25 Quotes About Poetry

March 22, 2016

 

The ones who can truly give voice to the power and truth and beauty of poetry and literature are the writers and poets themselves. Here is a selection of what some of them have to say on the subject:

 

Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry. 

― Cassandra Clare

 

[Poetry] is the liquid voice that can wear through stone. 

― Adrienne Rich

 

Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet. 

― Plato

 

A poet is a man who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times. 

― Randall Jarrell

 

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen. 

― Leonardo da Vinci

 

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the music the words make. 

― Truman Capote

 

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

― Robert Frost

 

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

― Salman Rushdie

 

If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week. 

― Charles Darwin

 

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 emotion know what it means to want to escape from these. 

― T.S. Eliot

 

Poetry is what happens when nothing else can. 

― Charles Bukowski

 

There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it. 

― Gustave Flaubert

 

Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. 

― Mary Oliver

 

Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings. 

― W.H. Auden

 

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

― Leonard Cohen

 

Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone. 

― Lawrence Ferlinghetti

 

Don't use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry. 

― Jack Kerouac

 

It was at that age

that poetry came in search of me. 

― Pablo Neruda

 

This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple ‘I must,’ then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose…

― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself and the world around him. 

― Dylan Thomas

 

...and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough? 

― Vincent van Gogh

 

To be a poet is a condition, not a profession. 

― Robert Frost

 

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood. 

― T.S. Eliot

 

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason. 

― Novalis

 

What can be explained is not poetry. 

― W.B. Yeats

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