Poet Quotes

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Poet Quotes

We dwell with satisfaction upon the poets difference from his predecessors, especially his immediate predecessors; we endeavour to find something that can be isolated in order to be enjoyed. Whereas if we approach a poet without this prejudice we shall often find that not only the best, but the most individual parts of his work may be those in which the dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously. And I do not mean the impressionable period of adolescence, but the period of full maturity.
— T.S. Eliot —

Only the poet can look beyond the detail and see the whole picture.

— Helen Hayes

[John Clare's] father was a casual farm labourer, his family never more than a few days' wages from the poorhouse. Clare himself, from early childhood, scraped a living in the fields. He was schooled capriciously, and only until the age of 12, but from his first bare contact fell wildly in love with the written word. His early poems are remarkable not only for the way in which everything he sees flares into life, but also for his ability to pour his mingled thoughts and observations on to the page as they occur, allowing you, as perhaps no other poet has done, to watch the world from inside his head. Read The Nightingale's Nest, one of the finest poems in the English language, and you will see what I mean.
("John Clare, poet of the environmental crisis 200 years ago" in The Guardian.)

— George Monbiot

The poet must always, in every instance, have the vibrant word ... that by it's trenchancy can so wound my soul that it whimpers ... One must know and recognize not merely the direct but the secret power of the word; one must be able to give one's writing unexpected effects. It must have a hectic, anguished vehemence, so that it rushes past like a gust of air, and it must have a latent, roistering tenderness so that it creeps and steals one's mind; it must be able to ring out like a sea-shanty in a tremendous hour, in the time of the tempest, and it must be able to sigh like one who, in tearful mood, sobs in his inmost heart.

— Knut Hamsun

I had one week in the fall of 1996 where I was like, 'I'm America's greatest living teenage poet.'

— Garth Risk Hallberg

But here's the thing: what you do as a screenwriter is you sell your copyright. As a novelist, as a poet, as a playwright, you maintain your copyright.

— Beth Henley

When the poet makes his perfect selection of a word, he is endowing the word with life.

— John Drinkwater

Married or unmarried, young or old, poet or worker, you are still a dreamer, and will one time know, and feel, that your life is but a dream.

— Donald G. Mitchell

If you think your world isn't poetic enough, or exciting enough to tell a story about, that's not because it's a dull world, that's because you're not poet enough to wake its soul up.

— Rainer Maria Rilke

But for a few phrases from his letters and an odd line or two of his verse, the poet walks gagged through his own biography.

— John Updike

When a poet mentions the spring, we know that the zephyrs are about to whisper, that the groves are to recover their verdure, the linnets to warble forth their notes of love, and the flocks and herds to frisk over vales painted with flowers: yet, who is there so insensible of the beauties of nature, so little delighted with the renovation of the world, as not to feel his heart bound at the mention of the spring?

— Samuel Johnson

The best of our theater is standing on tiptoe, striving to see over the shoulders of father and mother. The worst is exploiting and wallowing in the self-pity of adolescence and obsessive keyhole sexuality. The way out, as the poet says, is always through.

— Arthur Miller

We're here to make a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why even be here? We're creating a completely new consciousness, like an artist or a poet. That's how you have to think of this. We're rewriting the history of human thought with what we're doing.

— Steve Jobs

I want to be a poet, from head to toe, living and dying by poetry.

— Federico Garcia Lorca

Two opposing forces inhabit the poem: one of elevation or up-rooting, which pulls the word from the language: the other of gravity, which makes it return. The poem is an original and unique creation, but it is also reading and recitation: participation. The poet creates it; the people, by recitation, re-create it. Poet and reader are two moments of a single reality.

— Octavio Paz

I think about the poet Rainer Maria Rilke who said that it's the questions that move us, not the answers. As a writer, I believe that it's our task, our responsibility, to hold the mirror up to social injustices that we see and to create a prayer of beauty. The questions serve us in that capacity.

— Terry Tempest Williams

A poem is made up of thoughts, each of which filled the whole sky of the poet in its turn.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

I became a poet at the age of sixteen. I did not intend to do it. It was not my fault.

— Margaret Atwood

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