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.
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.
What can be explained is not poetry.
― W.B. Yeats