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Poetry Quotes

I hope you find value in these encouraging quotes about Poetry.

If a man is called to be a street sweeper,
he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,
or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.
He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts
of heaven and earth will pause to say,
here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Youth, large, lusty, loving -
Youth, full of grace, force, fascination.
Do you know that Old Age may come after you
with equal grace, force, fascination?
- Walt Whitman

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

Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.
- Plato

 

Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.
- Edgar Allan Poe

Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
- Thomas Gray

Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.
- Carl Sandburg

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- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.
- Novalis

Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.
- Carl Sandburg

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

Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry.
- Muriel Rukeyser

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

There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.
- John Cage

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any healthy man can go without food for two days -
but not without poetry.
- Charles Baudelaire

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

All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.
- Oscar Wilde

Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.
- Rita Dove

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 what gets lost in translation.
- Robert Frost

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

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

There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money,
either.
- Robert Graves

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

A poet's autobiography is his poetry.
Anything else is just a footnote.
- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

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

Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life.
- William Hazlitt

Poetry: the best words in the best order.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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

Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.
- T. S. Eliot

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

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

The River of Life has no meaning, no good, no bad,
no better, no worse, no love, no hate, no fear, no anger, no joy.
The River of Life has no judgment, no expectation.
The River of Life just IS. There is nothing to do.
There is nothing to say.
There is nothing to think.
There is nothing to feel.
The River just flows. The River is the source of all nourishment -
the source of all obstacles.
The River is the source of all life - the source of all death.
The River is the source of all joy - and the source of all sorrow.
Yet the River has no joy - and the River has no sorrow.
The River is just the River.
One can flow harmoniously with the River -
or one can struggle fearfully against the River -
and the River just flows.
One can accept the River - or one can deny the River -
and the River just flows.
One can worship the River of Life - or one can curse the River of Life -
and the River just flows. There is nothing to do - and the River flows.
There is nothing to say - and the River flows.
There is nothing to think - and the River flows.
There is nothing to feel - and the River flows.
The River flows - and all else is our drama.
The River flows - and all else is our invention.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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

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

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

You don't have to suffer to be a poet;
adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.
- John Ciardi

A poem conveys not a message so much as the provenance of a message,
an advent of sense.
- Thomas Harrison

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

A poem is never finished, only abandoned.
- Paul Valery

The River of Life flows without emotion.
The River surges. The River quiets.
The River overflows its banks. The River dries to a trickle.
The River swirls and storms. The River becomes calm.
The River runs clear. The River runs dark with silt.
The River is indifferent to what benefit
or what harm is caused by its water.
The River is the River, and that is all there is to it.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman.
- Wallace Stevens

Usually a life turned into a poem is misrepresented.
- Mark Strand

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

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

The River of Life has no judgments.
The River flows with no concept of good and bad - right and wrong.
The fields and dreams of men may be nourished by the River of Life,
or flooded and covered with silt, and the River just flows.
Men may catch fish and live on the River of Life,
or they may founder in a storm and drown, and the River just flows.
The River of Life is timeless.
It is not unchanging, but it is timeless,
and it changes in its own time.
The River of Life knows no obstacles.
The River can cut through solid rock - in its own time.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.
- David Carradine

Everyone thinks they're going to write one book of poems or one novel.
- Marilyn Hacker

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

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

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

I still read Donne, particularly his love poems.
- Carol Ann Duffy

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

However, if a poem can be reduced to a prose sentence,
there can't be much to it.
- James Schuyler

I sometimes talk about the making of a poem within the poem.
- Howard Nemerov

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

A poem can have an impact, but you can't expect an
audience to understand all the nuances.
- Douglas Dunn

The moment of change is the only poem.
- Adrienne Rich

Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley

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

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

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.
- Jean Cocteau

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

God is the perfect poet.
- Robert Browning

To have great poets, there must be great audiences.
- Walt Whitman


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May the world be kind to you,
and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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