end up hitting the off-beats. It’s only when you add a rest – a sixth beat – that it sounds as it surely should sound.”

― Nicholson Baker

“So I really began as a failed poet – although when I first wanted to be a writer, I learned to write prose by reading poetry.”

― Nicholson Baker

“I believe poetry has very little to do with memory.”

― Nick Flynn

“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

“I don’t think rap really fits in to ‘American Idol’ in the sense that I believe rap is an art form in itself more akin to poetry, more akin to drama, if you will.”

― Nigel Lythgoe

“Poetry and music are very good friends. Like mommies and daddies and strawberries and cream – they go together.”

― Nikki Giovanni

“Being able to say something lyrically, to say something that will do more than just be words, is really hard. It’s easy to do when you’re writing a chapter of a book or writing poetry, but it’s really hard to do when you’re confined to a melody line.”

― Nikki Sixx

“In fact a lot of them I think are absolute baloney. Those Charles Olsens and people like that. At first I was interested in seeing what they were up to, what they were doing, why they were doing it. They never moved me in the way that one is moved by true poetry.”

― Norman MacCaig

“All those authors there, most of whom of course I’ve never met. That’s the poetry side, that’s the prose side, that’s the fishing and miscellaneous behind me. You get an affection for books that you’ve enjoyed.”

― Norman MacCaig

“And if they haven’t got poetry in them, there’s nothing you can do that will produce it.”

― Norman MacCaig

“And the second question, can poetry be taught? I didn’t think so.”

― Norman MacCaig

“However, I learned something. I thought that if the young person, the student, has poetry in him or her, to offer them help is like offering a propeller to a bird.”

― Norman MacCaig

“I never think about poetry except when I’m writing it. I mean my poetry.”

― Norman MacCaig

“I was very interested in American poetry for many years. Much less now.”

― Norman MacCaig

“When I was asked to be Writer in Residence at Edinburgh I thought, you can’t teach poetry. This is ridiculous.”

― Norman MacCaig

“Freedom is poetry, taking liberties with words, breaking the rules of normal speech, violating common sense. Freedom is violence.”

― Norman O. Brown

“Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.”

― Novalis

“I hadn’t published a book of poetry in over a decade because I’ve been very ill. As I got better and started to write, I said, ‘Wow, even as an old woman, I could have a selected book of poems.’”

― Ntozake Shange

“Surrealism is not a poetry but a poetics, and even more, and more decisively, a world vision.”

― Octavio Paz

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

― Octavio Paz

“Poetry is the experience of liberty. The poet risks himself, chances all on the poem’s all with each verse he writes.”

― Octavio Paz

“Poetry is not a genre in harmony with the modern world; its innermost nature is hostile or indifferent to the dogmas of modern times, progress and the cult of the future.”

― Octavio Paz

“Poetry, whatever the manifest content of the poem, is always a violation of the rationalism and morality of bourgeois society.”

― Octavio Paz

“Any reflection about poetry should begin, or end, with this question: who and how many read poetry books?”

― Octavio Paz

“I was trying to pay the bills with poems, and it was easy to memorize my poems, because I’d be riding my bike in California trying to memorize them before going on stage at a poetry lounge.”

― Omari Hardwick

“Poetry has, in a way, been my bridge to my acting career.”

― Omari Hardwick

“I found poetry at 12 and 13 and, lo and behold, learned that my attorney father had a background in poetry – as he wore dashikis and Afros in the ’70s and named his kids Arabic names. He was a poet and a lot like The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron and all of these folks. He definitely was an artist.”

― Omari Hardwick

“That’s the thing with me being a former athlete: in the way I attack characters and attack poetry is from the base of being an athlete.”

― Omari Hardwick

“I’m a black Catholic raised in Decatur, Georgia, which was very gang-infested. Then, I went to an all-white private high school and excelled in sports and wrote poetry, then played football at the University of Georgia, minoring in drama.”

― Omari Hardwick

“Poetry is almost like my foundation for everything. I almost feel I am a better actor and writer because of it.”

― Omari Hardwick

“The commonest error made in relation to poetry is that it consists simply in verse-making. Many confound the casket of meter and rhyme with the jewel of thought which it encloses, and, perhaps, in some instances, after close investigation, they have found the casket empty and turned away with feelings of disappointment and disgust.”

― Orson F. Whitney

“Only those ignorant of what poetry means will ask the question: what is it good for?”

― Orson F. Whitney

“It is my belief that many who think they dislike poetry are really poetical in their natures and are indebted to it, more than they imagine, for the success they may have achieved, even in practical pursuits, and for the enjoyment their lives have afforded them.”

― Orson F. Whitney

“Poetry is the elder sister of history, the mother of language, the ancestress of civilization.”

― Orson F. Whitney

“I enjoy listening to contemporary rock on the college stations while I’m taking long walks, love gospel and soul music, am fascinated by hip-hop and rap as the new kind of urban ‘beat’ poetry and, come to think of it, find something interesting about just any kind of music.”

― Oscar Hijuelos

“All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.”

― Oscar Wilde

“A poet can survive everything but a misprint.”

― Oscar Wilde

“I work on words, mostly, toward them being poetry or short stories, and then some of those become songs. They all find their place in the world, but they all start off in the same place. I’m always painting and drawing as well, and it’s an ongoing creative assignment.”

― P. J. Harvey

“It could be that all awful dictators are frustrated artists – Mao with his poetry and Mussolini with his monuments. Stalin was once a journalistic hack, and I can personally testify to how frustrated they are. Pol Pot left a very edgy photo collection behind. And Osama seems quite interested in video.”

― P. J. O’Rourke

“There’s a love of rhetorical skill in the Muslim world. Osama bin Laden doesn’t just go on tape cassettes and say, ‘America sucks.’ He recites poetry; he finds things that ‘America sucks’ rhymes with.”

― P. J. O’Rourke

“More modern poetry is written than read.”

― P. J. O’Rourke

“I’ve always written poetry and lyrics. My first husband, who was a musician, we wrote a bunch of songs together.”

― P. J. Soles

“Nothing I had written before ‘Mary Poppins’ had anything to do with children, and I have always assumed, when I thought about it at all, that she had come out of the same wall of nothingness as the poetry, myth and legend that had absorbed me all my writing life.”

― P. L. Travers

“I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests.”

― Pablo Neruda

“I originally went to school for writing, for non-fiction. I’m specifically a poetry major within literature, but I don’t know.”

― Paloma Elsesser

“If every individual starts listening to poetry, watch plays, and see paintings, they’ll become a better human.”

― Pankaj Tripathi

“In its truest manifestation, where it gives judgments, poetry is super-luxury. It would be interesting to see what would happen to a High Court judge if he were forced to follow the true poetic formula, doing the job for love, being forced into pubs for relief.”

― Patrick Kavanagh

“Poetry is not Irish or any other nationality; and when writers such as Messrs. Clarke, Farren and the late F. R. Higgins pursue Irishness as a poetic end, they are merely exploiting incidental local colour.”

― Patrick Kavanagh

“Probably induced by the asthma, I started reading and writing early on, my literary efforts from the age of about nine running chiefly to poetry and plays.”

― Patrick White

“The Bible is very resonant. It has everything: creation, betrayal, lust, poetry, prophecy, sacrifice. All great things are in the Bible, and all great writers have drawn from it and more than people realise, whether Shakespeare, Herman Melville or Bob Dylan.”

― Patti Smith

“I’m not really a musician. I’m a performer, and I love rock n’ roll. I’ve embraced rock n’ roll because it encompasses all the things I’m interested in: poetry, revolution, sexuality, political activism – all of these things can be found in rock n’ roll.”

― Patti Smith

“When I was younger, I felt it was my duty to wake people up. I thought poetry was asleep. I thought rock ‘n’ roll was asleep.”

― Patti Smith

“I came into music because I thought the presentation of poetry wasn’t vibrant enough. So I merged improvised poetry with basic rock chords. That was my original mission.”

― Patti Smith

“What I wanted to do in rock ‘n roll was merge poetry with sonic scapes, and the two people who had contributed so much to that were Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.”

― Patti Smith

“I didn’t love Jim Morrison ’cause he was self-destructive. I loved him because of his work. Because of the way he merged poetry and rock-and-roll. Because he did something new.”

― Patti Smith

“I guess I wanted to leave America for awhile. It wasn’t that I wanted to become an expatriate, or just never come back, I needed some breathing room. I’d already been translating French poetry, I’d been to Paris once before and liked it very much, and so I just went.”

― Paul Auster

“I was always interested in French poetry sort of as a sideline to my own work, I was translating contemporary French poets. That kind of spilled out into translation as a way to earn money, pay for food and put bread on the table.”

― Paul Auster

“I started out in life as a poet; I was only writing poetry all through my 20s. It wasn’t until I was about 30 that I got serious about writing prose. While I was writing poems, I would often divert myself by reading detective novels; I liked them.”

― Paul Auster

“Poetry is a sort of homecoming.”

― Paul Celan

“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

“I do not see how a man can work on the frontiers of physics and write poetry at the same time. They are in opposition.”

― Paul Dirac

“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

“I wanted to write poetry almost a little more than I wanted to eat.”

― Paul Engle

“All poetry is an ordered voice, one which tries to tell you about a vision in the un-visionary language of farm, city, and love.”

― Paul Engle

“I began to write poetry in high school, and would ride miles over sandy roads in the fine hills around Cedar Rapids, repeating the lines over and over until I had them right, making some of the rhythm of the horse help.”

― Paul Engle

“I have published in ‘The New Yorker,’ ‘Holiday,’ ‘Life,’ ‘Mademoiselle,’ ‘American Heritage,’ ‘Horizon,’ ‘The Ladies Home Journal,’ ‘The Kenyon Review,’ ‘The Sewanee Review,’ ‘Poetry,’ ‘Botteghe Oscure,’ the ‘Atlantic Monthly,’ ‘Harper’s.’”

― Paul Engle

“After attending the gymnasium between my eighth and seventeenth years, I studied classical philology at Berlin University for two years under Boeckh and Lachmann, and with the friendly support of Emanuel Geibel and Franz Kugler, I dabbled in all sorts of poetry.”

― Paul Heyse

“In Bonn, where I studied for a year, I changed from classical to Romance philology, taught there by its great founder, F. Diez, and at the beginning of 1852, I received the doctorate for a dissertation on the refrain in Provencal poetry.”

― Paul Heyse

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

― Paul Muldoon

“For whatever reason, people, including very well-educated people or people otherwise interested in reading, do not read poetry.”

― Paul Muldoon

“That’s one of the great things about poetry; one realises that one does one’s little turn – that you’re just part of the great crop, as it were.”

― Paul Muldoon

“The other side of it is that, despite all that, people reach out to poetry at the key moments in their lives.”

― Paul Muldoon

“We simply have not kept in touch with poetry.”

― Paul Muldoon

“I read a lot of nineteenth-century French poetry. And Irish poetry from the ninth century on.”

― Paul Muldoon

“Poetry is as vital as ever. The teaching of poetry reading, however, is sluggish and, often, slovenly. It needs to be expanded in the school curriculum and be more a feature of society at large. The newspapers should all be carrying a daily poem. It should be as natural as reading a novel.”

― Paul Muldoon

“I don’t shape trends, I’d say. I merely reflect them. I think the emphasis is on ‘them.’ I like variety in poetry. I love how it comes in so many guises. As rock lyric, as rap, as note on a fridge.”

― Paul Muldoon

“I love the fact that Inuit poetry may resonate with me as much as Irish.”

― Paul Muldoon

“I do believe that we’ve a responsibility to try to acknowledge the range, both geographic and graphic, of what’s happening in poetry in English. I’m interested in poems that are first-rate. After that, I’m not too concerned if they come from Queens or Queensland.”

― Paul Muldoon

“I think poetry, rather than suffering, is more and more sufficient to the needs of our society. It’s one of the reasons so much of it is, for want of a better term, ‘surreal.’”

― Paul Muldoon

“To design is much more than simply to assemble, to order, or even to edit: it is to add value and meaning, to illuminate, to simplify, to clarify, to modify, to dignify, to dramatize, to persuade, and perhaps even to amuse. To design is to transform prose into poetry.”

― Paul Rand

“A poem is never finished, only abandoned.”

― Paul Valery

“In poetry everything which must be said is almost impossible to say well.”

― Paul Valery

“I wrote a lot of poetry when I was a teenager – mostly desperate love poetry!”

― Paula McLain

“I took my first creative writing class when I was 24, then went onto to get a graduate degree in poetry. I’ve sort of never looked back from there.”

― Paula McLain

“I started out as a writer. Poetry and prose and also kind of satirical David Sedaris-esque stuff.”

― Pauley Perrette

“I lived a pretty chaotic life. I went to England, and I moved around, and there were a lot of things that I was interested in. I wrote poetry. I took photographs. I was a musician and all sorts of things. Nothing brilliant, but I did all these different things.”

― Pawel Pawlikowski

“I’ve been surprised to learn how many people love poetry. It’s beautiful to see that people want poetry in their lives.”

― Peleg Top

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

― Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar.”

― Percy Bysshe Shelley

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

― Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.”

― Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.”

― Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”

― Percy Bysshe Shelley

“With Shakespeare and poetry, a new world was born. New dreams, new desires, a self consciousness was born. I desired to know to know myself in terms of the new standards set by these books.”

― Peter Abrahams

“One of the most treasured books that I own is Donald Allen’s ‘The New American Poetry, 1945-1960.’ It was a totem of great importance and potency to my group of writer friends in college from 1960 to 1964.”

― Peter Coyote

“Dealing with poetry is a daunting task, simply because the reason one does it as an editor at all is because one is constantly coming to terms with one’s own understanding of how to understand the world.”

― Peter Davison

“My friends never talk to me about my poetry because they’re embarrassed that I write it or they’re embarrassed by what I write about which are not such extraordinarily terrifying things, but they are the state of human existence.”

― Peter Davison

“I think poetry has lost an awful lot of its muscle because nobody knows any. Nobody has to memorize poetry.”

― Peter Davison

“Poetry is composing for the breath.”

― Peter Davison

“Poetry was invented as an mnemonic device to enable people to remember their prayers.”

― Peter Davison

“Poetry should be able to reach everybody, and it should be able to appeal to all levels of understanding.”

― Peter Davison

“I like poems that are little games.”

― Peter Davison

“Every so often I find some poems that are too good for the readers of The Atlantic because they are a little too involved with the nature of poetry, as such.”

― Peter Davison

“They need to learn poetry. They don’t need to learn about poetry. They don’t need to be told how to interpret poetry. They don’t need to be told how to understand poetry. They need to learn it.”

― Peter Davison

“The more poetry you have in the head, the more poetry you will understand because you will be getting to the roots of what it is that makes people write poetry at all.”

― Peter Davison

“But poetry is my life. Poetry is what matters to me.”

― Peter Davison

“And there are a lot more people reading poetry, but there are not so many people reading an individual poet.”

― Peter Davison

“But for me, being an editor I’ve been an editor of all kinds of books being an editor of poetry has been the way in which I could give a crucial part of my time to what I love most.”

― Peter Davison

“There are so many things that poetry is about, one of which is memory.”

― Peter Davison

“It is a way we reassess our past. We can do that in poetry in ways we can’t do in prose.”

― Peter Davison

“For 8,000 years, we’ve had lyric poetry; for 400 years we’ve had the novel: theatre hands its meaning down in text. Let’s find a medium whose total, sole responsibility is the world as seen as a form of visual intelligence. Surely, surely, surely the cinema should be that phenomenon.”

― Peter Greenaway

“The one thing they didn’t tell you at Iowa is how hard it is to make a living writing fiction and poetry.”

― Peter Heller

“I always wanted to be a writer. I was writing poetry when I was 6.”

― Peter Heller

“Yes, I love poetry, both to read and to write it. A first love.”

― Peter Heller

“I started off in England and very few people knew I was Australian. I mean, the clues were in the poems, but they didn’t read them very carefully, and so for years and years I was considered completely part of the English poetry scene.”

― Peter Porter

“It’s bad poetry executed by people that can’t sing. That’s my definition of Rap.”

― Peter Steele

“I call myself a grasshopper. I paint, I write poetry, and I’m in a band. When it comes to movies and TV, I like to work in everything and with everyone. I wanna do it all, beyond even the screen.”

― Peter Stormare

“There is an urgent need for Americans to look deeply into themselves and their actions, and musical poetry is perhaps the most effective mirror available. Every newspaper headline is a potential song.”

― Phil Ochs

“I realized poetry’s the thing that I can do ’cause I can stick at it and work with tremendous intensity.”

― Philip Levine

“The irony is, going to work every day became the subject of probably my best poetry.”

― Philip Levine

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

― Philip Levine

“Now I think poetry will save nothing from oblivion, but I keep writing about the ordinary because for me it’s the home of the extraordinary, the only home.”

― Philip Levine

“My mother carried on and supported us; her ambition had been to write poetry and songs.”

― Philip Levine

“There is a gap in my work from ’84 to 2002, 18 years where I stopped writing. I was working at fiction and other things and starting a school and getting married and starting a family, but I wasn’t writing poetry for the better part of 15 years.”

― Philip Schultz

“With my fiction, I focused on chapters and overall conceptions, while in poetry, I crawled along in the trenches of each sentence, examining every word for a sign of a deeper significance.”

― Philip Schultz

“Suddenly, everyone wanted to talk to me, it seemed. And not about my poetry: it was my dyslexia they were most interested in.”

― Philip Schultz

“If I have to make a self-portrait, I would put poetry and rebellion on the list. To be able to walk on a wire, to be able to juggle six hoops, you need focus, another word for tenacity, which is passion.”

― Philippe Petit

“I was born in a world of opera, theatre, films, poetry, art, and therefore, out of the wire, I made a stage. That’s why they call me a high wire artist.”

― Philippe Petit

“’Hamilton’ is, of course, closely tied to the Obamas because Lin first performed the opening number at a White House poetry jam.”

― Phillipa Soo

“Back then, I was an acoustically-oriented artist. Honestly, ‘Poetry Man’ wouldn’t have been my first choice.”

― Phoebe Snow

“In Australia, not reading poetry is the national pastime.”

― Phyllis McGinley

“I always wrote poetry as a teenager and it was always so dark, but it made me feel good to get it out.”

― Pink

“Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.”

― Plato

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

― Plutarch

“Few rappers realize the genre sprang from West African griots through Delta slave songs to jazz poetry and the comedic trash talk of ‘the dozens.’”

― Quincy Jones

“I liked painting and drawing, and I liked humanities mainly – poetry, literature – this speculative attitude toward life.”

― Rafael Moneo

“First of all, I’m not a singer or rapper. I’m an artiste. Besides singing, I produce music, dance, write poetry, and sometimes I paint as well.”

― Raftaar

“I think that one possible definition of our modern culture is that it is one in which nine-tenths of our intellectuals can’t read any poetry.”

― Randall Jarrell

“The same people who are murdered slowly in the mechanized slaughterhouses of work are also arguing, singing, drinking, dancing, making love, holding the streets, picking up weapons and inventing a new poetry.”

― Raoul Vaneigem

“I thought we were gonna open up the world of poetry and music to all kinds of things, and yet, I can’t really think of anyone who’s done anything like it since.”

― Ray Manzarek

“Learn poetry by heart. If you know a poem by heart, no one can take it away from you, and you can take advantage of it anytime.”

― Raymond Aubrac

“When you’re writing fiction or poetry… it really comes down to this: indifference to everything except what you’re doing… A young writer could do worse than follow the advice given in those lines.”

― Raymond Carver

“An age which is incapable of poetry is incapable of any kind of literature except the cleverness of a decadence.”

― Raymond Chandler

“I like to write poetry.”

― Rebecca Ferguson

“I have often said that I think children’s books are like poetry. Finding the exact right words to tell a story is something all writers, regardless of genre, are challenged to do, but it is in children’s that the art of selection really becomes an art.”

― Rebecca Serle

“I admire ‘Adventure Time’ for being a piece of art in the way that I think art should be. If you want to see it is poetry, you can, and if you don’t, you can watch a fun cartoon.”

― Rebecca Sugar

“At this point we’ve answered about every question you could possibly imagine about Deep Space Nine, so we do this thing called Theatrical Jazz, where we do a show of bits and pieces of things from plays and literature, poetry… stuff that we like. It’s fun.”

― Rene Auberjonois

“The older I’ve got the less I find myself going back and re-reading or really reading new fiction or poetry.”

― Reynolds Price

“When you act, you’ve got to be like a poet or a musician. It’s not about evidence before court. It’s not a forensic subject. It’s poetry; it’s a completely different place.”

― Rhys Ifans

“I’ve always been a fan of poetry. I grew up with Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the Beat poets. I really followed that stuff for a while. I just love the way people threw words around like they were painting.”

― Ric Ocasek

“The Bible should be taught, but emphatically not as reality. It is fiction, myth, poetry, anything but reality. As such it needs to be taught because it underlies so much of our literature and our culture.”

― Richard Dawkins

“I love romantic poetry.”

― Richard Dawkins

“I’m quite a softy, yes. I have a blank spot with respect to visual art, but I have perhaps a compensating hypersensitivity to poetry and music.”

― Richard Dawkins

“Poetry is a natural energy resource of our country. It has no energy crisis, possessing a potential that will last as long as the country. Its power is equal to that of any country in the world.”

― Richard Eberhart

“Naming a baby is an act of poetry, for many people the only creative moment of their lives.”

― Richard Eyre

“Poetry’s always dead, you know? You don’t realize how good poetry is until 15 years later.”

― Richard Hell

“In the television age, the key distinction is between the candidate who can speak poetry and the one who can only speak prose.”

― Richard M. Nixon

“On the other hand, if there’s an underlying core of poetry that I go to, I go to the sea. I’ve lived on the sea all my life. I live on the sea in Cape Breton.”

― Richard Serra

“Let me read you some of my poetry. My poetry just takes me to another level.”

― Rick Fox

“I was one of those dark, quiet kids that wrote poetry.”

― Rick Springfield

“I think poetry is best read to oneself.”

― Rickie Lee Jones

“I was apprehensive. I feared every time I talked about poetry, it would be filtered through the lens of race, sex, and age.”

― Rita Dove

“There are distinct duties of a poet laureate. I plan a reading series at the Library of Congress and advise the librarian. The rest is how I want to promote poetry.”

― Rita Dove

“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.”

― Rita Dove

“Nothing is too small. Nothing is too, quote-unquote, ordinary or insignificant. Those are the things that make up the measure of our days, and they’re the things that sustain us. And they’re the things that certainly can become worthy of poetry.”

― Rita Dove

“The poetry that sustains me is when I feel that, for a minute, the clouds have parted and I’ve seen ecstasy or something.”

― Rita Dove

“I see a resurgence of interest in poetry. I am less optimistic about the prospects for the arts when it comes to federal funding.”

― Rita Dove

“I think one of the things that people tend to forget is that poets do write out of life. It isn’t some set piece that then gets put up on the shelf, but that the impetus, the real instigation for poetry is everything that’s happening around us.”

― Rita Dove

“I try to show what it is about language and music that enthralls, because I think those are the two elements of poetry.”

― Rita Dove

“Have you ever heard a good joke? If you’ve ever heard someone just right, with the right pacing, then you’re already on the way to poetry. It’s about using words in very precise ways and using gesture.”

― Rita Dove

“Instead of trying to come up and pontificate on what literature is, you need to talk with children, to teachers, and make sure they get poetry in the curriculum early.”

― Rita Dove

“We need creativity. We need more poetry after Auschwitz.”

― Rithy Panh

“Well I guess the plan was to write poetry and publish books and make a living from writing poetry. That was a pretty ambitious plan I guess.”

― Robert Adamson

“Well – I started writing – probably in the early 60s and by say ’65-’66 I had read most of the poetry that had been published – certainly in the 20 years prior to that.”

― Robert Adamson

“There’s one of my new poems actually – is a good example of where my poetry has ended up. My earlier river poetry was more like a cross between Shelley and Dylan Thomas.”

― Robert Adamson

“I grew up in a household that had its roots in church and community and culture and poetry and song and in the arts. Those aspects certainly shaped what I do.”

― Robert Battle

“I think of something quite different from a snapshot. I know of a lot of poems, some very fine ones, that are like snapshots, but I’m more interested in poetry that is like an endless film, long stories, things that weave together many different strands, like a big piece of cloth, not like a photograph.”

― Robert Bringhurst

“God is the perfect poet.”

― Robert Browning

“That poetry survived in its formal agencies finally, and that prose survived to get something said.”

― Robert Creeley

“Poetry is at least an elegance and at most a revelation.”

― Robert Fitzgerald

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

― Robert Frost

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

― Robert Frost

“Poetry is about the grief. Politics is about the grievance.”

― Robert Frost

“Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat.”

― Robert Frost

“Poetry is what gets lost in translation.”

― Robert Frost

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

― Robert Graves

“If there’s no money in poetry, neither is there poetry in money.”

― Robert Graves

“Beauty is not all there is of poetry. It must contain the truth. It is not simply an oak, rude and grand, neither is it simply a vine. It is both. Around the oak of truth runs the vine of beauty.”

― Robert Green Ingersoll

“I think that the job of poetry, its political job, is to refresh the idea of justice, which is going dead in us all the time.”

― Robert Hass

“I teach a lecture course on American poetry to as many as 150 students. For a lot of them, it’s their only elective, so this is their one shot. They’ll take the Russian Novel or American Poetry, so I want to give them the high points, the inescapable poets.”

― Robert Hass

“When I was younger, I was so crazy about poetry that I didn’t notice who was noticing. It seemed to me so tremendous and large.”

― Robert Hass

“The Vietnam War and the Iraq war, in different ways, both made me feel like I could not not address them. I’m very doubtful about the usefulness of poetry to do that.”

― Robert Hass

“I have been writing poetry ever since I was in high school. My poetry mainly concerned the theme of love. And that, of course, is an endless subject.”

― Robert Indiana

“The poetry of Walt Whitman. I can return again and again to these magnificent poems and still get pleasure from reading them.”

― Robert Littell

“Wine is bottled poetry.”

― Robert Louis Stevenson

“Alchemy is the art of far and near, and I think poetry is alchemy in that way. It’s delightful to distort size, to see something that’s tiny as though it were vast.”

― Robert Morgan

“Poetry, almost by definition, calls attention to its language and form.”

― Robert Morgan

“I think that it’s more likely that in my 60s and 70s I will be writing poetry rather than fiction.”

― Robert Morgan

“I did not have a very literary background. I came to poetry from the sciences and mathematics, and also through an interest in Japanese and Chinese poetry in translation.”

― Robert Morgan

“Pound’s translation of Chinese poetry was maybe the most important thing I read. Eliot a little bit later.”

― Robert Morgan

“You have to really dive deep back into yourself and get rid of so much modern analytical categorization. It’s one of the great things poetry does.”

― Robert Morgan

“The great watershed of modern poetry is French, more than English.”

― Robert Morgan

“Among the American contemporaries I read with most enjoyment are several North Carolinians. I think the best poetry being written these days is being written by Southerners.”

― Robert Morgan

“The Language Poets are writing only about language itself. The Ashbery poets are writing only about poetry itself. That seems to me a kind of dead end.”

― Robert Morgan

“Our most famous writers are Faulkner and Eudora Welty and Flannery O’Connor. It would make sense that the poetry would reflect some of those same values, some of the same techniques.”

― Robert Morgan

“The decision to write in prose instead of poetry is made more by the readers than by writers. Almost no one is interested in reading narrative in verse.”

― Robert Morgan

“Teaching writing over the years intrudes on your own writing in important ways, taking away some of the excitement of poetry.”

― Robert Morgan

“I don’t think poetry is something that can be taught. We can encourage young writers, but what you can’t teach them is the very essence of poetry.”

― Robert Morgan

“I don’t think the creative writing industry has helped American poetry.”

― Robert Morgan

“Some people swear by writing courses, but whether it really helps American poetry, I have doubts.”

― Robert Morgan

“I don’t think American poetry has gotten any better in the past 35 years. Oddly enough, creative writing programs seem to have been good for fiction, and I would not have predicted that.”

― Robert Morgan

“I love to compare different time frames. Poetry can evoke the time of the subject. By a very careful choice of words you can evoke an era, completely throw the poem into a different time scale.”

― Robert Morgan

“One of the most powerful devices of poetry is the use of distortions. You can go from talking about the way a minute passes to the way a century passes, or a lifetime.”

― Robert Morgan

“A poem in form still has to have voice, gesture, a sense of discovery, a metaphoric connection, as any poetry does.”

― Robert Morgan

“The fact that something is in a rhymed form or in blank verse will not make it good poetry.”

― Robert Morgan

“What actually makes poetry poetry is of course impossible to define. We recognize it when we hear it, when we see it, but we can’t define it.”

― Robert Morgan

“If a poem is not memorable, there’s probably something wrong. One of the problems of free verse is that much of the free verse poetry is not memorable.”

― Robert Morgan

“The idea of avant-garde art is a very suspicious thing to me, the idea that poetry is new and it keeps being new the way Chevrolets every year are new.”

― Robert Morgan

“Part of what we love about poetry is the fact that it seems ancient, that it has an authority of ancient language and ancient form, and that it’s timeless, that it reaches back.”

― Robert Morgan

“The young people have MTV and rock and roll. Why would they go to read poetry? Poetry belongs to the Stone Age. It awakens in us perceptions that go back to those times.”

― Robert Morgan

“I learned to impersonate the kind of person that talks about poetry. It comes from teaching, I think.”

― Robert Morgan

“The urge to write poetry is like having an itch. When the itch becomes annoying enough, you scratch it.”

― Robert Penn Warren

“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

“For an American, there’s no automatic place where people love the art of poetry. There’s not a social class that considers poetry its property the way in some countries there’s a snob value to the art.”

― Robert Pinsky

“Poetry is a vocal art for me – but not necessarily a performative one. It might be reading to oneself or recalling some lines by memory.”

― Robert Pinsky

“I don’t like to have a calm, orderly, quiet place to work. I often compose while driving, compose in my head. It is true that I wrote my little book, ‘The Sounds of Poetry, A Brief Guide,’ almost entirely in airplanes and airport departure lounges.”

― Robert Pinsky

“The best argument for teaching poetry is to put a three-year-old or a four-year-old and read Dr. Seuss, or Robert Louis Stevenson, and to feel how the child and you are engaging in something that’s really basic to the animal, which is passing on in these rhythmic ways, something that came from somewhere.”

― Robert Pinsky

“When I was a teenager, just about the only thing I could do right was play music. In my graduating class, I was certainly not voted ‘Most Literary Boy.’ I can assure you I was not voted ‘Mostly Likely to Succeed.’ I was voted ‘Most Musical Boy.’ And the music led to the poetry.”

― Robert Pinsky

“Jazz and poetry both involve a structure that may be familiar and to some extent predictable. And then, you try to create as much surprise and spontaneity and feeling and variation while respecting that structure.”

― Robert Pinsky

“Poetry is not easy. Or should I say, real poetry is not easy.”

― Robert Pinsky

“The flame that is naturally clear always gives the most light and heat. If I could blend my talent for poetry and music into one, the light would burn still clearer, and I might go far.”

― Robert Schumann

“Cut quarrels out of literature, and you will have very little history or drama or fiction or epic poetry left.”

― Robert Staughton Lynd

“Write verse, not poetry. The public wants verse. If you have a talent for poetry, then don’t by any means mother it, but try your hand at verse.”

― Robert W. Service

“My work should be seen as poetry.”

― Robert Wilson

“The obsessions of others are opaque to the unobsessed, and thus easy to mock. NASCAR, jazz, baseball, roses, poetry, quilts, fishing. If we’re lucky, we all have at least one.”

― Roberta Smith

“I’m a storyteller: the crux of the matter is to reach beauty, poetry; it doesn’t matter if that is comedy or tragedy. They’re the same if you reach the beauty.”

― Roberto Benigni

“Sometimes poetry, it is incomprehensible. But we need incomprehensible stuff! It is very healthy to talk about incomprehensible things! It is very healthy! We need it!”

― Roberto Benigni

“Poetry is this gorgeous, complex history rendered in verse and song, a blueprint that can lead you back into the world after you’ve walked into air.”

― Robin Coste Lewis

“Poetry, first and foremost, is the lyric. It’s the music.”

― Robin Coste Lewis

“We all know what it means to be sung to. And poetry is very close to that.”

― Robin Coste Lewis

“Long before we created libraries, or even books, poetry was the way we humans remembered who we were, a primary means of documenting and contemplating our lives.”

― Robin Coste Lewis

“As we produce work that becomes pure poetry, we impact and influence our teammates, we wow our suppliers, we inspire customers and strangers. And we lead our industry.”

― Robin S. Sharma

“It’s just poetry, beauty and love. How hard can that be to act?”

― Robin Wright

“I cannot say I’m a poet. That’s for someone when they take in consideration where they can bestow ‘poet’ on. I can’t do it. But I would be disingenuous if I didn’t say that my intention is poetry.”

― Rodney Crowell

“Whereas with poetry no one has to show anybody really, and you don’t have to tell anyone you’re doing it.”

― Roger McGough

“Whatever brief delights it provides, mere strangeness in poetry and prose eventually leaves us cold, especially when we suspect the writer is stretching for effect to avoid the actual life before his eyes.”

― Roger Rosenblatt

“I think there are things in my story that have helped my creativity. Your father being killed, for instance, is one of the best things that could happen to a kid if he’s going to write poetry or songs.”

― Roger Waters

“I read poetry every day. I look at it as an exercise, a kind of T’ai Chi for writers. It teaches economy of form.”

― Roger Zelazny

“Sri Lanka is an island that everyone loves at some level inside themselves. A very special island that travellers, from Sinbad to Marco Polo, dreamed about. A place where the contours of the land itself forms a kind of sinewy poetry.”

― Romesh Gunesekera

“I was a good college kid, all-American and baseball-playing, living in the dorms with a million barbarians. I did not expect to be claimed by Fitzgerald hook, line, and sinker. ‘This Side of Paradise’ – that sweet, sophomoric pastiche of notes, scenes, poetry, and plays – I felt like he’d written the book just for me.”

― Ron Carlson

“Short fiction is the medium I love the most, because it requires that I bring everything I’ve learned about poetry – the concision, the ability to say something as vividly as possible – but also the ability to create a narrative that, though lacking a novel’s length, satisfies the reader.”

― Ron Rash

“When you’re 15, you’re not really talking about the vicissitudes of fate and failed love and poetry and swordfighting – not a lot is necessarily touching on your own personal experience.”

― Rory Kinnear

“I’m not a great poetry fan.”

― Rupert Everett

“There was no market for poetry about trauma, abuse, loss, love, and healing through the lens of a Punjabi-Sikh immigrant woman.”

― Rupi Kaur

“I would give anything to sing like Beyonce or Adele. I’ve said many times to my friends that if I could sing like them, I would give up poetry and writing.”

― Rupi Kaur

“The topics just kind of come to me. If they are relevant, it’s because they’re happening in the world around me, and it’s affecting me. Poetry is my way of dealing with it.”

― Rupi Kaur

“Poetry and art are key influences in changing how we look at taboos.”

― Rupi Kaur

“’Milk and Honey’ was written with me being honest to myself, kind of pulling at the things that I hear the most and saying that out loud, and you know, that thing that we hear the most is most universal, and so that rings true with all folks. The language used in the poetry is extremely, extremely accessible.”

― Rupi Kaur

“Poetry is so vital to us until school spoils it.”

― Russell Baker

“I gave up on new poetry myself 30 years ago when most of it began to read like coded messages passing between lonely aliens in a hostile world.”

― Russell Baker

“Anticipating that most poetry will be worse than carrying heavy luggage through O’Hare Airport, the public, to its loss, reads very little of it.”

― Russell Baker

“I want to promote poetry to the point where you got all the baldhead kids running around doing poetry, getting the music out of the way and having only words, the spoken word, and then see what happens.”

― Russell Simmons

“A song is a short composition for voice and instruments. It is a piece of sung poetry set to music. It is usually only a few minutes long.”

― Russell Smith

“The tradition of Russian literature is also an eastern tradition of learning poetry and prose by heart.”

― Ryszard Kapuscinski

“Poetry allies itself with beauty – a supreme union – but never uses it as its ultimate goal or sole nourishment.”

― Saint-John Perse

“The poet existed among the cave men; he will exist among men of the atomic age, for he is an inherent part of man. Even religions have been born from the need for poetry, which is a spiritual need, and it is through the grace of poetry that the divine spark lives forever in the human flint.”

― Saint-John Perse

“I had art as a major, along with English, French and History. I had dance, modern dance. In English I was allowed to write my own poetry, which I eventually got published.”

― Sally Kirkland

“I’d park myself in the bookstore and read with one eye on everyone coming in. I remember reading a Robert Bly book of poetry.”

― Sally Mann

“I definitely used to write a lot at school. Comic poetry and drawings about people.”

― Sally Phillips

“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

“Poetry is also the physical self of the poet, and it is impossible to separate the poet from his poetry.”

― Salvatore Quasimodo

“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

“He passes from lyric to epic poetry in order to speak about the world and the torment in the world through man, rationally and emotionally. The poet then becomes a danger.”

― Salvatore Quasimodo

“Religious poetry, civic poetry, lyric or dramatic poetry are all categories of man’s expression which are valid only if the endorsement of formal content is valid.”

― Salvatore Quasimodo

“I’m not a writer. I think I can write short stories and poetry, but film writing, brilliant film writing, is a talent – you can’t just do it like that.”

― Samantha Morton

“It’s like I understand images and some people understand poetry.”

― Samantha Morton

“Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth.”

― Samuel Johnson

“Poetry: the best words in the best order.”

― Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“I wish our clever young poets would remember my homely definitions of prose and poetry; that is, prose = words in their best order; – poetry = the best words in the best order.”

― Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“Poetry has been to me its own exceeding great reward; it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the good and beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me.”

― Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“Spoken word poetry is the art of performance poetry. I tell people it involves creating poetry that doesn’t just want to sit on paper, that something about it demands it be heard out loud or witnessed in person.”

― Sarah Kay

“Not all poetry wants to be storytelling. And not all storytelling wants to be poetry. But great storytellers and great poets share something in common: They had something to say, and did.”

― Sarah Kay

“My first spoken word poem, packed with all the wisdom of a 14-year-old, was about the injustice of being seen as unfeminine. The poem was very indignant, and mainly exaggerated, but the only spoken word poetry that I had seen up until that point was mainly indignant, so I thought that that’s what was expected of me.”

― Sarah Kay

“I’ve been writing since I was 10 or 11. I started with poetry because that was the easiest thing. It just kind of came naturally. I think at that time West Coast hip hop was huge; all these kids around me were like, ‘I want to be a rapper.’ But I’m a white girl, not going to be a rapper.”

― Sasha Grey

“I went through a phase of reading lots of Urdu poetry, thanks to the great transliterated versions that have become available.”

― Satya Nadella

“At the age when Bengali youth almost inevitably writes poetry, I was listening to European classical music.”

― Satyajit Ray

“I was always making up rhymes. But I never thought that poetry would become my life.”

― Saul Williams

“More people than ever are slowly but surely turning their ears toward poetry.”

― Saul Williams

“I think we fool ourselves and really negate a great deal of history if we think that the oral history of poetry is shorter than the written history of poetry. It’s not true. Poetry has a longer oral tradition than it does written.”

― Saul Williams

“I love poetry – just to read it and be around it.”

― Scott Glenn

“Nowadays, what an award gives is a sense of solidarity with the poetry guild, as it were: sustenance coming from the assent of your peers on the judging panel.”

― Seamus Heaney

“Poetry is more a threshold than a path.”

― Seamus Heaney

“If poetry and the arts do anything, they can fortify your inner life, your inwardness.”

― Seamus Heaney

“Poetry is always slightly mysterious, and you wonder what is your relationship to it.”

― Seamus Heaney

“In a way, Anglo-Saxon poetry cannot be translated.”

― Seamus Heaney

“I credit poetry for making this space-walk possible.”

― Seamus Heaney

“The experiment of poetry, as far as I am concerned, happens when the poem carries you beyond where you could have reasonably expected to go.”

― Seamus Heaney

“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

“Anybody serious about poetry knows how hard it is to achieve anything worthwhile in it.”

― Seamus Heaney

“Tom Sleigh’s poetry is hard-earned and well founded. I great admire the way it refuses to cut emotional corners and yet achieves a sense of lyric absolution.”

― Seamus Heaney

“In the United States, in poetry workshops, it’s now quite a thing to make graduate students learn poems by heart.”

― Seamus Heaney

“A public expectation, it has to be said, not of poetry as such but of political positions variously approvable by mutually disapproving groups.”

― Seamus Heaney

“Manifesting that order of poetry where we can at last grow up to that which we stored up as we grew.”

― Seamus Heaney

“In fact, in lyric poetry, truthfulness becomes recognizable as a ring of truth within the medium itself.”

― Seamus Heaney

“The completely solitary self: that’s where poetry comes from, and it gets isolated by crisis, and those crises are often very intimate also.”

― Seamus Heaney

“The experimental poetry thing is not my thing. It’s a programme of the avant-garde: basically a refusal of the kind of poetry I write.”

― Seamus Heaney

“In Northern Ireland, helicopters are not usually used to promote poetry.”

― Seamus Heaney

“In poetry, everything can be faked but the intensity of utterance.”

― Seamus Heaney

“In a war situation or where violence and injustice are prevalent, poetry is called upon to be something more than a thing of beauty.”

― Seamus Heaney

“We go to poetry, we go to literature in general, to be forwarded within ourselves.”

― Seamus Heaney

“Poetry is what we do to break bread with the dead.”

― Seamus Heaney

“Dylan Thomas is now as much a case history as a chapter in the history of poetry.”

― Seamus Heaney

“Poetry is a domestic art, most itself when most at home.”

― Seamus Heaney

“It would probably surprise people to know that I’m interested in wildlife. I read a lot of poetry, too.”

― Sean Bean

“Poetry was my ‘in’ to the idea that I could express myself through art.”

― Sebastian Lelio

“In much of computer science, I can easily ‘auto-grade’ your work and give you an instant meaningful feedback. I can’t do this when it comes to the subtlety of human thought, language, poetry, philosophy.”

― Sebastian Thrun

“For me, poetry was… the fastest way to express what I was feeling, what I was going through.”

― Shane Koyczan

“I entered a poem in a poetry contest around 1987, and the poem won and I received $1,000 for it. That made me realize that maybe what I was writing was worth reading to people. After that, for some reason, I turned to novels and I’ve written mainly novels ever since.”

― Sharon Creech

“I don’t want to bury anything in poetry.”

― Sharon Van Etten

“I love to write poetry.”

― Shayne Ward

“I began the way nearly everybody I ever heard of – I began writing poetry. And I find that to be quite usual with writers, their trying their hand at poetry.”

― Shelby Foote

“I used to write sonnets and various things, and moved from there into writing prose, which, incidentally, is a lot more interesting than poetry, including the rhythms of prose.”

― Shelby Foote

“I can find some way to make poetry out of my life’s experiences.”

― Shelby Lynne

“You know, people speak in poetry all the time. They just don’t realize it.”

― Sherman Alexie

“It’s probably the first type of music we had, rhythm, whether it’s poetry or tapping.”

― Shura

“Gradually I find that my whole soul is merging itself into this business of writing, and especially of writing poetry. I am going to try it; and am going to test, in the most rigid way I know, the awful question whether it is my vocation.”

― Sidney Lanier

“I have frequently noticed in myself a tendency to a diffuse style; a disposition to push my metaphors too far, employing a multitude of words to heighten the patness of the image, and so making of it a conceit rather than a metaphor, a fault copiously illustrated in the poetry of Cowley, Waller, Donne, and others of that ilk.”

― Sidney Lanier

“I have just discovered the beautiful poetry of Soren Ulrik Thomsen. Danish is not the strongest of languages, but he uses it very well.”

― Sidse Babett Knudsen

“I’d never really been content with just churning out these slim volumes every three or four years. I’ve always tried to think of poetry as an active ingredient in the language rather than just something that appears between the covers of thin books.”

― Simon Armitage

“People who read poetry, for example, like the feel, the heft and the smell of a book.”

― Simon Armitage

“If you were going to choose a way of making your way in this world and a place to start from, you might not choose poetry and you might not choose Huddersfield.”

― Simon Armitage

“Bleak House is just the most astounding piece of work. There’s huge, visionary poetry in it.”

― Simon Callow

“As a schoolboy, poetry seemed defined by preciousness. It was all very rarefied.”

― Simon Schama

“Somehow, the words don’t have any vitality, any life to them, unless I can feel it marking on a paper. That’s how I start. Once I’m off, then I switch to the laptop. I think it would all just be prose if it started on a laptop – not that what I do is poetry.”

― Simon Schama

“The difficulty with poetry is that it doesn’t have the life that Shakespeare or Jane Austen have beyond the page. You can’t make a costume drama out of it. There’s no place for it to go except trapped inside its little book.”

― Simon Schama

“History gives you insight of the same quality of truth as poetry or philosophy or a novel.”

― Simon Schama

“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

“All through childhood, I wrote verses and mysteries. There is, for me, one connection: structure. My poetry is metrical, rhyming.”

― Sophie Hannah

“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

“When I get depressed, I try to get something for the terrible sadness that comes over me and create something in terms of poetry.”

― Spike Milligan

“Comedy was something I picked up trying to perfect my art through spoken word. I got on YouTube just to show off my poetry, and then people thought I was funny, so I ran with it.”

― Spoken Reasons

“Poetry is a totally different art than film.”

― Stan Brakhage

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

― Stephane Mallarme

“I wrote things for the school’s newspaper, and – like all teenagers – I dabbled in poetry.”

― Stephen Colbert

“What we know is that Shakespeare wrote perhaps the most remarkable body of passionate love poetry in the English language to a young man.”

― Stephen Greenblatt

“In school, my favourite class was when we were given a subject for an essay on which we could freewheel. And poetry: I’ve always written it and loved the way words interact, in meaning and in sound.”

― Stephen Hough

“If I’m walking along the street, ideas come. Ideas about things that I’m interested in. I’ve jotted them down in the past on bits of paper and then, more recently, on apps in my phone. I’ve always written poetry since I was a kid.”

― Stephen Hough

“I don’t want to, in any way, characterize a race or a people or get accused of racial profiling, but the Irish, as lyrical and romantic as they can be in their poetry, they can be every bit as repressed in their personal relations.”

― Stephen Lang

“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

“Great poetry is always written by somebody straining to go beyond what he can do.”

― Stephen Spender

“Poetry is the hardest thing that there is. It fascinates me, so I want to write more of it.”

― Steve Earle

“Gregory Corso used to get really pissed when people called Bob Dylan a ‘poet.’ After writing poetry for a few years, I can understand that.”

― Steve Earle

“Becoming interested in poetics got me interested in theater. Theater is supposed to be poetry, you know, before it’s anything else. It just doesn’t fly if it isn’t musical.”

― Steve Earle

“When I was in college, I really liked poetry. I don’t read much anymore.”

― Steve Martin

“I’ll try anything, but the pig testicles in Taiwan were a little much. Eh, it wasn’t half bad. There was this one dish I had there, the translation is, ‘The Monk Jumps over the Fence.’ It’s a fish dish with all these spices. It was beautiful, man – it was poetry. It had a whole story.”

― Steven Adams

“Art works because it appeals to certain faculties of the mind. Music depends on details of the auditory system, painting and sculpture on the visual system. Poetry and literature depend on language.”

― Steven Pinker

“I go to the gym, do some martial arts, and I love poetry. I have a tattoo of my family crest, and another on my back that says ‘The Road Not Taken,’ which is a poem by Robert Frost.”

― Steven R. McQueen

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been interested in the poetry of melancholy, if you like.”

― Steven Wilson

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

― Steven Wright

“I don’t think Auden liked my poetry very much, he’s very Anglican.”

― Stevie Smith

“All poetry has to do is to make a strong communication. All the poet has to do is listen. The poet is not an important fellow. There will also be another poet.”

― Stevie Smith

“I thought it would be a funny concept to publish a book about stand-up comedy with Faber, the poetry publisher, and to apply to stand-up the same sort of weight of annotation that you would to a classic work of literature, an epic poem. I thought that would be funny.”

― Stewart Lee

“When you’re looking that far out, you’re giving people their place in the universe, it touches people. Science is often visual, so it doesn’t need translation. It’s like poetry, it touches you.”

― Story Musgrave

“I’ve already written 300 space poems. But I look upon my ultimate form as being a poetic prose. When you read it, it appears to be prose, but within the prose you have embedded the techniques of poetry.”

― Story Musgrave

“Poetry is its own medium; it’s very different than writing prose. Poetry can talk in an imagistic sense, it has particular ways of catching an environment.”

― Story Musgrave

“Country music especially can get very formulaic – you know, you have to have your verses and a bridge and a chorus, and a lot of the songs are written as just plain and simple poetry on the road.”

― Sturgill Simpson

“I’ve never written poetry. I’m not a poet, but I think the nearest you get is either the short story or the novella, in that you can’t waste a word. There is no hiding place: everything’s got to be seen to relate, and the prose counts.”

― Susan Hill

“The length and shape of the poemetto, like the greater Romantic lyric of English poetry, lends itself to retrospection and commentary.”

― Susan Stewart

“To me, art begets art. Painting feeds the eye just as poetry feeds the ear, which is to say that both feed the soul.”

― Susan Vreeland

“I like to give and get basically anything (I love to read) but especially fiction and poetry.”

― Suzan-Lori Parks

“I used to buy scented poetry books on tour and read aloud to the band. Not what you’d expect, huh?”

― Suzi Quatro

“The blood jet is poetry and there is no stopping it.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I saw the gooseflesh on my skin. I did not know what made it. I was not cold. Had a ghost passed over? No, it was the poetry.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I have felt great advances in my poetry, the main one being a growing victory over word nuances and a superfluity of adjectives.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Poetry, I feel, is a tyrannical discipline. You’ve got to go so far so fast in such a small space; you’ve got to burn away all the peripherals.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Poetry at its best can do you a lot of harm.”

― Sylvia Plath

“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

“Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.”

― T. S. Eliot

“As things are, and as fundamentally they must always be, poetry is not a career, but a mug’s game. No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written: He may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing.”

― T. S. Eliot

“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”

― T. S. Eliot

“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.”

― T. S. Eliot

“Poetry should help, not only to refine the language of the time, but to prevent it from changing too rapidly.”

― T. S. Eliot

“The business of the poet is not to find new emotions, but to use the ordinary ones and, in working them up into poetry, to express feelings which are not in actual emotions at all.”

― T. S. Eliot

“I didn’t start off as a journalist; I started off as a poet. My ambition was to practise poetry. Then I found journalism, but that other voice never fled from me.”

― Ta-Nehisi Coates

“Real friendship, like real poetry, is extremely rare – and precious as a pearl.”

― Tahar Ben Jelloun

“Poetry is a form of mathematics, a highly rigorous relationship with words.”

― Tahar Ben Jelloun

“Poetry is not only a set of words which are chosen to relate to each other; it is something which goes much further than that to provide a glimpse of our vision of the world.”

― Tahar Ben Jelloun

“For me, poetry is a situation – a state of being, a way of facing life and facing history.”

― Tahar Ben Jelloun

“I came to poetry through the urgent need to denounce injustice, exploitation, humiliation. I know that’s not enough to change the world. But to remain silent would have been a kind of intolerable complicity.”

― Tahar Ben Jelloun

“I think going from doing TV and straight plays to Shakespeare is weird enough because you have this heightened language, and you are telling a story through metric poetry. But I think music is that place beyond poetry.”

― Tamsin Greig

“When I got to Scotland, I signed up on a site called Meetup. It’s like these group things you can do – a poetry reading, a hike, whatever.”

― Tanya Saracho

“My first book was poetry, but I didn’t write it first. I wrote it third. So my first two books were prose.”

― Tao Lin

“If our hearts are ready for anything, we are touched by the beauty and poetry and mystery that fill our world.”

― Tara Brach

“I’m no longer religious, but the Bible fascinates me. Hardly anyone reads it anymore, but it’s got everything: it’s a book of poetry, it’s a book of principle, it’s a book of stories, and of myths and of epic tales, a book of histories and a book of fictions, of riddles, fables, parables and allegories.”

― Tara Westover

“I have been writing poetry since 1975. My first poetry book was published in 1986.”

― Taslima Nasrin

“If you’ve ever been to a poetry slam, you know that the highest scoring emotion is self-righteous indignation: how dare you judge me. So in that way, the poem, ‘What Teachers Make,’ is an absolutely formulaic slam poem designed to allow me to get up on my soap box and say, ‘Let me tell you what really makes me angry.’”

― Taylor Mali

“I really enjoy English and poetry and writing classes.”

― Taylor Momsen

“I felt like my favorite writers have almost musical hooks in their work, whether it’s poetry or a hook at the end of a chapter that makes you want to read the next one. And I think that my favorite writers definitely have something musical about what they do, in saying something so relatable and universal and so simple.”

― Taylor Swift

“Poetry and lyrics are very similar. Making words bounce off a page.”

― Taylor Swift

“When I hit a block, regardless of what I am writing, what the subject matter is, or what’s going on in the plot, I go back and I read Pablo Neruda’s poetry. I don’t actually speak Spanish, so I read it translation. But I always go back to Neruda. I don’t know why, but it calms me, calms my brain.”

― Tea Obreht

“Lyrical poetry is not a big part of most people’s lives. Twitter now becomes an interesting way of getting cared for language into people’s space. Because there is something deep inside of us that responds to cared for language, whether it’s literary, poetry, or really good lyrics in a song.”

― Teju Cole

“The nerds are my favourite sort of boys – any guy with a passion – whether it be physics or film or writing or poetry even, I think it’s super sweet and it’s very attractive for a female.”

― Teresa Palmer

“Anyone reading contemporary poetry – especially contemporary African-American poetry – will quickly see that race is an enduring subject. What some don’t realize is just how diverse the handling of that subject is. It’s as diverse as blackness.”

― Terrance Hayes

“When I applied for grad school, I did not specify genre. I said I wanted an MFA in Creative Writing. I was so cute and stupid! The admissions committee at Pitt decided to put me in poetry.”

― Terrance Hayes

“Most poetry in the modern age has retreated to the private sphere, turning its back on the political realm.”

― Terry Eagleton

“Poetry is the most subtle of the literary arts, and students grow more ingenious by the year at avoiding it. If they can nip around Milton, duck under Blake and collapse gratefully into the arms of Jane Austen, a lot of them will.”

― Terry Eagleton

“Science fiction, outside of poetry, is the only literary field which has no limits, no parameters whatsoever.”

― Theodore Sturgeon

“When I was young, I read everything I could lay my hands on, but the Scots in my storybooks spent their time fighting glorious battles, rowing across lochs, or escaping over moors of purple heather. Even those Scots were hard to find. For at school, we recited poetry according to the set texts the teachers taught us.”

― Theresa Breslin

“Deep feeling doesn’t make for good poetry. A way with language would be a bit of help.”

― Thom Gunn

“My old teacher’s definition of poetry is an attempt to understand.”

― Thom Gunn

“There have been two popular subjects for poetry in the last few decades: the Vietnam War and AIDS, about both of which almost all of us have felt deeply.”

― Thom Gunn

“As civilization advances, poetry almost necessarily declines.”

― Thomas Babington Macaulay

“Perhaps no person can be a poet, or even enjoy poetry, without a certain unsoundness of mind.”

― Thomas Babington Macaulay

“Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.”

― Thomas Gray

“Poetry is emotion put into measure. The emotion must come by nature, but the measure can be acquired by art.”

― Thomas Hardy

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

― Thomas Hardy

“But poetry is a way of language, it is not its subject or its maker’s background or interests or hobbies or fixations. It is nearer to utterance than history.”

― Thomas Lynch

“So I suppose poetry, language, the shaping of it, was and remains for me an effort to make sense out of essentially senseless situations.”

― Thomas Lynch

“Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous – to poetry. But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd.”

― Thomas Mann

“Most people can’t tell now who wrote what. I like that blurring of identities within the band. because it becomes a unified thing that can’t be related to other forms of historical poetry.”

― Thurston Moore

“Poetry is not an issue of form and enjambments. Poetry, as the word is classically used, has to do with sound and sense. It can be rhyme. It can be rhythm, pace, breath.”

― Tim O’Brien

“Mostly, when I travel, I want to represent my own work well and let others know how I feel about poetry being an important part of life.”

― Tim Seibles

“I think of myself as an ambassador of the arts. In my heart of hearts, I know the world would be a more peaceful, tender place if we were more moved by the poetry around us.”

― Tim Seibles

“I actually remember celebrating National Poetry Day at school; I remember having to write and read a load.”

― Tinie Tempah

“My strong suits, coming from poetry, will naturally be description, which I love doing. It comes very easily, and possibly structure, up to a point.”

― Tobias Hill

“At school, I was never given a sense that poetry was something flowery or light. It’s a complex and controlled way of using language. Rhythms and the music of it are very important. But the difficulty is that poetry makes some kind of claim of honesty.”

― Tobias Hill

“I believe that the short story is as different a form from the novel as poetry is, and the best stories seem to me to be perhaps closer in spirit to poetry than to novels.”

― Tobias Wolff

“I published, privately, a collection of my serious poetry I had written over the years. I only published 50 copies, which I gave to friends, in a special deluxe edition. It was ridiculously expensive but I’m glad that I did it.”

― Tom Glazer

“It’s always a combination of physics and poetry that I find inspiring. It’s hard to wrap your head around things like the Hubble scope.”

― Tom Hanks

“Poetry, being supremely useless, by its very existence represents a protest against the so-called ‘real world’ of busy-ness and moneymaking, so we must embrace, salute and support our poets.”

― Tom Hodgkinson

“Poetry is one of the few nasty childhood habits I’ve managed to grow out of.”

― Tom Holt

“In the winter of 1940, ‘The Atlantic Monthly’ invited Peter Viereck, a twenty-three-year-old Harvard graduate who had won the college’s top essay and poetry prizes, to write about ‘the meaning of young liberalism for the present age.’”

― Tom Reiss

“When Auden said his poetry didn’t save one Jew from the gas chamber, he’d said it all.”

― Tom Stoppard

“I don’t like the word ‘poetry,’ and I don’t like poetry readings, and I usually don’t like poets. I would much prefer describing myself and what I do as: I’m kind of a curator, and I’m kind of a night-owl reporter.”

― Tom Waits

“I didn’t want to deal in poetry. I got rid of that after a few months.”

― Tom Wesselmann

“Society’s dark hull drifts further and further away. It is this place – the place of our separation, our distinction – that much of his poetry occupies.”

― Tomas Transtromer

“In 1971, when I was 29, I wrote my first volume of poetry. I am a poet, and I have published four books of my poems.”

― Tony Buzan

“Coming from a very inarticulate family made me try to speak for those who can’t express themselves and created a need for articulation at its most ceremonial – poetry.”

― Tony Harrison

“For me, there is a paradox in poetry, which is like the paradox in tragedy. You have the most terrible subject, but it’s in a form that is so sensually gratifying that it connects the surviving heart to the despairing intellect.”

― Tony Harrison

“A lot of my activity in the theatre, and even in writing poems, was a kind of retrospective aggro on the English teacher who wouldn’t allow me to read poetry aloud.”

― Tony Harrison

“You get early inoculation against the idea of success if you’re a poet. When I published my first collection of sonnets, I sold about five copies; now kids study them for A level. Wanting to be successful in that other world of money or fame is not interesting. Poetry isn’t like that, and it never has been.”

― Tony Harrison

“Poetry is all I write, whether for books or readings or for the National Theatre or for the opera house and concert hall or even for TV.”

― Tony Harrison

“I love being on the road with others, with a camera, but also being alone writing poetry.”

― Tony Harrison

“I was well read and knew languages, but I didn’t want to become Ezra Pound. I wanted to write poetry that people like my parents might respond to.”

― Tony Harrison

“Theatre has to be theatrical. It has to draw attention to itself, like poetry.”

― Tony Harrison

“You can make poems out of anger as well as tenderness. You can make poetry out of anything. It can be the ugliest of emotions. It doesn’t have to be sweetness and light.”

― Tony Harrison

“Why shouldn’t poetry address what happened yesterday and be published in the newspaper?”

― Tony Harrison

“The Greek tragic mask is one of my main metaphors for the role of the poet. The eyes of the tragic mask are always open to witness even the worst, and the mouth is always open to make poetry from it. Neither ever close.”

― Tony Harrison

“Statues are one of the ways I try to test the traditions of European culture against the most modern destructive forces. I often make a point of seeking them out and have used them as mouthpieces in my film poetry, as with Heinrich Heine in ‘The Gaze of the Gorgon.’”

― Tony Harrison

“I know my curiosity as a writer and as a person makes me really interested in moving to parts of the country that I haven’t explored through writers’ festivals or through the kind of campus visits that I do on a regular basis and engaging with people who may be readers of poetry and may not.”

― Tracy K. Smith

“I go to a lot of writers conferences and literary festivals that tend to be in college towns or cities, and I’m eager to see what happens if those same texts and those same questions move outside of those areas to smaller rural communities where there are surely people who read and love poetry.”

― Tracy K. Smith

“So much of my poetry begins with something that I can describe in visual terms, so thinking about distance, thinking about how life begins and what might be watching us.”

― Tracy K. Smith

“I work with a lot of young people who have poems that are changing their lives, that they’re eager to talk about, but every now and then when I meet someone, maybe someone of my parents’ generation, and I tell them that I write poetry, they’ll begin to recite something that they memorized when they were in school that has never left them.”

― Tracy K. Smith

“We all need poetry. The moments in our lives that are characterized by language that has to do with necessity or the market, or just, you know, things that take us away from the big questions that we have, those are the things that I think urge us to think about what a poem can offer.”

― Tracy K. Smith

“Lately, I’ve been thinking about the difference between poetry and prose, and as I’ve experienced it, poetry is insistent. It allows for images and statements to operate in a single space and resonate powerfully without the application to be elaborated upon and narrated.”

― Tracy K. Smith

“Poetry is not the language we live in. It’s not the language of our day-to-day errand-running and obligation-fulfilling, not the language with which we are asked to justify ourselves to the outside world. It certainly isn’t the language to which commercial value has been assigned.”

― Tracy K. Smith

“One of poetry’s great effects, through its emphasis upon feeling, association, music, and image – things we recognize and respond to even before we understand why – is to guide us toward the part of ourselves so deeply buried that it borders upon the collective.”

― Tracy K. Smith

“Rather than numbing or drowning out the difficult-to-describe but urgently sensed feelings that are part of being human, poetry invites us to tease them out, to draw them into language that is rooted in intricate thought and strange impulse.”

― Tracy K. Smith

“Listening to music and lyrics and watching movies, I think, uses a lot of the same muscles we use in reading and experiencing poetry – and yet we somehow forget that we have those when it comes to sitting down with a book of poems.”

― Tracy K. Smith

“I guess the two Manifesto, Communicating Vessels, Mad Love, and some of his poetry made a significant mark on me but as far as bringing a literary element into the music I see it as a much broader assimilation.”

― Trevor Dunn

“Poetry says the things that I can’t say. I read a lot, but I never write it.”

― Trevor McDonald

“Creating artworks, writing and publishing novels, poetry, music, or conducting art-historical research requires support. So does everything else in the world, from physics to fish and wildlife management to human-rights advocacy.”

― Trevor Paglen

“When the poet is in love, he is incapable of writing poetry on love. He has to write when he remembers that he was in love.”

― Umberto Eco

“Poetry is not a matter of feelings, it is a matter of language. It is language which creates feelings.”

― Umberto Eco

“The Victorian language of flowers began with the publication of ‘Le Language des Fleurs,’ written by Charlotte de Latour and printed in Paris in 1819. To create the book – which was a list of flowers and their meanings – de Latour gathered references to flower symbolism throughout poetry, ancient mythology, and even medicine.”

― Vanessa Diffenbaugh

“Theater and poetry were what helped people stay alive and want to go on living.”

― Vanessa Redgrave

“Rhyme, that enslaved queen, that supreme charm of our poetry, that creator of our meter.”

― Victor Hugo

“In the French language, there is a great gulf between prose and poetry; in English, there is hardly any difference. It is a splendid privilege of the great literary languages Greek, Latin, and French that they possess a prose. English has not this privilege. There is no prose in English.”

― Victor Hugo

“The drama is complete poetry. The ode and the epic contain it only in germ; it contains both of them in a state of high development, and epitomizes both.”

― Victor Hugo

“Verse in itself does not constitute poetry. Verse is only an elegant vestment for a beautiful form. Poetry can express itself in prose, but it does so more perfectly under the grace and majesty of verse. It is poetry of soul that inspires noble sentiments and noble actions as well as noble writings.”

― Victor Hugo

“My own, purely personal view is that reading, study, poetry, and scientific experiment might be more rewarding than a job or children, so I would never advise anyone against university if they’re going for the right reasons.”

― Victoria Coren Mitchell

“I have a publishing company of books by me and books of others. It drew people to poetry readings and photo exhibitions and painting exhibitions that I’ve been doing for years before that.”

― Viggo Mortensen

“On a practical level, poetry isn’t something anybody has really made a great living at. I might sell some books and, once in a while, someone might pay to hear me read.”

― Viggo Mortensen

“Photography, painting or poetry – those are just extensions of me, how I perceive things; they are my way of communicating.”

― Viggo Mortensen

“Those books of mine that are remunerative – I’m not talking about poetry here – take years to write, and I am never sure they’ll be successful. So writing is a risk in more senses than one.”

― Vikram Seth

“I spent many years of my life as an economist and demographer. I was finally distracted by writing my novels and poetry. I’m enormously happy that was the case. I feel that with writing I have found my metier.”

― Vikram Seth

“You have to learn a few things, which you do along the way, but basically, poetry is a matter of the ear. Iambic pentameters or what constitutes a stanza comes naturally – your ears will know.”

― Vikram Seth

“Why do writers, say, give up a job in economics and decide to write poetry? Or, why do they give up a job in a bank and decide to paint, like Krishan Khanna? They want to convey something.”

― Vikram Seth

“Poetry, I think, intensifies the reader’s experience. If it’s a humorous facet of the story, poetry makes it more exuberant. If it’s a sad facet, poetry can make it more poignant.”

― Vikram Seth

“Everyone sort of sees his own life and times as being ephemeral. One thinks that everything good or important that happened, happened in the past. But I think that seeing scenes that you are used to, but with the heightening effects of poetry, perhaps makes you value your life and times more than you might otherwise do.”

― Vikram Seth

“You know, I can imagine not writing a novel and writing poetry only.”

― Vikram Seth

“I’m moving to Rio permanently with my family. It’s one of the places left in the world where people still live with a big charge of poetry on a daily basis. I feel we’ve kind of lost that here in Europe.”

― Vincent Cassel

“Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it.”

― Vincent Van Gogh

“Yet, it is true, poetry is delicious; the best prose is that which is most full of poetry.”

― Virginia Woolf

“Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.”

― Virginia Woolf

“Yes, I do write poetry. It’s very therapeutic. I’m influenced by Pablo Neruda and Gulzar Saab. It’s all very personal.”

― Vivek Oberoi

“Poetry involves the mysteries of the irrational perceived through rational words.”

― Vladimir Nabokov

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

― Voltaire

“Not too many people know it, but when I was in junior high, I was a pretty tough kid and was the leader of a street gang. Well, OK, it was less a street gang than an Ecology Club. We were pretty intimidating, though, and had our own meeting room until we got run out of there by a bunch of thugs from the Poetry Society.”

― W. Bruce Cameron

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

― W. H. Auden

“Before people complain of the obscurity of modern poetry, they should first examine their consciences and ask themselves with how many people and on how many occasions they have genuinely and profoundly shared some experience with another.”

― W. H. Auden

“A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become.”

― W. H. Auden

“Every American poet feels that the whole responsibility for contemporary poetry has fallen upon his shoulders, that he is a literary aristocracy of one.”

― W. H. Auden

“What a great poem teaches you – and it’s not intellectual at all – is the resonance in the language that’s heard there. This goes back to the very origins of poetry and to the very origins of language.”

― W. S. Merwin

“Poetry is like making a joke. If you get one word wrong at the end of a joke, you’ve lost the whole thing.”

― W. S. Merwin

“I can’t imagine ever writing anything of any kind on a machine. I never tried to write either poetry or prose on a typewriter. I like to do it on useless paper, scrap paper, because it’s of no importance.”

― W. S. Merwin

“I think poetry is as old as language, and both come out of the same thing – an effort to try to express something that is inexpressible.”

― W. S. Merwin

“The crown of literature is poetry.”

― W. Somerset Maugham

“Making love is, simply put, poetry in motion.”

― Wale

“Everything is complicated; if that were not so, life and poetry and everything else would be a bore.”

― Wallace Stevens

“In poetry, you must love the words, the ideas and the images and rhythms with all your capacity to love anything at all.”

― Wallace Stevens

“Money is a kind of poetry.”

― Wallace Stevens

“Most people read poetry listening for echoes because the echoes are familiar to them. They wade through it the way a boy wades through water, feeling with his toes for the bottom: The echoes are the bottom.”

― Wallace Stevens

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

― Wallace Stevens

“If poetry should address itself to the same needs and aspirations, the same hopes and fears, to which the Bible addresses itself, it might rival it in distribution.”

― Wallace Stevens

“I joined the army on my seventeenth birthday, full of the romance of war after having read a lot of World War I British poetry and having seen a lot of post-World War II films. I thought the romantic presentations of war influenced my joining and my presentation of war to my younger siblings.”

― Walter Dean Myers

“Even if you only want to write science fiction, you should also read mysteries, poetry, mainstream literature, history, biography, philosophy, and science.”

― Walter Jon Williams

“Poetry teaches us music, metaphor, condensation and specificity.”

― Walter Mosley

“A very intimate sense of the expressiveness of outward things, which ponders, listens, penetrates, where the earlier, less developed consciousness passed lightly by, is an important element in the general temper of our modern poetry.”

― Walter Pater

“That sense of a life in natural objects, which in most poetry is but a rhetorical artifice, was, then, in Wordsworth the assertion of what was for him almost literal fact.”

― Walter Pater

“Many attempts have been made by writers on art and poetry to define beauty in the abstract, to express it in the most general terms, to find some universal formula for it.”

― Walter Pater

“Such discussions help us very little to enjoy what has been well done in art or poetry, to discriminate between what is more and what is less excellent in them, or to use words like beauty, excellence, art, poetry, with a more precise meaning than they would otherwise have.”

― Walter Pater

“Prose on certain occasions can bear a great deal of poetry; on the other hand, poetry sinks and swoons under a moderate weight of prose.”

― Walter Savage Landor

“Teach your children poetry; it opens the mind, lends grace to wisdom and makes the heroic virtues hereditary.”

― Walter Scott

“My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.”

― Wilfred Owen

“Never fear: Thank Home, and Poetry, and the Force behind both.”

― Wilfred Owen

“I don’t like to boast, but I have probably skipped more poetry than any other person of my age and weight in this country.”

― Will Cuppy

“You can be intuitive when you’ve got a more expansive role. You can get into the poetry of telling the story rather than just pushing buttons.”

― Willem Dafoe

“Poetry fettered, fetters the human race. Nations are destroyed or flourish in proportion as their poetry, painting, and music are destroyed or flourish.”

― William Blake

“We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.”

― William Butler Yeats

“Prior to Wordsworth, humor was an essential part of poetry. I mean, they don’t call them Shakespeare comedies for nothing.”

― William Collins

“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

“Eloquence is the poetry of prose.”

― William Cullen Bryant

“Now, to read poetry at all is to have an ideal anthology of one’s own, and in that possession to be incapable of content with the anthologies of all the world besides.”

― William Ernest Henley

“Poetry is the universal language which the heart holds with nature and itself. He who has a contempt for poetry, cannot have much respect for himself, or for anything else.”

― William Hazlitt

“Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life.”

― William Hazlitt

“I have always used a great variety of verse forms, especially in my poetry for children. I believe that poetry begins in childhood and that a poet who can remember his own childhood exactly can, and should, communicate to children.”

― William Jay Smith

“I believe that poetry should communicate.”

― William Jay Smith

“Who writes poetry imbibes honey from the poisoned lips of life.”

― William Rose Benet

“Poetry and consumption are the most flattering of diseases.”

― William Shenstone

“The lines of poetry, the period of prose, and even the texts of Scripture most frequently recollected and quoted, are those which are felt to be preeminently musical.”

― William Shenstone

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

― William Wordsworth

“Poetic talent doesn’t operate in a vacuum. There is a spirit of Polish poetry.”

― Wislawa Szymborska

“In the language of poetry, where every word is weighed, nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone’s existence in this world.”

― Wislawa Szymborska

“I cannot speak for more than an hour exclusively about poetry. At that point, life itself takes over again.”

― Wislawa Szymborska

“Unfortunately, poetry is not born in noise, in crowds, or on a bus. There have to be four walls and the certainty that the telephone will not ring. That’s what writing is all about.”

― Wislawa Szymborska

“I began writing early – very, very early… I was already writing short stories for the radio and selling poems to poetry and art festivals; I was involved in school plays; I wrote essays, so there was no definite moment when I said, ‘Now I’m a writer.’ I’ve always been a writer.”

― Wole Soyinka

“I know nothing new except that Herr Gellert, the Leipzig poet, is dead, and has written no more poetry since his death.”

― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

“The attitude that poetry should not be analyzed is prevalent among many who consider themselves experts on children’s literature. But I suspected that kids like to look closely at things and figure out what makes them go.”

― X. J. Kennedy

“There is no gender to my music. There’s no male or female voice, no trite lyrics or poetry. It’s much more abstract, so it lives with you longer.”

― Yanni

“When I read the Koran or hear it read, the images and the poetry, the sound of the language is very inspiring.”

― Yasmine Hamdan

“I’ve often said that all poetry is political. This is because real poems deal with a human response to reality and politics is part of reality, history in the making. Even if a poet writes about sitting in a glass house drinking tea, it reflects politics.”

― Yehuda Amichai

“Poetry is like a bird, it ignores all frontiers.”

― Yevgeny Yevtushenko

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

― Yevgeny Yevtushenko

“I grew up in Jerusalem and went to school here. I studied at the Hebrew University – mostly Islam and Arabic: Arab literature, Arab poetry and culture, because I felt like we are living in this region, in the Middle East, and we are not alone: There are nations here whose culture is Arab.”

― Yitzhak Navon

“Poetry helps me understand who I am. It helps me understand the world around me. But above all, what poetry has taught me is the fact that I need to embrace mystery in order to be completely human.”

― Yusef Komunyakaa

“Students often have such a lofty idea of what a poem is, and I want them to realize that their own lives are where the poetry comes from. The most important things are to respect the language; to know the classical rules, even if only to break them; and to be prepared to edit, to revise, to shape.”

― Yusef Komunyakaa

“I define poetry as celebration and confrontation. When we witness something, are we responsible for what we witness? That’s an on-going existential question. Perhaps we are and perhaps there’s a kind of daring, a kind of necessary energetic questioning. Because often I say it’s not what we know, it’s what we can risk discovering.”

― Yusef Komunyakaa
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