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The eye is the notebook of the poet. - James Russell Lowell

The courage of the poets is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness. - Christopher Morley

Poetry is the special medium of spiritual crazy wisdom, the form of expression that comes closest to creating a bridge between words and what is wordless. - Wes "Scoop" Nisker

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

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

The poet speaks to all men of that other life of theirs that they have smothered and forgotten. - Dame Edith Sitwell

Good poetry seems too simple and natural a thing that when we meet it we wonder that all men are not always poets. Poetry is nothing but healthy speech. - Henry David Thoreau

It is as impossible to translate poetry as it is to translate music. - Voltaire

There is the view that poetry should improve your life. I think people confuse it with the Salvation Army. - John Ashbery

Poetry makes nothing happen. It survives in the valley of its saying. - W. H. Auden

The poets did well to conjoin music and medicine, because the office of medicine is but to tune the curious harp of man's body. - Francis Bacon

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

Poetry is the impish attempt to paint the color of the wind. - Maxwell Bodenheim

If a poet has any obligation toward society, it is to write well. Being in the minority, he has no other choice. Failing this duty, he sinks into oblivion. Society, on the other hand, has no obligation toward the poet. A majority by definition, society thinks of itself as having other options than reading verses, no matter how well written. Its failure to do so results in its sinking to that level of locution at which society falls easy prey to a demagogue or a tyrant. This is society's own equivalent of oblivion. - Joseph Brodsky

Poetry is life distilled. - Gwendolyn Brooks

As to "Don Juan," confess that it is the sublime of that there sort of writing; it may be bawdy, but is it not good English? It may be profligate, but is it not life, is it not the thing? Could any man have written it who has not lived in the world? and tooled in a post-chaise? in a hackney coach? in a Gondola? against a wall? in a court carriage? in a vis a vis? on a table? and under it? - Lord Byron

Little do such men know the toil, the pains, the daily, nightly racking of the brains, to range the thoughts, the matter to digest, to cull fit phrases, and reject the rest. - Charles Churchill

Such is the role of poetry. It unveils, in the strict sense of the word. It lays bare, under a light which shakes off torpor, the surprising things which surround us and which our senses record mechanically. - Jean Cocteau

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

Poetry must have something in it that is barbaric, vast and wild. - Denis Diderot

We read poetry because the poets, like ourselves, have been haunted by the inescapable tyranny of time and death; have suffered the pain of loss, and the more wearing, continuous pain of frustration and failure; and have had moods of unlooked-for release and peace. They have known and watched in themselves and others. - Elizabeth Drew

A poet in history is divine, but a poet in the next room is a joke. - Max Eastman

We must believe that "emotion recollected in tranquillity" is an inexact formula. For it is neither emotion, nor recollection, nor without distortion of meaning, tranquillity. It is a concentration, and a new thing resulting from the concentration of a very great number of experiences which to the practical and active person would not seem to be experiences at all; it is a concentration which does not happen consciously or of deliberation. These experiences are not "recollected" and they finally unite in an atmosphere which is "tranquil" only in that it is a passive attending upon the event. - T. S. Eliot

It does not need that a poem should be long. Every word was once a poem. Every new relationship is a new word. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words. - Paul Engle

The writing of a poem is like a child throwing stones into a mineshaft. You compose first, then you listen for the reverberation. - James Fenton

Poetry is at least an elegance and at most a revelation. - Robert Fitzgerald

Of all great poems, love is the absolute and essential foundation. - C. Fitzhugh

All one's inventions are true, you can be sure of that. Poetry is as exact a science as geometry. - Gustave Flaubert

Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat. - Robert Frost

I don't know a better preparation for life than a love of poetry and a good digestion. - Zona Gale

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

The poetry from the eighteenth century was prose; the prose from the seventeenth century was poetry. - David Hare

The poetical impression of any object is that uneasy, exquisite sense of beauty or power that cannot be contained within itself; that is impatient of all limit; that (as flame bends to flame) strives to link itself to some other image of kindred beauty or grandeur; to enshrine itself, as it were, in the highest forms of fancy, and to relieve the aching sense of pleasure by expressing it in the boldest manner. - William Hazlitt

No verse can give pleasure for long, nor last, that is written by drinkers of water. - Horace

Inside every man there is a poet who died young. - Stephan Kanfer

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

When power leads man towards 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


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