Tuesday, July 19, 2005


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

“A poem should not mean
But be.”
-- Archibald MacLeish

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

“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
-- Percy Byshe Shelley (1792-1822)

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

"Poetry is what gets lost in translation."
-- Robert Frost

“A poet must leave traces of his passage, not proof.”
-- Rene Char

“A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.”
-- Jean Cocteau, French writer

"As the poet said, 'Only God can make a tree' -- probably because it's so hard to figure out how to get the bark on."
-- Woody Allen

“A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself.”
-- E.M. Forster

"A poem is never finished, only abandoned."
-- Paul Valery (1871-1945)

"Poetry is many things to many people. For me, poetry is an epistemological bridge over the chasm that separates an individual and a truth. Poetry is a a nomadic destination, always only an inspiration away. Poetry is exploratory, probing intuitions and conditions. Poetry is also the shell the inspiration leaves behind as an identity navigational device."
-- Albert Emerson Unaterra (1952-2002), American writer

"In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite."
-- Paul Dirac (1902-1984)

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

“To be a poet is a condition, not a profession.”
-- Robert Frost, American poet

“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

“The poem... is a little myth of man's capacity of making life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see - it is, rather, a light by which we may see - and what we see is life.”
-- Robert Penn Warren, American poet

“You can tear a poem apart to see what makes it tick.... You're back with the mystery of having been moved by words. The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps... so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash or thunder in.”
-- Dylan Thomas, Irish poet

"When power leads man toward 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 his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses."
-- John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-63), 35th US President

“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
-- G.K. Chesterton

"A vein of poetry exists in the hearts of all men."
-- Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), British historian, essayist

"The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion, all in one."
-- John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

"The one man who should never attempt an explanation of a poem is its author. If the poem can be improved by it's author's explanations it never should have been published, and if the poem cannot be improved by its author's explanations the explanations are scarcely worth reading."
-- Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), American poet

1 comment:

Bob said...

These were great, especially the Woody Allen quote.