497 Best Poetry Quotes

These are the best poetry quotes.

From empowering poetry quotes to compelling poetry quotes.

So if you want the best poetry quotes in one place, then this list is for you.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Powerful Poetry Quotes

Woman sitting with eyes closed meditating.

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

Leonard Cohen

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.

William Wordsworth

If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.

David Carradine

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.

Jean Cocteau

Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by singularity, it should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.

John Keats

Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.

Rita Dove

To read a poem is to hear it with our eyes; to hear it is to see it with our ears.

Octavio Paz

Poetry is the mother-tongue of the human race.

Johann Georg Hamann

Don’t call my lyrics poetry. It’s an insult to real poets.

Bernie Taupin

Money is a kind of poetry.

Wallace Stevens

There may be more poetry than justice in poetic justice.

George Will

Poetry is a criticism of life under the conditions fixed for such a criticism by the laws of poetic truth and poetic beauty.

Matthew Arnold

I don’t think I’ve ever read poetry, ever.

Eminem

Every age has its own poetry; in every age the circumstances of history choose a nation, a race, a class to take up the torch by creating situations that can be expressed or transcended only through poetry.

Jean-Paul Sartre

A grain of poetry suffices to season a century.

Jose Marti

The applause of his native land is the richest reward to which the patriot ever aspires. It is this for which ‘he bears to live or dares to die.’ It is the high incentive to those achievements which illustrate the page of history and give to poetry its brightest charm.

John Tyler

Against barbarity, poetry can resist only by confirming its attachment to human fragility like a blade of grass growing on a wall while armies march by.

Mahmoud Darwish

The trouble with us in America isn’t that the poetry of life has turned to prose, but that it has turned to advertising copy.

Louis Kronenberger

I come here to speak poetry. It will always be in the grass. It will also be necessary to bend down to hear it. It will always be too simple to be discussed in assemblies.

Boris Pasternak

Unfortunately, poetry is not born in noise, in crowds, or on a bus. There have to be four walls and the certainty that the telephone will not ring. That’s what writing is all about.

Wislawa Szymborska

Now, to read poetry at all is to have an ideal anthology of one’s own, and in that possession to be incapable of content with the anthologies of all the world besides.

William Ernest Henley

A lot of people feel that the realm of poetry and the realm of the lyric is personal feeling and should rise above politics, which, in fact, good poetry has never done.

Claudia Rankine

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

John Ashbery

I think that great poetry is the most interesting and complex use of the poet’s language at that point in history, and so it’s even more exciting when you read a poet like Yeats, almost 100 years old now, and you think that perhaps no one can really top that.

Diane Wakoski

Poetry had far better imply things than preach them directly… in the open pulpit her voice grows hoarse and fails.

F. L. Lucas

When Auden said his poetry didn’t save one Jew from the gas chamber, he’d said it all.

Tom Stoppard

I’m not sure about prizes. I don’t know how far you can seriously raise public consciousness about poetry. Having a ‘National Poetry Day,’ like a ‘No Smoking Day,’ is just shelving the problem. Things which should by rights be every day are not best served by these things.

John Fuller

Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.

Percy Bysshe Shelle
A huge lightning sparks over Denver city skyline at nighttime.

It is a happy thing that there is no royal road to poetry. The world should know by this time that one cannot reach Parnassus except by flying thither.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

We read Robert Browning’s poetry. Here we needed no guidance from the professor: the poems themselves were enough.

Carl Sandburg

If poetry alters the way in which the reader views the world, then it has had its desired effect.

John Barton

If you like the precision and concision of poetry, a page of prose is unsatisfying in a certain way. And poetry is so direct.

Helen Vendler

Poetry should be able to reach everybody, and it should be able to appeal to all levels of understanding.

Peter Davison

All poetry has to do is to make a strong communication. All the poet has to do is listen. The poet is not an important fellow. There will also be another poet.

Stevie Smith

Traditional matter must be glorified, since it would be easier to listen to the re-creation of familiar stories than to quite new and unexpected things; the listeners, we must remember, needed poetry chiefly as the re-creation of tired hours.

Lascelles Abercrombie

Memorable Poetry Quotes

Child's handprint engraved in concrete.

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.

T. S. Eliot

I have nothing to say, I am saying it, and that is poetry.

John Cage

The moment of change is the only poem.

Adrienne Rich

The crown of literature is poetry.

W. Somerset Maugham

If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.

Emily Dickinson

Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.

Marianne Moore

The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

Gilbert K. Chesterton

Poetry is the deification of reality.

Edith Sitwell

Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.

Thomas Gray

I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I’ll die like a poet.

Bob Dylan

Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during the moment.

Carl Sandburg
A magical door on the beach leading to the summer season.

We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words.

John Fowles

I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything.

Steven Wright

The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.

Jean Giraudoux

Wine is bottled poetry.

Robert Louis Stevenson

I like poems that are little games.

Peter Davison

Usually a life turned into a poem is misrepresented.

Mark Strand

Each memorable verse of a true poet has two or three times the written content.

Alfred de Musset

Always be a poet, even in prose.

Charles Baudelaire

Dancing is the poetry of the foot.

John Dryden

Auden said poetry makes nothing happen. But I wonder if the opposite could be true. It could make something happen.

Carol Ann Duffy

We all need ways to express ourselves, and poetry is one of mine.

Jack Prelutsky

Poetry is a call to action, and it also is action.

Juan Felipe Herrera

I’ve written some poetry I don’t understand myself.

Carl Sandburg

I don’t think I’ve ever read poetry, ever. I’m not really book-smart.

Eminem

I used to do poetry in elementary school. I used to just write.

Denzel Curry

Yet, it is true, poetry is delicious; the best prose is that which is most full of poetry.

Virginia Woolf

Art: If the object of poetry is, to make men, then poetry is the heir of prophecy.

Muhammad Iqbal

Poetry is adolescence fermented, and thus preserved.

Jose Ortega y Gasset

The sort of poetry I seek resides in objects man can’t touch.

E. M. Forster

Who writes poetry imbibes honey from the poisoned lips of life.

William Rose Benet

The cliche is dead poetry.

Gerald Brenan

She was the Judy Garland of American poetry.

James Dickey

There’s not a good poet I know who has not at the beck and call of his memory a vast quantity of poetry that composes his mental library.

Anthony Hecht

Heartfelt Poetry Quotes

Paper boat with smile sail at the beach in sunset.

Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings and making music with them.

Dennis Gabor

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.

Novalis

Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.

Carl Sandburg

Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.

Audre Lorde

You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you.

Joseph Joubert

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

Robert Frost

How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.

Robert Penn Warren

Poetry is that art which selects and arranges the symbols of thought in such a manner as to excite the imagination the most powerfully and delightfully.

William Cullen Bryant

Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.

Khalil Gibran

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds.

Percy Bysshe Shelley
Silhouette of a nightingale on a warm spring night.

If you read quickly to get through a poem to what it means, you have missed the body of the poem.

M. H. Abrams

Poetry should… should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.

John Keats

If my poetry aims to achieve anything, it’s to deliver people from the limited ways in which they see and feel.

Jim Morrison

All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.

Oscar Wilde

I intended an Ode, And it turned to a Sonnet.

Henry Austin Dobson

A poet can survive everything but a misprint.

Oscar Wilde

Poetry is a matter of life, not just a matter of language.

Lucille Clifton

You can find poetry in your everyday life, your memory, in what people say on the bus, in the news, or just what’s in your heart.

Carol Ann Duffy

Sunday is a likely day to write a poem. Because poetry is a piece of language flying around: you’ll find notebooks, something on your phone. It’s about finding them and getting them off that crumpled piece of paper and onto my computer.

Eileen Myles

Poetry is what we turn to in the most emotional moments of our life – when a beloved friend dies, when a baby is born or when we fall in love.

Erica Jong

Well, if this is poetry, I’m certainly never going to write any myself.

James Schuyler

The other side of it is that, despite all that, people reach out to poetry at the key moments in their lives.

Paul Muldoon

Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it.

Vincent Van Gogh

Nature Poetry Quotes

Close up of child's hands hugging a tree from behind.

He could not die when trees were green, for he loved the time too well.

John Clare

A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.

Jean Cocteau

One will never again look at a birch tree, after the Robert Frost poem, in exactly the same way.

Paul Muldoon

Writing criticism is to writing fiction and poetry as hugging the shore is to sailing in the open sea.

John Updike

The poetry of the earth is never dead.

John Keats

When I began to listen to poetry, it’s when I began to listen to the stones, and I began to listen to what the clouds had to say, and I began to listen to others. And I think, most importantly for all of us, then you begin to learn to listen to the soul, the soul of yourself in here, which is also the soul of everyone else.

Joy Harjo

In a meadow full of flowers, you cannot walk through and breathe those smells and see all those colors and remain angry. We have to support the beauty, the poetry, of life.

Jonas Mekas

Poetry is like a bird, it ignores all frontiers.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Living here on Earth, we breathe the rhythms of a universe that extends infinitely above us. When resonant harmonies arise between this vast outer cosmos and the inner human cosmos, poetry is born.

Daisaku Ikeda

Cotton was a force of nature. There’s a poetry to it, hoeing and growing cotton.

B. B. King

Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven!

Lord Byron

I have a deep and ongoing love of Iceland, particular the landscape, and when writing ‘Burial Rites,’ I was constantly trying to see whether I could distill its extraordinary and ineffable qualities into a kind of poetry.

Hannah Kent

Most people read poetry listening for echoes because the echoes are familiar to them. They wade through it the way a boy wades through water, feeling with his toes for the bottom: The echoes are the bottom.

Wallace Stevens
Woman in water at Lake Garda Italy at dusk

Poetry is the key to the hieroglyphics of nature.

David Hare

Fogs are like dreams that feed the soul, and without their mysterious embrace, childhood, courtship, poetry and the composition of music become all the more difficult.

Michael Leunig

On the other hand, if there’s an underlying core of poetry that I go to, I go to the sea. I’ve lived on the sea all my life. I live on the sea in Cape Breton.

Richard Serra

Romantic Poetry Quotes

Heart-shaped roses with stem rose arrow.

Making love is, simply put, poetry in motion.

Wale

What are the sources of poetry? Love and death and the paradox of love and death. All poetry from the beginning is about Eros and Thanatos. Those are the only subjects. And how Eros and Thanatos interweave.

Erica Jong

I’ve always felt that poetry was particularly erotic, more than prose was… I say that you read poems not with your eyes and not with your ears, but with your mouth. You taste it.

Donald Hall

I do not go in search of poetry. I wait for poetry to visit me.

Eugenio Montale

Poetry is not an art or a branch of art: it’s something more.

Joseph Brodsky

Romantic poetry had its heyday when people like Lord Byron were kicking it large. But you try and make a living as a poet today, and you’ll find it’s very different!

Alan Moore

Romance like a ghost escapes touching; it is always where you are not, not where you are. The interview or conversation was prose at the time, but it is poetry in the memory.

George William Curtis

I used to write sonnets and various things, and moved from there into writing prose, which, incidentally, is a lot more interesting than poetry, including the rhythms of prose.

Shelby Foote

A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman.

Wallace Stevens

Dark Poetry Quotes

Dark woods with a lonesome man walking on a foggy path.

The blood jet is poetry and there is no stopping it.

Sylvia Plath

Poetry is my cheap means of transportation. By the end of the poem the reader should be in a different place from where he started. I would like him to be slightly disoriented at the end, like I drove him outside of town at night and dropped him off in a cornfield.

Billy Collins

I don’t like the word ‘poetry,’ and I don’t like poetry readings, and I usually don’t like poets. I would much prefer describing myself and what I do as: I’m kind of a curator, and I’m kind of a night-owl reporter.

Tom Waits

Poetry can unleash a terrible fear. I suppose it is the fear of possibilities, too many possibilities, each with its own endless set of variations… With basketball, you can correct your own mistakes, immediately and beautifully, in midair.

Jim Carroll

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

Denis Diderot

You know that thing people say, ‘poetry is the hardest, stories are the second hardest, novels are the easiest?’ I’m here to tell you that novels are the hardest. Writing a novel is unbelievably difficult. It’s nightmarish.

Ethan Canin

I came to poetry through the urgent need to denounce injustice, exploitation, humiliation. I know that’s not enough to change the world. But to remain silent would have been a kind of intolerable complicity.

Tahar Ben Jelloun

The same people who are murdered slowly in the mechanized slaughterhouses of work are also arguing, singing, drinking, dancing, making love, holding the streets, picking up weapons and inventing a new poetry.

Raoul Vaneigem

There was no market for poetry about trauma, abuse, loss, love, and healing through the lens of a Punjabi-Sikh immigrant woman.

Rupi Kaur
Close-up on alcohol bottles and blurred drunk man in the background.

To be under occupation, to be under siege, is not a good inspiration for poetry.

Mahmoud Darwish

Piercing minds go mute around poetry. It is imagined to be overly technical, like advanced arithmetic; otherworldly, priestess-like; suffocatingly personal; excessively decorative; exhaustingly bourgeois or tiringly avant-garde.

Alissa Quart

I believe the death of Bobby Kennedy was in many ways the death of decency in America. I think it was the death of manners and formality, the death of poetry and the death of a dream.

Emilio Estevez

The major poets of New Jersey have all suffered, whether it’s Whitman, who lost his job for ‘Leaves of Grass,’ or William Carlos Williams, who was called a communist, or Ginsberg, whose ‘Howl’ was prosecuted, or myself. If you practise poetry the way I think it needs to be done, you’re going to put yourself in jeopardy.

Amiri Baraka

Poetry criticism at its worst today is mean in spirit and spiteful in intent, as if determined to inflict the wound that will spur the artist to new heights if it does not cripple him or her.

David Lehman

The mystic purchases a moment of exhilaration with a lifetime of confusion; and the confusion is infectious and destructive. It is confusing and destructive to try and explain anything in terms of anything else, poetry in terms of psychology.

Basil Bunting

Poetry is a release of something previously unknown into the visible. You write to invite that, to make of yourself a gathering of the unexpected and, with luck, of the unexpectable.

Jane Hirshfield

France is not poetic; she even feels, in fact, a congenital horror of poetry. Among the writers who use verse, those whom she will always prefer are the most prosaic.

Charles Baudelaire

Poetry operates by hints and dark suggestions. It is full of secrets and hidden formulae, like a witch’s brew.

Anthony Hecht

Inspirational Poetry Quotes

Young woman on grassland, arms outstretched with left hand holding balloons.

Poetry and beauty are always making peace. When you read something beautiful you find coexistence; it breaks walls down.

Mahmoud Darwish

In a war situation or where violence and injustice are prevalent, poetry is called upon to be something more than a thing of beauty.

Seamus Heaney

Meet some people who care about poetry the way you do. You’ll have that readership. Keep going until you know you’re doing work that’s worthy. And then see what happens. That’s my advice.

Philip Levine

History shows us that in times of people feeling like they are in need of some sort of rebellion or protests, the artists rise because the poetry we create about pain and its relationship to culture in the world begins to soothe and heal people who are feeling confused or afraid.

Lady Gaga

This career essentially chased me down while I was on the spoken-word scene in New York. I kept hearing that my delivery of my poetry – which was very personal and cathartic at the time- was very moving to folks. People thought that I was an actress because of my delivery, when I was just dropping into the work and really pouring out my soul.

Sonja Sohn

The idea that a poem was a made thing stayed with me, and I decided then that I wanted to be an artist, not just a diarist. So I put myself through a kind of apprenticeship in writing poetry, and I understood even then that my practice as a poet was deeply related to my reading.

Edward Hirsch

In a way I spend my entire life stealing from everything – from the past, from cities I love, from where I grew up – grabbing things, taking not only from architecture but from Italy, art, writing, poetry, music.

Renzo Piano

When I was in fourth grade, I started writing a lot of poetry, and eventually, someone in the church was like, ‘You should switch this over to rapping.’ I went home and did that – started putting my poems over rap.

Cupcakke

In all my work, in the movies I write, the lyrics, the poetry, the prose, the essays, I am saying that we may encounter many defeats – maybe it’s imperative that we encounter the defeats – but we are much stronger than we appear to be and maybe much better than we allow ourselves to be. Human beings are more alike than unalike.

Maya Angelou

With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion.

Edgar Allan Poe
Purpose Fuels Passion text engraved on old wooden signpost outdoors in nature.

You don’t have to be a renowned artist like Q-Tip to try your hand at poetry. You don’t need any special equipment – that’s the beauty of it.

Michelle Obama

I come from a short fiction background, and my mom is a poet, so I’ve always read poetry; I’ve always had a lot of different influences both linguistically and musically.

Lorde

Some people ask, ‘How do you attract the young and so many different people when your poetry is complicated and different?’ I say, ‘My accomplishment is that my readers trust me and accept my suggestions for change.’

Mahmoud Darwish

Too many people in the modern world view poetry as a luxury, not a necessity like petrol. But to me it’s the oil of life.

John Betjeman

Daydreaming is one of the key sources of poetry – a poem often starts as a daydream that finds its way into language – and walking seems to bring a different sort of alertness, an associative kind of thinking, a drifting state of mind.

Edward Hirsch

I went to what can only be described as a slum school in Salford – rough and full of trainee punks – but I was very lucky in that I had one inspiring teacher, John Malone, who gave the whole class an interest in romantic poetry.

John Cooper Clarke

Theater and poetry were what helped people stay alive and want to go on living.

Vanessa Redgrave

Poetry can’t cure cancer, but it can save your life until you die.

Maurice Saatchi

Learn poetry by heart. If you know a poem by heart, no one can take it away from you, and you can take advantage of it anytime.

Raymond Aubrac

But for me, being an editor I’ve been an editor of all kinds of books being an editor of poetry has been the way in which I could give a crucial part of my time to what I love most.

Peter Davison

I published, privately, a collection of my serious poetry I had written over the years. I only published 50 copies, which I gave to friends, in a special deluxe edition. It was ridiculously expensive but I’m glad that I did it.

Tom Glazer

Spiritual Poetry Quotes

Woman hands praying for blessing from God on sunset background.

My dream is that people will find a way back home, into their bodies, to connect with the earth, to connect with each other, to connect with the poor, to connect with the broken, to connect with the needy, to connect with people calling out all around us, to connect with the beauty, poetry, the wildness.

Eve Ensler

If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for the Creator, there is no poverty.

Rainer Maria Rilke

The fact of the matter is that the most unexpected and miraculous thing in my life was the arrival in it of poetry itself – as a vocation and an elevation almost.

Seamus Heaney

Poetry lies its way to the truth.

John Ciardi

There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.

John Cage

Reality only reveals itself when it is illuminated by a ray of poetry.

Georges Braque

I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.

Socrates

Any healthy man can go without food for two days – but not without poetry.

Charles Baudelaire

Every single soul is a poem.

Michael Franti

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

In the total darkness, poetry is still there, and it is there for you.

Abbas Kiarostami

Poetry comes from the highest happiness or the deepest sorrow.

A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Poetry begins where language starts: in the shadows and accidents of one person’s life.

Eavan Boland

To me, art begets art. Painting feeds the eye just as poetry feeds the ear, which is to say that both feed the soul.

Susan Vreeland

Poetry and prayer are very similar.

Carol Ann Duffy

To different minds, poetry may present different phases. To me, the reverent faith of the people I lived among, and their faithful everyday living, was poetry; blossoms and trees and blue shies were poetry. God himself was poetry.

Lucy Larcom

I see poetry as spiritual medicine.

Mahmoud Darwish

The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.

James Gates Percival

I see people who talk about America, and then undermine it by not paying attention to its soul, to its poetry. I see polarization, reductionism and superficiality.

Azar Nafisi

The completely solitary self: that’s where poetry comes from, and it gets isolated by crisis, and those crises are often very intimate also.

Seamus Heaney

Superstition is the poetry of life.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Many great works of art, poetry, and music are inspired by astral memories. The desire to do noble, beautiful things here on Earth is also often a carryover of astral experiences between a person’s earth lives.

Paramahansa Yogananda

Solitude is very important in my work as a mode of inspiration, but isolation is not good in this respect. I am not writing poetry about isolation.

Wislawa Szymborska

My favourite room in my house is easily the top room, which is a bedroom but also a bathroom, with a big, wooden carved bath, two huge fireplaces and a raised bit in the corner for performances. I’ve had some really lovely parties and poetry readings up there.

Deborah Moggach

The whole thing about making films in an organic film on location is that it’s not all about characters, relationships and themes, it’s also about place and the poetry of place. It’s about the spirit of what you find, the accidents of what you stumble across.

Mike Leigh
Behind the scenes shoot of an actress filming a movie on a luxury hotel location.

The sources of poetry are in the spirit seeking completeness.

Muriel Rukeyser

I believe that the short story is as different a form from the novel as poetry is, and the best stories seem to me to be perhaps closer in spirit to poetry than to novels.

Tobias Wolff

I like to write, I like to reflect, and not just poetry, I like to write my thoughts down. I think it’s good for people who are more introspective, and it helps me get a better understanding of myself.

J. J. Redick

We are looking to brands for poetry and for spirituality, because we’re not getting those things from our communities or from each other.

Naomi Klein

Well, I write a lot of poetry – that’s where it usually all starts. I definitely want to show you guys sides of me – love, loss, heartbreak – all of that good stuff!

Tristan Wilds

I wanted to write poetry almost a little more than I wanted to eat.

Paul Engle

Poetry was invented as an mnemonic device to enable people to remember their prayers.

Mary Oliver

I have experienced healing through other writers’ poetry, but there’s no way I can sit down to write in the hope a poem will have healing potential. If I do, I’ll write a bad poem.

Marilyn Hacker

Deep Poetry Quotes

Underwater with sun rays piercing through from the surface

Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry.

Muriel Rukeyser

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

Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

A poet’s work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.

Salman Rushdie

Poetry is what gets lost in translation.

Robert Frost

To know anything of a poet but his poetry is, so far as the poetry is concerned, to know something that may be entertaining, even delightful, but is certainly inessential.

John Drinkwater

Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original human mind. It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private.

Allen Ginsberg

‘Therefore’ is a word the poet must not know.

Andre Gide

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.

T. S. Eliot

No poems can please for long or live that are written by water drinkers.

Horace

It may be said that poems are in one way like icebergs: only about a third of their bulk appears above the surface of the page.

Howard Nemerov

Everyone thinks they’re going to write one book of poems or one novel.

Marilyn Hacker

But the gravest difficulty, and perhaps the most important, in poetry meant solely for recitation, is the difficulty of achieving verbal beauty, or rather of making verbal beauty tell.

Lascelles Abercrombie

I sometimes talk about the making of a poem within the poem.

Howard Nemerov

Clarity, clarity, surely clarity is the most beautiful thing in the world, A limited, limiting clarity I have not and never did have any motive of poetry But to achieve clarity.

George Oppen

Sometimes beauty is easy. Sometimes you don’t have to try at all. Sometimes you can hear the wind blow in a handshake. Sometimes there’s poetry written right on the bathroom wall.

Ani DiFranco

There is something about poetry beyond prose logic, there is mystery in it, not to be explained but admired.

Edward Young

I can recite poetry, but I cannot write it.

Irrfan Khan

Local images have one kind of reality. ‘U.S. 1’ will, I hope, have that kind and another, too. Poetry can extend the document.

Muriel Rukeyser

Poetry is life distilled.

Gwendolyn Brooks

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

Alchemy is the art of far and near, and I think poetry is alchemy in that way. It’s delightful to distort size, to see something that’s tiny as though it were vast.

Robert Morgan

I could no more define poetry than a terrier can define a rat.

A. E. Housman

The irony is, going to work every day became the subject of probably my best poetry.

Philip Levine

18th century opera is packed with emotion, but contains not a trace of kitsch. Only with the ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ of Victorian poetry does the disease begin to grow in our poetic tradition.

Roger Scruton

Thinking in its lower grades, is comparable to paper money, and in its higher forms it is a kind of poetry.

Havelock Ellis

The poetry of a people comes from the deep recesses of the unconscious, the irrational and the collective body of our ancestral memories.

Margaret Walker
Old man's hand holding an old family photo other childhood photos in the background.

I think poetry is as old as language, and both come out of the same thing – an effort to try to express something that is inexpressible.

W. S. Merwin

The decision to write in prose instead of poetry is made more by the readers than by writers. Almost no one is interested in reading narrative in verse.

Robert Morgan

That’s the way it is with poetry: When it is incomprehensible it seems profound, and when you understand it, it is only ridiculous.

Galway Kinnell

There is poetry even in prose, in all the great prose which is not merely utilitarian or didactic: there exist poets who write in prose or at least in more or less apparent prose; millions of poets write verses which have no connection with poetry.

Eugenio Montale

Poetry, it is often said and loudly so, is life’s true mirror. But a monkey looking into a work of literature looks in vain for Socrates.

Franz Grillparzer

So much of my poetry begins with something that I can describe in visual terms, so thinking about distance, thinking about how life begins and what might be watching us.

Tracy K. Smith

Children can write poetry and then, unless they’re poets, they stop when they reach puberty.

Dennis Potter

Women are treated as unjustly in poetry as in life. The feminine ones are not idealistic, and the idealistic not feminine.

Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

Nobody, I think, ought to read poetry, or look at pictures or statues, who cannot find a great deal more in them than the poet or artist has actually expressed. Their highest merit is suggestiveness.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

We don’t attempt to have any theme for a number of the anthology, or to have any particular sequence. We just put in things that we like, and then we try to alternate the prose and the poetry.

James Laughlin

I began my writing life as a poet, so poetry has always been fundamental. I evolved from poetry to journalism to stories to novels. But poetry was always there.

Ben Okri

In high school I was very much involved in poetry. You cannot read a poem quickly. There’s too much going on there. There are rhythms and alliterations. You have to read poetry slow, slow, slow to absorb it all.

Eugene H. Peterson

Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people.

Adrian Mitchell

Religion Poetry Quotes

An angel face-hidden bowing, sitting on a bench, heavenly light showering upon him.

The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world… to see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one.

John Ruskin

All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.

Edgar Allan Poe

We are supposed to write poetry to keep the gods alive.

Jim Harrison

Read something of interest every day – something of interest to you, not to your teacher or your best friend or your minister/rabbi/priest. Comics count. So does poetry. So do editorials in your school newspaper. Or a biography of a rock star. Or an instructional manual. Or the Bible.

Jane Yolen

He who has religion will speak poetry. But philosophy is the tool with which to seek and discover religion.

Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That’s what poetry does.

Allen Ginsberg

It is written on the arched sky; it looks out from every star. It is the poetry of Nature; it is that which uplifts the spirit within us.

John Ruskin

Only in dreams, in poetry, in play do we sometimes arrive at what we were before we were this thing that, who knows, we are.

Julio Cortazar

If poetry should address itself to the same needs and aspirations, the same hopes and fears, to which the Bible addresses itself, it might rival it in distribution.

Wallace Stevens

The Lord’s Prayer is the most perfect piece of poetry. I always feel at peace and moved when I recite it.

Mary Quant
Pink rose on an open Bible.

It is certainly true that writers take a stance at some variance from organized religion. This has not always been true. But since the romantic movement – and I’m referring now exclusively to poetry – the emphasis has been on the individual imagination defined against, rather than in terms of, any orthodoxy.

Eavan Boland

I sometimes wish I had been educated a Catholic, in order to unite the poetry of religion with its higher principles. Are they necessarily inseparable? Is man really so much of a philosopher, that he can conceive of truth in its abstract purity, and divest life and the affections of all the aids of the imagination?

James Fenimore Cooper

I have been enlightened. I have fallen into poetry and it has swallowed me up.

Keith Haring

I have never separated the writing of poetry from prayer. I have grown up believing it is a vocation, a religious vocation.

Derek Walcott

Poetry is for me Eucharistic. You take someone else’s suffering into your body, their passion comes into your body, and in doing that you commune, you take communion, you make a community with others.

Mary Karr

Religion is no more possible without prayer than poetry without language, or music without atmosphere.

James Martineau

God is the perfect poet.

Robert Browning

To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one.

John Ruskin

Thought-Provoking Poetry Quotes

Illustration of a light bulb with a red paper ball inside, symbolizing creative thinking.

Poetry comes alive to me through recitation.

Natalie Merchant

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

Emily Dickinson

Poetry must be made by all and not by one.

Comte de Lautreamont

One merit of poetry few persons will deny: it says more and in fewer words than prose.

Voltaire

Nonfiction speaks to the head. Fiction speaks to the heart. Poetry speaks to the soul. It’s the essence of beauty. The essence of pain. It pleases the eye and the ear.

Ellen Hopkins

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

I know my voice has a limited range of motion; I don’t write dramatic monologues and pretend to be other people. But so far, my voice is broad enough to accommodate most of what I want to put into my poetry. I like my persona; I often wish I were him and not me.

Billy Collins

Plagiarism has been around far longer than the Internet. In fact, I had a poem published in ‘Seventeen’ magazine when I was 15 years old. About a year later I was informed that there was a girl who used that same poem to win a statewide poetry competition in Alabama. It took months for people to put together that this had happened.

Megan McCafferty

I approach video games the same way I approach theatre, filmmaking, poetry, or painting. I wish more people would take that point of view. It would help the industry to move on.

David Cage

Queen Latifah was writing poetry. Maybe Latifah’s ‘Ladies First’ and Angelou’s ‘Phenomenal Woman’ are the same thing, a generation apart.

Jason Reynolds

Poetry is the universal language which the heart holds with nature and itself. He who has a contempt for poetry, cannot have much respect for himself, or for anything else.

William Hazlitt

I think there’s a certain poetry to having your body reflect what you feel inside of you. Perhaps you have a feeling that’s so pure, or overwhelming inside of you that your body disfigures to it – contortions match your confusion.

Arca

If poetry and the arts do anything, they can fortify your inner life, your inwardness.

Seamus Heaney

American poetry to me is a sort of relentless, nonstop sermon on human autonomy.

Joseph Brodsky

Nowadays, what an award gives is a sense of solidarity with the poetry guild, as it were: sustenance coming from the assent of your peers on the judging panel.

Seamus Heaney

Shakespeare was a man who wrote poetry. I’m a man who writes poetry. Why not compare yourself to the best?

Jay-Z

Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.

Percy Bysshe Shelley
Elderly couple hands touching at old pictures album at home.

Rap and spoken word have reawakened the country to poetry in itself. Texting and Twitter encourage creative uses of casual language, in ways I have celebrated widely. But we’ve fallen behind on savoring the formal layer of our language. John

McWhorter

I am two fools, I know, for loving, and for saying so in whining poetry.

John Donne

The olive branch has been consecrated to peace, palm branches to victory, the laurel to conquest and poetry, the myrtle to love and pleasure, the cypress to mourning, and the willow to despondency.Poetry is a call to action, and it also is action.

Dorothea Dix

Poetry is what we do to break bread with the dead.

Seamus Heaney

Beauty is not all there is of poetry. It must contain the truth. It is not simply an oak, rude and grand, neither is it simply a vine. It is both. Around the oak of truth runs the vine of beauty.

Robert Green Ingersoll

Opera combines pretty basic theater and poetry, but the storyline itself is actually quite poetic and, after some digital research, taking that actual content and seeing it as undeniably poetic.

John Darnielle

Poetry is not only a set of words which are chosen to relate to each other; it is something which goes much further than that to provide a glimpse of our vision of the world.

Tahar Ben Jelloun

In the language of poetry, where every word is weighed, nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone’s existence in this world.

Wislawa Szymborska

All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry.

Gilbert K. Chesterton

It’s not easy to define poetry.

Bob Dylan

When I am writing fiction, I believe I am much better organized, more methodical – one has to be when writing a novel. Writing poetry is a state of free float.

Margaret Atwood

Short fiction is the medium I love the most, because it requires that I bring everything I’ve learned about poetry – the concision, the ability to say something as vividly as possible – but also the ability to create a narrative that, though lacking a novel’s length, satisfies the reader.

Ron Rash

The gross heathenism of civilization has generally destroyed nature, and poetry, and all that is spiritual.

John Muir

I don’t look at poetry as closed works. I feel they’re going on all the time in my head and I occasionally snip off a length.

John Ashbery

Istanbul is inspiring because it has its own code of architecture, literature, poetry, music.

Christian Louboutin

The poetry that sustains me is when I feel that, for a minute, the clouds have parted and I’ve seen ecstasy or something.

Rita Dove

Everything is complicated; if that were not so, life and poetry and everything else would be a bore.

Wallace Stevens

I believe in the power of poetry, which gives me reasons to look ahead and identify a glint of light.

Mahmoud Darwish

Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away.

Carl Sandburg

Poetry is so vital to us until school spoils it.

Russell Baker

I chose poetry. Actually, poetry chose me.

Joy Harjo

I am for poetry that is admired by peasant and aristocrat alike.

F. Sionil Jose

Political Poetry Quotes

Blur unrecognizable crowd at political meeting,

Poetry is a political act because it involves telling the truth.

June Jordan

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 existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.

John F. Kennedy

Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.

Mario Cuomo

I don’t like political poetry, and I don’t write it. If this question was pointing towards that, I think it is missing the point of the American tradition, which is always apolitical, even when the poetry comes out of politically active writers.

Diane Wakoski

I’ve often said that all poetry is political. This is because real poems deal with a human response to reality and politics is part of reality, history in the making. Even if a poet writes about sitting in a glass house drinking tea, it reflects politics.

Yehuda Amichai
Confident businessmen drinking after work.

My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.

Wilfred Owen

Poetry is about the grief. Politics is about the grievance.

Robert Frost

Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.

Alice Walker

Poetry, I feel, is a tyrannical discipline. You’ve got to go so far so fast in such a small space; you’ve got to burn away all the peripherals.

Sylvia Plath

What is poetry which does not save nations or people?

Czeslaw Milosz

Poetry always, always, always is a key piece of democracy.

Eileen Myles

As for political poetry, as it’s usually defined, it seems there’s very little good political poetry.

Kenneth Koch

In politics, as in poetry, it is sometimes true that it is darkest before dawn.

Lawrence Summers

Civic poetry is public poetry. It is political poetry. It is about the hard stuff of life: money, crime, gender, corporate excess, racial injustice. It gives expression not just to our rites but also to our problems and even our values; these poems are not about rustic vacations.

Alissa Quart

Tyranny will make an entire population into readers of poetry.

Joseph Brodsky

Magna Carta has become totemic. It is in the comedy of Tony Hancock, in the poetry of Kipling, never far from the front pages in a constitutional crisis.

Melvyn Bragg

In these days of our new materialistic Irish state, poetry will have a harder, less picturesque task. But the loss of Yeats and all that boundless activity, in a country where the mind is feared and avoided, leaves a silence which it is painful to contemplate.

Austin Clarke

Passionate Poetry Quotes

A young female ballerina in perfect arabesque position.

A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.

W. H. Auden

As an actor, there is room for a certain amount of creativity, but you’re always ultimately going to be saying somebody else’s words. I don’t think I’d have the stamina, skill or ability to write a novel, but I’d love to write short stories and poetry, because those are my two passions.

Daniel Radcliffe

Pain is filtered in a poem so that it becomes finally, in the end, pleasure.

Mark Strand

A poem might be defined as thinking about feelings – about human feelings and frailties.

Anne Stevenson

Even when poetry has a meaning, as it usually has, it may be inadvisable to draw it out… Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure.

A. E. Housman

Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth.

Samuel Johnson

Love is the poetry of the senses.

Honore de Balzac

Nonfiction speaks to the head. Fiction speaks to the heart. Poetry speaks to the soul. It’s the essence of beauty. The essence of pain. It pleases the eye and the ear.

Ellen Hopkins

The first function of poetry is to tell the truth, to learn how to do that, to find out what you really feel and what you really think.

June Jordan

The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry.

Bertrand Russell

For thousands of years, poetry has been picturing love as a mysterious and tragic power. But when anyone says the same thing in plain prose, and adds that life would be colourless and poor without the great passions, then this is called immorality!

Ellen Key

Any reflection about poetry should begin, or end, with this question: who and how many read poetry books?

Octavio Paz

I had originally planned to do musical theatre and be on Broadway, but then my love for poetry also set in. Once that happened, I became torn between a career as an English teacher or a music teacher.

Khalid

I went through a phase of reading lots of Urdu poetry, thanks to the great transliterated versions that have become available.

Satya Nadella

I work with a lot of young people who have poems that are changing their lives, that they’re eager to talk about, but every now and then when I meet someone, maybe someone of my parents’ generation, and I tell them that I write poetry, they’ll begin to recite something that they memorized when they were in school that has never left them.

Tracy K. Smith

I write all the time – I write poetry, I love to write.

Colin Quinn

A lyric, it is true, is the expression of personal emotion, but then so is all poetry, and to suppose that there are several kinds of poetry, differing from each other in essence, is to be deceived by wholly artificial divisions which have no real being.

John Drinkwater

Most lyric poetry is about love, whether yearned after, fulfilled, or wistfully regretted; what isn’t tends to consist of laments and cris du coeur over this, that, and the other.

Michael Dirda

I’m happy to be a writer – of prose, poetry, every kind of writing. Every person in the world who isn’t a recluse, hermit or mute uses words. I know of no other art form that we always use.

Maya Angelou

I think one of the things that people tend to forget is that poets do write out of life. It isn’t some set piece that then gets put up on the shelf, but that the impetus, the real instigation for poetry is everything that’s happening around us.

Rita Dove

It is certain that at certain times talent entirely overcomes thought or poetry.

John Singer Sargent

A play is basically a long, formalistic polemic. You can write it without the poetry, and if you do, you may have a pretty good play. We know this because we see plays in translation. Not many people speak Norwegian or Danish or whatever guys like Ibsen spoke, or Russian – yet we understand Chekhov and the others.

David Mamet

I love poetry and I’ve kept everything I’ve written.

Neil Warnock

Art is a form of experience of the person, the place, the history of the people, and as black people, we are different. We hail from Africa to America, so the culture is mixed, from the African to the American. We can’t drop that. It’s reflected in the music, the dance, the poetry, and the art.

Faith Ringgold

I have been writing poetry ever since I was in high school. My poetry mainly concerned the theme of love. And that, of course, is an endless subject.

Robert Indiana

I’m pretty much all for poetry in public places – poetry on buses, poetry on subways, on billboards, on cereal boxes.

Billy Collins
Young beautiful couple in love kissing at the bus stop.

I love the simple poetry of theater, where you can stand in a spotlight on a stage and wrap a coat around you, and say, ‘It was 1860 and it was winter…’

Gary Oldman

I wanted to be a poet. I fell in love with poetry around eight years old, but not through literature. Instead, it came through hip-hop lyrics and my obsession with reading liner notes. Queen Latifah’s ‘Black Reign’ is the album that stands out the most.

Jason Reynolds

When you act, you’ve got to be like a poet or a musician. It’s not about evidence before court. It’s not a forensic subject. It’s poetry; it’s a completely different place.

Rhys Ifans

When the poet is in love, he is incapable of writing poetry on love. He has to write when he remembers that he was in love.

Umberto Eco

Writing dark poetry was always my escape.

Bishop Briggs

I knew what book we had to write, it was clear in my head; it was journals and poetry. So I passed on their offer. I told my agent this is our vision, and no one’s done it this way.

Kenny Loggins

The nerds are my favourite sort of boys – any guy with a passion – whether it be physics or film or writing or poetry even, I think it’s super sweet and it’s very attractive for a female.

Teresa Palmer

I would admit that poetry is something more than mere communication and that if that ‘something more’ could be abstracted from the whole, it might well prove to be that which makes the whole a poem.

Louis MacNeice

When you begin to write poems because you love language, because you love poetry. Something happens that makes you write poems. And the writing of poems is incredibly pleasurable and addictive.

C. K. Williams

They need to learn poetry. They don’t need to learn about poetry. They don’t need to be told how to interpret poetry. They don’t need to be told how to understand poetry. They need to learn it.

Peter Davison

I’m looking for a guy who makes you want to dance and write poetry all day long.

Angela Sarafyan

I’m a wizard at poetry.

Ghostface Killah

Poetry from the bottom up is an act of selection: you kind of feel your way through the crowds of poems. The good ones came forward a long time ago, and the bad ones fell away.

Eileen Myles

My mother carried on and supported us; her ambition had been to write poetry and songs.

Philip Levine

I think we will always have the impulse towards visual poetry with us, and I wouldn’t agree with Bly that it’s a bad thing. It depends on the ability of the individual poet to do it well, and to make a shape which is interesting enough to hold your attention.

James Laughlin

Music Poetry Quotes

Classical sheet music in elegant floral setting.

Poetry stands or falls by its music.

John Burnside

Poetry itself is music. I’m just lucky that I can convert it into music. William Blake is my favorite poet of all time, and he said that he wasn’t quite familiar with the sounds of music. If so, he would have been a musician. All of his poems are all like songs, and that’s how I always try to start my thoughts.

Benjamin Clementine

The flame that is naturally clear always gives the most light and heat. If I could blend my talent for poetry and music into one, the light would burn still clearer, and I might go far.

Robert Schumann

Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance… poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music.

Ezra Pound

I’m fascinated by rap and by hip-hop. I think there’s a lot of poetry in it. There’s a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it. And I think you’d better listen to it pretty carefully, ’cause it’s important.

John F. Kerry

The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.

Charles Baudelaire

Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart.

Andres Segovia

What can a pencil do for all of us? Amazing things. It can write transcendent poetry, uplifting music, or life-changing equations; it can sketch the future, give life to untold beauty, and communicate the full-force of our love and aspirations.

Adam Braun

One difference between poetry and lyrics is that lyrics sort of fade into the background. They fade on the page and live on the stage when set to music.

Stephen Sondheim

I try to show what it is about language and music that enthralls, because I think those are the two elements of poetry.

Rita Dove

To be born in Wales, not with a silver spoon in your mouth, but, with music in your blood and with poetry in your soul, is a privilege indeed.

Brian Harris

I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty.

Edgar Allan Poe

Poetry is this gorgeous, complex history rendered in verse and song, a blueprint that can lead you back into the world after you’ve walked into air.

Robin Coste Lewis

At the age when Bengali youth almost inevitably writes poetry, I was listening to European classical music.

Satyajit Ray

If we ask a vague question, such as, ‘What is poetry?’ we expect a vague answer, such as, ‘Poetry is the music of words,’ or ‘Poetry is the linguistic correction of disorder.’

A. R. Ammons

Conversation may be compared to a lyre with seven chords – philosophy, art, poetry, love, scandal, and the weather.

Anna Jameson

In general, the Arab world is an artistic hub that has such a variety, whether it be music, film, poetry.

Ramy Youssef

Music has a poetry of its own, and that poetry is called melody.

Joshua Logan

All I knew about Ethiopia was from a few records that I like, as well as what I read about the famine. But you get there and it’s another world. It’s filled with art and music and poetry and intellectuals and writers – all kinds of people.

Flea

The musician is perhaps the most modest of animals, but he is also the proudest. It is he who invented the sublime art of ruining poetry.

Erik Satie
Guitarist sitting in the sunset with his dog while playing his guitar.

Rap is poetry to music, like beatniks without beards and bongos.

David Lee Roth

The music just tends to be a vehicle for that poetry.

Mark Knopfler

There is no gender to my music. There’s no male or female voice, no trite lyrics or poetry. It’s much more abstract, so it lives with you longer.

Yanni

One of the disadvantages of poetry over popular music is that if you write a pop song, it naturally gets into people’s heads as they listen in the car. You don’t have to memorize a Paul Simon song; it’s just in your head, and you can sing along. With a poem, you have to will yourself to memorize it.

Billy Collins

Hip-hop is about the brilliance of pavement poetry.

Michael Eric Dyson

When superstition is allowed to perform the task of old age in dulling the human temperament, we can say goodbye to all excellence in poetry, in painting, and in music.

Denis Diderot

There’s a certain line between jokes and music and poetry that’s a bit blurred in my mind.

Bo Burnham

I listen to a lot of hip hop artists, and I think hip hop and poetry go hand in hand. The ‘Def Jam Poetry’ on HBO is just so sick to me.

J. J. Redick

Composers need words, but they do not necessarily need poetry. The Russian composer, Aleksandr Mossolov, who chose texts from newspaper small ads, had a good point to make. With revolutionary music, any text can be set to work.

James Fenton

When you’re doing poetry like mine that rhymes, it’s very easy to sound like a song that didn’t work out!

John Cooper Clarke

I thought we were gonna open up the world of poetry and music to all kinds of things, and yet, I can’t really think of anyone who’s done anything like it since.

Ray Manzarek

The creative act amazes me. Whether it’s poetry, whether it’s music, it’s an amazing process, and it has something to do with bringing forth the old out into the world to create and to bring forth that which will rejuvenate.

Joy Harjo

I found that it wasn’t so oddball to like music and poetry and visual arts, they’re kindred spirits.

J. Carter Brown

For awhile after you quit Keats all other poetry seems to be only whistling or humming.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

‘Finally’ actually started out as a poem. I always wrote poetry, and pretty soon I figured out that if I could write poems, I could write songs.

CeCe Peniston

I was in Paris at an English-language bookstore. I picked up a volume of Dickinson’s poetry. I came back to my hotel, read 2,000 of her poems and immediately began composing in my head. I wrote down the melodies even before I got to a piano.

Gordon Getty

I love all kinds of music. My dad’s from London, so he loves David Bowie, the Stones, The Clash. I grew up with that influence while loving poetry and loving all kinds of current music.

Adam Hicks

And my father was a comic. He could play any musical instrument. He loved to perform. He was a wonderfully comedic character. He had the ability to dance and sing and charm and analyze poetry.

Lynn Johnston

I wrote poetry, which got me into lyrics. Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Elton John pulled me into pop. I started singing with a band – just for fun – when I was 17. And pretty soon, I was thinking I could sing pop in English as well as Spanish.

Gloria Estefan

My junior high school teacher, Bennie Williams, was really more than a music teacher. She taught us poetry. She helped us put on school shows. She did all these kinds of things to help us stand in each other’s shoes, and it was a really powerful time. That’s when I discovered that I could sing.

Dianne Reeves

The sentences I write have their roots in song and poetry, and take their bearings from music and painting, as much as from the need to impart mere information, or mirror anything. I am not a realist writer, even if I seem like one.

Colm Toibin

Art works because it appeals to certain faculties of the mind. Music depends on details of the auditory system, painting and sculpture on the visual system. Poetry and literature depend on language.

Steven Pinker

First of all, I’m not a singer or rapper. I’m an artist. Besides singing, I produce music, dance, write poetry, and sometimes I paint as well.

Raftaar

For my part, if I consider poetry as an object, I maintain that it is born of the necessity of adding a vocal sound (speech) to the hammering of the first tribal music.

Eugenio Montale

You know, in my music career there was a moment where the irony was just so heavy. There were people in my audience that were the reason I developed neuroses. These people that tortured my life were using my art, my poetry, as fuel for them, to torture other people.

Fred Durst

When I was younger, I felt it was my duty to wake people up. I thought poetry was asleep. I thought rock ‘n’ roll was asleep.

Patti Smith

I wrote poetry before I wrote songs, and T.S. Eliot was my inspiration. I love his honesty and try to bring that to my own songwriting.

Gabrielle Aplin

Lyric poetry is, of course, musical in origin. I do know that what happened to poetry in the twentieth century was that it began to be written for the page. When it’s a question of typography, why not? Poets have done beautiful things with typography – Apollinaire’s ‘Calligrammes,’ that sort of thing.

James Fenton

‘Sunshine Superman’ was a pioneering work that for the first time presented a fusion of Celtic, jazz, folk, rock, and Indian music as well as poetry.

Donovan

Poems have a different music from ordinary language, and every poem has a different kind of music of necessity, and that’s, in a way, the hardest thing about writing poetry is waiting for that music, and sometimes you never know if it’s going to come.

C. K. Williams

I can’t understand Urdu, Bahasa or Russian, but when the Pakistani Faiz, the Indonesian Rendra and the Russian Rosdentvensky declaim, I can feel the living throb of rhythm and music, the warmth and passion of their poetry, as do the hundreds, not a mere roomful, of poetry lovers in the audience.

F. Sionil Jose

I was playing a singer-songwriter, so I started writing, and I started going up to different places around Los Angeles and reading poetry of my own, which terrified me, but I had to do it. I picked up a guitar and started learning guitar.

Inbar Lavi

Indians have a huge misconception when it comes to rap. It isn’t just about heavy beats; it is about poetry.

Ernst Haas

I don’t like political poetry, and I don’t write it. If this question was pointing towards that, I think it is missing the point of the American tradition, which is always apolitical, even when the poetry comes out of politically active writers.

Badshah

I have written some songs, but I would really call what I’ve done poetry at the end of the day, because I’ll sit with my guitar for hours and hours on end for, like, a week and then I won’t touch it for a month. I also just have no confidence. And you know what? I don’t have time, because I’d rather be doing other things, like knitting.

Amanda Seyfried

I have a band called M&O. We were working on our first album in 2011 or 2012. We were looking for people to collaborate with, and I met Chance through a Young Chicago Authors poetry slam.

Jamila Woods

I’m partial to epic poetry, which might be surprising given that I don’t write poetry at all. The combination of rollicking storytelling with musical language seems to me the highest achievement.

Jennifer Egan

I really liked ‘Blk Girl Art.’ It’s like a manifesto saying why I create, whether it’s poetry or music.

Jamila Woods

I’ve always written poetry and lyrics. My first husband, who was a musician, we wrote a bunch of songs together.

P. J. Soles

Slowly poetry becomes visual because it paints images, but it is also musical: it unites two arts into one.

Eugenio Montale
A young woman dancing on stage in arabesque-like position.

Jazz and poetry both involve a structure that may be familiar and to some extent predictable. And then, you try to create as much surprise and spontaneity and feeling and variation while respecting that structure.

Robert Pinsky

Poetry teaches us music, metaphor, condensation and specificity.

Walter Mosley

I’ve always been obsessed with the grain of the human voice. It’s the ultimate instrument, there’s this whole level of virtuosity and poetry, a sort of athleticism, of controlling your voice.

Oneohtrix Point Never

Whether you like modern incarnations of what country radio hits are, or you like what I’m doing, or you like something really off in folk, poetry Americana land, it’s all just music, man. If you like one of them, great – go buy it.

Chris Stapleton

That is what I did with Jack, and that’s why he liked to do the readings with me because he knew I was there for him, and for our ability to blend the poetry and the music.

David Amram

There is no piece of guitar music that has the formal beauty of a piano sonata by Mozart, or the richly worked out ideas and passion of a late Beethoven string quartet, or for that matter the beautiful mellifluous poetry of a Chopin Ballade.

Julian Bream

Rap is poetry set to music. But to me it’s like a jackhammer.

Bette Midler

I love painting and music, of course. I don’t know nearly as much about them as I know about poetry. I’ve certainly been influenced by fiction. I was overwhelmed by War and Peace when I read it, and I didn’t read it until I was in my late 20s.

Kenneth Koch

There is an urgent need for Americans to look deeply into themselves and their actions, and musical poetry is perhaps the most effective mirror available. Every newspaper headline is a potential song.

Phil Ochs

I guess the two Manifesto, Communicating Vessels, Mad Love, and some of his poetry made a significant mark on me but as far as bringing a literary element into the music I see it as a much broader assimilation.

Trevor Dunn

I have always written poetry but I have never applied it to songwriting.

Janine Turner

We’re all just animals. That’s all we are, and everything else is just an elaborate justification of our instincts. That’s where music comes from. And romantic poetry. And bad novels.

Elvis Costello

Empowering Poetry Quotes

A couple climbing up on a mountain, helping out each other.

Poetry is the experience of liberty. The poet risks himself, chances all on the poem’s all with each verse he writes.

Octavio Paz

The poetry you read has been written for you, each of you – black, white, Hispanic, man, woman, gay, straight.

Maya Angelou

I credit poetry for making this space-walk possible.

Seamus Heaney

The founding father of Albanian literature is the nineteenth-century writer Naim Frasheri. Without having the greatness of Dante or Shakespeare, he is nonetheless the founder, the emblematic character. He wrote long epic poems, as well as lyrical poetry, to awaken the national consciousness of Albania.

Ismail Kadare

At the beginning, there was no chance I’d get published so I thought I’d give it a go live. I had to perform in rock band places and working men’s clubs, where you wouldn’t expect to find poetry. I ploughed a lonely furrow.

John Cooper Clarke

Lizzie Magie was a pretty astonishing woman. She was an outspoken feminist, she had acted, she had done some performing, she had written some poetry, and she was a game designer.

Mary Pilon

Few rappers realize the genre sprang from West African griots through Delta slave songs to jazz poetry and the comedic trash talk of ‘the dozens.’

Quincy Jones

I got scouted for modeling on the street. I’m such a tomboy – still am. I just never thought about modeling before, but I thought, ‘Ooh, interesting, similar world, perhaps it’s a way into something.’ Then, I was on my third photo shoot ever, and Adam Leech from ‘Downtown Abbey’ saw me reading poetry and asked me to recite some.

Anya Taylor-Joy

I don’t think you can define how you acquire your imagination any more than you can define why one person has a sense of humor and another doesn’t. But I certainly would lean to the side that says all those solitary hours of daydreaming were a kind of training for poetry.

James Tate

Poetry is a street fighter. It has sharp elbows. It can look after itself. Poetry can’t be used for manipulation; it’s why you never see good poetry in advertising.

David Whyte
A boxer wraps his hand in preparation for a fight.

What I wrote all the time when I was a kid – I don’t want to call it ‘poetry,’ because it wasn’t poetry. I was not that kind of a writer. I was a rhymer. I was a fan of Dorothy Parker’s, so maybe I wrote poetry to that extent, but my main focus was the humor of it, and word construction, and the slant. Your words, it’s a very powerful experience.

Carrie Fisher

I think of myself as an ambassador of the arts. In my heart of hearts, I know the world would be a more peaceful, tender place if we were more moved by the poetry around us.

Tim Seibles

I’ve always had a love for poetry and when I got signed to a record label I thought, ‘How odd that I’m doing a record before a book of poetry,’

Jewel

I love poetry – just to read it and be around it.

Scott Glenn

I don’t think of poetry as a ‘rational’ activity but as an aural one. My poems usually begin with words or phrases which appeal more because of their sound than their meaning, and the movement and phrasing of a poem are very important to me.

Margaret Atwood

The beauty, the poetry of the fear in their eyes. I didn’t mind going to jail for, what, five, six hours? It was absolutely worth it.

Johnny Depp

For me, the power of the poetry in ‘Milk and Honey’ is the feeling you get after finished reading the poem. It’s the emotion you feel once you’ve read the last word, and that is only possible when the diction is easy, and you don’t get stuck on every other word, you don’t know what the word means.

Rupi Kaur

I write poetry, and I put it to a beat – I mean, that’s what they call rap.

Lakeith Stanfield

You just go where poetry is, whether it’s in your heart or your mind or in books or in places where there’s live poetry or recordings.

Joy Harjo

My art and poetry is very political now. Because you’ve got to find that truth within you and express yourself. Somewhere out there, I know, there will be people who will listen.

Jack Bowman

Poetry was my dirty little secret when I was a fiction writer at Iowa, and then fiction became my dirty little secret when I started writing more poetry and working for ‘Rookie’.

Jenny Zhang

Becoming interested in poetics got me interested in theater. Theater is supposed to be poetry, you know, before it’s anything else. It just doesn’t fly if it isn’t musical.

Steve Earle

When I was writing pretty poor poetry, this girl with midnight black hair told me to go on.

Carl Sandburg

Yes, I do write poetry. It’s very therapeutic. I’m influenced by Pablo Neruda and Gulzar Saab. It’s all very personal.

Vivek Oberoi

It’s always good when women win things in fiction because it tends to be more male-dominated, unlike poetry, which is more equal.

Carol Ann Duffy

Women do not have as great a need for poetry because their own essence is poetry.

Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel
A Japanese girl in a red kimono with a matching parasol, walking to the market.

As we produce work that becomes pure poetry, we impact and influence our teammates, we wow our suppliers, we inspire customers and strangers. And we lead our industry.

Robin S. Sharma

I would give anything to sing like Beyonce or Adele. I’ve said many times to my friends that if I could sing like them, I would give up poetry and writing.

Rupi Kaur

I think of myself as a poet. I grew up with poetic influences – what I know from my background is the bardic poetry, which came down through oral tradition.

Donovan

Poetry is the art which is technically within the grasp of everyone: a piece of paper and a pencil and one is ready.

Eugenio Montale

Poetry has, in a way, been my bridge to my acting career.

Omari Hardwick

I work on words, mostly, toward them being poetry or short stories, and then some of those become songs. They all find their place in the world, but they all start off in the same place. I’m always painting and drawing as well, and it’s an ongoing creative assignment.

P. J. Harvey

And at some point I would like to talk my publisher into doing an anthology of my poetry alongside some teen readers’ poetry. It would be fun, and really wonderful to get their stuff out there.

Ellen Hopkins

I guess the thing that I’m most proud of is that I kept on writing poetry. I understand that poetry is sort of the source of everything I do. It’s the source of my creativity.

Erica Jong

I want to branch out. I want to write. I write poetry. I want to see my children grow up well.

Annie Lennox

I believe that poetry should communicate.

William Jay Smith

I like the way words go together and I like the gamesmanship of writing poetry. It is such a challenge.

Jeffery Deaver

Emotional Poetry Quotes

Graphic abstract butterfly escapes an opening heart.

He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never written a line in all his life.

George Sand

A poem is never finished, only abandoned.

Paul Valery

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.

Robert Frost

Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them.

Charles Simic

Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.

Salvatore Quasimodo

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 emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.

T. S. Eliot

Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.

Plutarch
A girl painting outdoors on canvas at sunset.

It is the hour to be drunken! to escape being the martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk. On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.

Charles Baudelaire

The job of the poet is to render the world – to see it and report it without loss, without perversion. No poet ever talks about feelings. Only sentimental people do.

Mark Van Doren

Poetry is emotion put into measure. The emotion must come by nature, but the measure can be acquired by art.

Thomas Hardy

My father, Eric Trethewey, is a poet, so I had one right inside the house. And on long trips, he’d tell me, if I got bored in the car, to write a poem about it. And I did find that poetry was a way for me, I think as it is for a lot of people, to articulate those things that seem hardest to say.

Natasha Trethewey

A lot of ancient poetry sees in nature a reflection of human emotions, and in a post-industrialized era, once people have become more aware of the necessity of a more harmonious relation between man and nature, we need to build cities which can connect with human spiritual needs instead of being merely functional.

Ma Yansong

Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.

T. S. Eliot

We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.

William Butler Yeats

The business of the poet is not to find new emotions, but to use the ordinary ones and, in working them up into poetry, to express feelings which are not in actual emotions at all.

T. S. Eliot

In poetry, you must love the words, the ideas and the images and rhythms with all your capacity to love anything at all.

Wallace Stevens

If our hearts are ready for anything, we are touched by the beauty and poetry and mystery that fill our world.

Tara Brach

I saw the gooseflesh on my skin. I did not know what made it. I was not cold. Had a ghost passed over? No, it was the poetry.

Sylvia Plath

The great function of poetry is to give back to us the situations of our dreams.

Gaston Bachelard

I liked Yeats! That wild Irishman. I really loved his love of language, his flow. His chaotic ideas seemed to me just the right thing for a poet. Passion! He was always on the right side. He may be wrongheaded, but his heart was always on the right side. He wrote beautiful poetry.

Chinua Achebe

I want to promote poetry to the point where you got all the baldhead kids running around doing poetry, getting the music out of the way and having only words, the spoken word, and then see what happens.

Russell Simmons

Sometimes poetry, it is incomprehensible. But we need incomprehensible stuff! It is very healthy to talk about incomprehensible things! It is very healthy! We need it!

Roberto Benigni

I define poetry as celebration and confrontation. When we witness something, are we responsible for what we witness? That’s an on-going existential question. Perhaps we are and perhaps there’s a kind of daring, a kind of necessary energetic questioning. Because often I say it’s not what we know, it’s what we can risk discovering.

Yusef Komunyakaa

For me, movies and television are interesting because they are the dominant storytelling form of our time. My first love will always be fiction, and especially novels, but I’m a writer… I write poetry and essays and criticism and I’d love to write a whole play, and sometimes I even write scripts.

Jess Walter
Silhouette of group of people working in a big production studio for filming.

I think it comes from really liking literary forms. Poetry is very beautiful, but the space on the page can be as affecting as where the text is. Like when Miles Davis doesn’t play, it has a poignancy to it.

Jim Jarmusch

Poetry is the utterance of deep and heart-felt truth – the true poet is very near the oracle.

Edwin Hubbel Chapin

What does that represent? There was never any question in plastic art, in poetry, in music, of representing anything. It is a matter of making something beautiful, moving, or dramatic – this is by no means the same thing.

Fernand Leger

And how can poetry stand up against its new conditions? Its position is perfectly precarious.

John Crowe Ransom

I don’t think you can read poetry while you’re watching television very well.

Edward Hirsch

Anyone who regards poetry as an entertainment, as a ‘read,’ commits an anthropological crime, in the first place against himself.

Joseph Brodsky

Poetry is composing for the breath.

Peter Davison

There are so many things that poetry is about, one of which is memory.

Peter Davison

Journalism is concerned with events, poetry with feelings. Journalism is concerned with the look of the world, poetry with the feel of the world.

Archibald MacLeish

Photography, painting or poetry – those are just extensions of me, how I perceive things; they are my way of communicating.

Viggo Mortensen

Poetry is a sort of homecoming.

Paul Celan

Relationship Poetry Quotes

Close-up of a man and a woman's joining together with sunlight flare in the background.

Marriage – a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters in prose.

Beverley Nichols

Poetry is above all a concentration of the power of language, which is the power of our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe.

Adrienne Rich

Poetry is always slightly mysterious, and you wonder what is your relationship to it.

Seamus Heaney

My mother asked me what I wanted for my birthday, so I said I wanted to read poetry with her.

Guy Johnson

Poetry gives us courage and sets us straight with the world. Poems are great companions and friends.

David Whyte

Poetry and music are very good friends. Like mommies and daddies and strawberries and cream – they go together.

Nikki Giovanni

It’s something we, guys, have all done. Made tapes for girls, trying to impress them, to meet them on a shared plane of aesthetics. Read them someone else’s poetry because they do poetry better than you could do it, because you’re too awkward to do it.

John Cusack

Before people complain of the obscurity of modern poetry, they should first examine their consciences and ask themselves with how many people and on how many occasions they have genuinely and profoundly shared some experience with another.

W. H. Auden

When I was nine, the teacher asked us to write a piece about our village fete. He read mine in class. I was encouraged and continued. I even wanted to write my memoirs at the age of ten. At twelve I wrote poetry, mostly about friendship – ‘Ode to Friendship.’ Then my class wanted to make a film, and one little boy suggested that I write the script.

Eugene Ionesco

Real friendship, like real poetry, is extremely rare – and precious as a pearl.

Tahar Ben Jelloun

Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.

Virginia Woolf

There’ll always be working people in my poems because I grew up with them, and I am a poet of memory.

Philip Levine

Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.

Carl Sandburg

‘Dead Poets Society’ was a very influential film on me and so talking about that movie with him, he just inspired me to continue writing poetry and we talked a lot about our favourite poets. My wrap present from Robin was a beautiful limited edition copy of Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’ and that’s a great memory for me.

Dante Basco

Reflective Poetry Quotes

Crystal balls reflecting the ocean and the sky.

What a great poem teaches you – and it’s not intellectual at all – is the resonance in the language that’s heard there. This goes back to the very origins of poetry and to the very origins of language.

W. S. Merwin

I think the novel is not so much a literary genre, but a literary space, like a sea that is filled by many rivers. The novel receives streams of science, philosophy, poetry and contains all of these; it’s not simply telling a story.

Jose Saramago

I am an artist, you understand? For me, a picture is like poetry. When you make art, this is not coming from an intellectual place. It’s coming from the deep side of your unconscious, your soul.

Alejandro Jodorowsky

I grew up in a bookless house – my parents didn’t read poetry, so if I hadn’t had the chance to experience it at school I’d never have experienced it. But I loved English, and I was very lucky in that I had inspirational English teachers, Miss Scriven and Mr. Walker, and they liked us to learn poems by heart, which I found I loved doing.

Carol Ann Duffy

Poetry helps me understand who I am. It helps me understand the world around me. But above all, what poetry has taught me is the fact that I need to embrace mystery in order to be completely human.

Yusef Komunyakaa

In the television age, the key distinction is between the candidate who can speak poetry and the one who can only speak prose.

Richard M. Nixon

I think that concrete poetry seems to have, as far as I can see, come to a kind of a dead end. It doesn’t seem to be going any further than it went in its high period of about five or six years ago.

James Laughlin

Poetry involves the mysteries of the irrational perceived through rational words.

Vladimir Nabokov

I have been in love with Emily Dickinson’s poetry since I was 13, and, like an anonymous post on findagrave.com says, ‘Dear Emily – I hope I have understood.’ Emily’s poems are sometimes difficult, often abstract, on occasion flippant, but her mind is inside them.

Helen Oyeyemi

I was already writing poetry, so I transitioned from writing poetry a cappella to writing over beats, and it was way more exciting to me that way.

Saweetie

I’m a storyteller: the crux of the matter is to reach beauty, poetry; it doesn’t matter if that is comedy or tragedy. They’re the same if you reach the beauty.

Roberto Benigni
Romeo and Juliet engraved in bronze metal art.

I think poetry can help children deal with the other subjects on the curriculum by enabling them to see a subject in a new way.

Carol Ann Duffy

I think the poetry that came out of Belfast, and especially the Queen’s University set, in the 1970s and ’80s – you know, Paul Muldoon and Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon and Ciaran Carson – that was probably the finest body of work since the Gaelic renaissance, up there with the work of Yeats and Synge and Lady Gregory.

Adrian McKinty

The office of poetry is not to make us think accurately, but feel truly.

Frederick William Robertson

That’s one of the great things about poetry; one realises that one does one’s little turn – that you’re just part of the great crop, as it were.

Paul Muldoon

I’ve written poetry since I was a kid. As the years went on, I got into writing stories and screenplays, but I always, always kept up with poetry as well.

Blake Jenner

I think that one possible definition of our modern culture is that it is one in which nine-tenths of our intellectuals can’t read any poetry.

Randall Jarrell

Usually, I am a compulsive person, and I need – sometimes urgently – to paint… Painting is close to poetry, is a kind of poetry expressed visually. It has to be spontaneous, rapid – at least in my case.

Etel Adnan

I always thought millennials are going westward, and they probably won’t understand vernacular poetry.

Ayushmann Khurrana

Poetry is not easy. Or should I say, real poetry is not easy.

Robert Pinsky

I have always used a great variety of verse forms, especially in my poetry for children. I believe that poetry begins in childhood and that a poet who can remember his own childhood exactly can, and should, communicate to children.

William Jay Smith

Poetry is not a genre in harmony with the modern world; its innermost nature is hostile or indifferent to the dogmas of modern times, progress and the cult of the future.

Octavio Paz

I had a million jobs before I managed to make a living out of poetry.

John Cooper Clarke

Often people, when they’re confronted with a poem, it’s like someone who keep saying ‘what is the meaning of this? What is the meaning of this?’ And that dulls us to the other pleasures poetry offers.

Billy Collins

My poems tend to be more celebratory and lyrical, and the novels so far pretty dark. Poetry doesn’t seem to me to be an appropriate tool for exploring that.

John Burnside

I began the way nearly everybody I ever heard of – I began writing poetry. And I find that to be quite usual with writers, their trying their hand at poetry.

Shelby Foote

For an American, there’s no automatic place where people love the art of poetry. There’s not a social class that considers poetry its property the way in some countries there’s a snob value to the art.

Robert Pinsky

I have not the slightest pretension to call my verses poetry; I write now and then for no other purpose than to relieve depression or to improve my English.

Alfred Nobel

There’s a fierce practicality and empiricism which the whole imaginative, lyrical aspect of poetry comes from.

David Whyte

All good poetry is forged slowly and patiently, link by link, with sweat and blood and tears.

Lord Alfred Douglas

Now I think poetry will save nothing from oblivion, but I keep writing about the ordinary because for me it’s the home of the extraordinary, the only home.

Philip Levine

The techniques of contemporary poetry are probably the techniques of your daily life. I don’t know a single person who goes into the grocery store and thinks in complete sentences. We often think in fragments, we think in little lists, we think in non-sequiturs, we think in feelings that may not match up with each other.

Brenda Hillman

Poetry is not an issue of form and enjambments. Poetry, as the word is classically used, has to do with sound and sense. It can be rhyme. It can be rhythm, pace, breath.

Tim O’Brien

When I was in college, I wrote poetry very seriously, and then once I had started writing short stories, I didn’t go back to poetry, partially because I felt like I understood how incredibly difficult it was.

Elizabeth McCracken

That’s another pompous expression that is out of fashion, to say that poetry is a gift. It sounds pompous because you say, ‘Who gave you the gift, and what is this gift?’ And the gift is where I am; the gift is what I have come out of, the people around me who, I think, are beautiful people.

Derek Walcott

I think of something quite different from a snapshot. I know of a lot of poems, some very fine ones, that are like snapshots, but I’m more interested in poetry that is like an endless film, long stories, things that weave together many different strands, like a big piece of cloth, not like a photograph.

Robert Bringhurst

Lamantia is faith building, encouraging poetry in that it abstractly hugs you by finally capturing the inexpressible. It’s an experience similar to relief, reading his poems.

Weyes Blood
A girl reading while sitting on wooden lake plank.

Cut quarrels out of literature, and you will have very little history or drama or fiction or epic poetry left.

Robert Staughton Lynd

So it is in poetry. All we ask is that the mood recorded shall impress us as having been of the kind that exhausts the imaginative capacity; if it fails to do this the failure will announce itself either in prose or in insignificant verse.

John Drinkwater

As anthropomorphic and surreal people have said my early writing was, to me it was really stock and almost banal in the sense that it was just description, the poetry of comparing: ‘Your feet are like A, and your eyes like B.’

Devendra Banhart

I’m about 75 pages into a book on poetry. I don’t know if anybody wants to read it. It’s on any broad variety of subjects. I walk down the street and think of a topic and jot it down and say, ‘Okay, that’s another one.’ They go from the humorous to the serious to every topic imaginable.

Marv Levy

I am a patriot, but I must say that English poetry is the richest in the world.

Joseph Brodsky

Poetry is a mixture of common sense, which not all have, with an uncommon sense, which very few have.

John Masefield

To me, poetry is spoken – not exclusively, but there’s a mix of languages in it. That’s what I liked about ‘For the Confederate Dead;’ it has many different tones to it.

Kevin Young

No, what I should really like to do right now, in the full blaze of lights, before this illustrious assembly, is to shower every one of you with gifts, with flowers, with offerings of poetry – to be young once more, to ride on the crest of the wave.

Knut Hamsun

True poetry is similar to certain pictures whose owner is unknown and which only a few initiated people know.

Eugenio Montale

There is no one more deserving of a place in Poets’ Corner. Ted Hughes introduced a new kind of landscape into English poetry. The most compelling aspect of his work was his intimacy with nature.

Derek Walcott

I cannot speak for more than an hour exclusively about poetry. At that point, life itself takes over again.

Wislawa Szymborska

I guess I wanted to leave America for awhile. It wasn’t that I wanted to become an expatriate, or just never come back, I needed some breathing room. I’d already been translating French poetry, I’d been to Paris once before and liked it very much, and so I just went.

Paul Auster

I think poetry is best read to oneself.

Rickie Lee Jones

I’ve been writing a lot of poetry recently. It helps me think and work things out.

Ed Westwick

Melancholic Poetry Quotes

Sad woman looking through a misty car window.

What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music.

Soren Kierkegaard

You don’t have to suffer to be a poet; adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.

John Ciardi

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been interested in the poetry of melancholy, if you like.

Steven Wilson

Writing a book of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.

Don Marquis

There’s a reason poets often say, ‘Poetry saved my life,’ for often the blank page is the only one listening to the soul’s suffering, the only one registering the story completely, the only one receiving all softly and without condemnation.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

When I get depressed, I try to get something for the terrible sadness that comes over me and create something in terms of poetry.

Spike Milligan

My obsession with time informs my poetry so completely it is hard for me to summarize it. We want time to pass, for new things to happen to us, we want to hold on to certain moments, we don’t want our lives to end.

John Barton

Poetry fettered, fetters the human race. Nations are destroyed or flourish in proportion as their poetry, painting, and music are destroyed or flourish.

William Blake

I find a lot of poetry to be narcissistic.

Joni Mitchell

I don’t want to bury anything in poetry.

Sharon Van Etten

After a couple of years of public high school, I went to Exeter – an insane conglomeration of adolescent males in the wilderness, all of whom claimed to hate poetry.

Donald Hall

If I’m feeling desperate, I’ll go out image-hunting. I’ll go to news agents and stand at the rack flicking through magazines or go to second-hand bookshops. And then, bit by bit, like concrete poetry, I start to realise that I am drawn to particular things, and then I start wondering why that is.

Gary Hume

Society’s dark hull drifts further and further away. It is this place – the place of our separation, our distinction – that much of his poetry occupies.

Tomas Transtromer

I think if a poet wanted to lead, he or she would want the message to be unequivocally clear and free of ambiguity. Whereas poetry is actually the home of ambiguity, ambivalence and uncertainty.

Billy Collins

None but a poet can write a tragedy. For tragedy is nothing less than pain transmuted into exaltation by the alchemy of poetry.

Edith Hamilton

I was influenced by surrealist poetry and painting as were thousands of other people, and it seems to me to have become a part of the way I write, but it’s not.

Kenneth Koch
A surreal woman is looking at a giant bulb containing a tree.

My friends never talk to me about my poetry because they’re embarrassed that I write it or they’re embarrassed by what I write about which are not such extraordinarily terrifying things, but they are the state of human existence.

Peter Davison

I think poetry has lost an awful lot of its muscle because nobody knows any. Nobody has to memorize poetry.

Peter Davison

I think that is where poetry reading becomes such an individual thing. I mean I have a friend who likes poets who just don’t say anything to me at all, I mean they seem to me rather ordinary and pedestrian.

James Laughlin

The novel is born of disillusionment; the poem, of despair.

Jose Bergamin

Stunning Poetry Quotes

Winter landscape with sunlight piercing through the forest.

No poem is easily grasped; so why should any reader expect fast results?

John Barton

A poem can have an impact, but you can’t expect an audience to understand all the nuances.

Douglas Dunn

Each word bears its weight, so you have to read my poems quite slowly.

Anne Stevenson

Wanted: a needle swift enough to sew this poem into a blanket.

Charles Simic

Poetry, fiction as novels or short stories – these are autonomous as created by their authors. They should stand on their own, like pieces of furniture that should be judged as to their usefulness, elegance.

F. Sionil Jose

And New York is the most beautiful city in the world? It is not far from it. No urban night is like the night there… Squares after squares of flame, set up and cut into the aether. Here is our poetry, for we have pulled down the stars to our will.

Ezra Pound

Poetry is at least an elegance and at most a revelation.

Robert Fitzgerald

To design is much more than simply to assemble, to order, or even to edit: it is to add value and meaning, to illuminate, to simplify, to clarify, to modify, to dignify, to dramatize, to persuade, and perhaps even to amuse. To design is to transform prose into poetry.

Paul Rand

Poetry is simply the most beautiful, impressive, and widely effective mode of saying things.

Matthew Arnold

Eloquence is the poetry of prose.

William Cullen Bryant

I learn poetry, learn text, and that really keeps you alive.

Anthony Hopkins

More modern poetry is written than read.

P. J. O’Rourke

Listen, real poetry doesn’t say anything; it just ticks off the possibilities. Opens all doors. You can walk through any one that suits you.

Jim Morrison

Teach your children poetry; it opens the mind, lends grace to wisdom and makes the heroic virtues hereditary.

Walter Scott

Perhaps no person can be a poet, or even enjoy poetry, without a certain unsoundness of mind.

Thomas Babington Macaulay

I’ve never written poetry. I’m not a poet, but I think the nearest you get is either the short story or the novella, in that you can’t waste a word. There is no hiding place: everything’s got to be seen to relate, and the prose counts.

Susan Hill

Naming a baby is an act of poetry, for many people the only creative moment of their lives.

Richard Eyre
Paper stickers with different names on blue wooden background.

I wish our clever young poets would remember my homely definitions of prose and poetry; that is, prose = words in their best order; – poetry = the best words in the best order.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

One night, I lay awake for hours, just terrified. When the dawn finally came up – the comfortable blue sky, the familiar world returning – I could think of no other way to express my relief than through poetry. I made a decision there and then that it was what I wanted to do. Every time I pulled a wishbone, it was what I asked for.

Alice Oswald

What she did was to open our eyes to details of country life such as teaching us names of wild flowers and getting us to draw and paint and learn poetry.

Laurie Lee
A silhouette of a child in the arms of his loving mother watching the sunset.

Without touching my subject I want to come to the moment when, through pure concentration of seeing, the composed picture becomes more made than taken. Without a descriptive caption to justify its existence, it will speak for itself – less descriptive, more creative; less informative, more suggestive – less prose, more poetry.

Ernst Haas

When you write poetry you are always addressing the world somehow.

John Cooper Clarke

How can any one paint who cannot grade colors? How can any one write poetry who has not learnt to hear and see?

Maria Montessori

Well you can’t teach the poetry, but you can teach the craft.

David Hockney

Poetry is a domestic art, most itself when most at home.

Seamus Heaney

What we know is that Shakespeare wrote perhaps the most remarkable body of passionate love poetry in the English language to a young man.

Stephen Greenblatt

Every now and then I read a poem that does touch something in me, but I never turn to poetry for solace or pleasure in the way that I throw myself into prose.

J. K. Rowling

To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry.

John Holmes

Conventional wisdom notwithstanding, there is no reason either in football or in poetry why the two should not meet in a man’s life if he has the weight and cares about the words.

Archibald MacLeish

In the past, poetry came in the form of spells and chants used to effect change.

John Barton

Hence poetry is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are rather of the nature of universals, whereas those of history are singulars.

Aristotle

The drama is complete poetry. The ode and the epic contain it only in germ; it contains both of them in a state of high development, and epitomizes both.

Victor Hugo

Poetry is a beautiful way of spoiling prose, and the laborious art of exchanging plain sense for harmony.

Horace Walpole

Poetry is meant to be heard.

Mary Oliver

Any long work in which poetry is persistent, be it epic or drama or narrative, is really a succession of separate poetic experiences governed into a related whole by an energy distinct from that which evoked them.

John Drinkwater

Poetry is its own medium; it’s very different than writing prose. Poetry can talk in an imagistic sense, it has particular ways of catching an environment.

Story Musgrave

Poetry and lyrics are very similar. Making words bounce off a page.

Taylor Swift

Poetry carries the imagery which is large enough for the kind of life we want for ourselves.

David Whyte

Dealing with poetry is a daunting task, simply because the reason one does it as an editor at all is because one is constantly coming to terms with one’s own understanding of how to understand the world.

Peter Davison

If a line of poetry strays into my memory, my skin bristles so that the razor ceases to act.

A. E. Housman

If the object of poetry is, to make men, then poetry is the heir of prophecy.

Muhammad Iqbal

Poetic talent doesn’t operate in a vacuum. There is a spirit of Polish poetry.

Wislawa Szymborska

Poetry at its best can do you a lot of harm.

Sylvia Plath

Every American poet feels that the whole responsibility for contemporary poetry has fallen upon his shoulders, that he is a literary aristocracy of one.

W. H. Auden

In poetry everything which must be said is almost impossible to say well.

Paul Valery

Poetry is what Milton saw when he went blind.

Don Marquis

There’s always a need at a critical time for poetry.

Derek Walcott

We simply have not kept in touch with poetry.

Paul Muldoon

I like cups of tea and reading books and poetry and old people things.

Bindi Irwin

There’s a great deal of poetry in working out how things work, cutting bits of metal, trying to mend stuff.

James May

Prose, poetry, and drawings stand side by side in a very democratic way in my work.

Gunter Grass

Education Poetry Quotes

A tree growing from a book signifying knowledge and education for a bright future.

Versatility of education can be found in our best poetry, but the depth of mankind should be found in the philosopher.

Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

People think of poetry as a school subject… Poetry is very frustrating to students because they don’t have a taste for ambiguity, for one thing. That gives them a poetry hangover.

Billy Collins

Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.

Aristotle

Research such as ours is driven by the human imperative to understand where we are. It motivates the study of our positions in family, or in society, or on earth. The results may be termed geology, or sociology, or poetry.

Jim Peebles

I see architecture not as Gropius did, as a moral venture, as truth, but as invention, in the same way that poetry or music or painting is invention.

Michael Graves

When I began, poetry was very academic. You published little pamphlets from fancy presses. It was rather… chaste. There wasn’t much public reading. Then there was poetry and jazz, which I don’t think worked, though I love jazz.

John Fuller

I started reading seriously after I was in college. I read comic books. I read every ‘Power Man’ and ‘Iron Fist’ that ever came out. I had a teacher introduce me to poetry, and that kind of woke me up.

Ross Gay

San Diego shaped me a lot. The visual landscapes, the emotional panoramas, the teachers and mentors I had from the third grade through San Diego High – it’s all a big part of the poetry fountain that I continue to drink from.

Juan Felipe Herrera

So I suppose poetry, language, the shaping of it, was and remains for me an effort to make sense out of essentially senseless situations.

Thomas Lynch

At the age of seventeen, I left school. I went to university, and I wrote my first attempts at poetry in a room in a flat at the edge of the city.

Eavan Boland

When we study Shakespeare on the page, for academic purposes, we may require all kinds of help. Generally, we read him in modern spelling and with modern punctuation, and with notes. But any poetry that is performed – from song lyric to tragic speech – must make its point, as it were, without reference back.

James Fenton

When you translate poetry in particular, you’re obliged to look at how the writer with whom you’re working puts together words, sentences, phrases, the triple tension between the line of verse, the syntax and the sentence.

Marilyn Hacker

Anyone reading contemporary poetry – especially contemporary African-American poetry – will quickly see that race is an enduring subject. What some don’t realize is just how diverse the handling of that subject is. It’s as diverse as blackness.

Terrance Hayes

Italian is the language of song. German is good for philosophy and English for poetry. French is best at precision; it has a rigour to it.

Maurice Druon

When I was in college, I used to write little ditties and short stories and poetry for my friends. Writing a book is another thing. It is so much different from my traditional day of dirty fingernails and greasy hair and hot pans.

Mario Batali

Poetry is but another form of inquiry into the nature of phenomena, using with its own unique procedures and tools.

John Barton

Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org. Requests range from pencils for a poetry writing unit to violins for a school recital to microscope slides for a biology class.

Charles Best
Violins on display in a shop.

My own, purely personal view is that reading, study, poetry, and scientific experiment might be more rewarding than a job or children, so I would never advise anyone against university if they’re going for the right reasons.

Victoria Coren Mitchell

I stay up on current events. I read ‘The New Yorker’ and ‘The Economist.’ I go to community meetings to see what concerns the people in my neighborhood. I studied literature in college, so I also continue to read poetry, literature, and novels.

Caterina Fake

Instead of trying to come up and pontificate on what literature is, you need to talk with children, to teachers, and make sure they get poetry in the curriculum early.

Rita Dove

It takes most men five years to recover from a college education, and to learn that poetry is as vital to thinking as knowledge.

Brooks Atkinson

The more one reads poetry, the less tolerant one becomes of any sort of verbosity, be that in political or philosophical discourse, be that in history, social studies or the art of fiction.

Joseph Brodsky

Poetry is a special use of language that opens onto the real. The business of the poet is truth telling, which is why in the Celtic tradition no one could be a teacher unless he or she was a poet.

Huston Smith

I had art as a major, along with English, French and History. I had dance, modern dance. In English I was allowed to write my own poetry, which I eventually got published.

Sally Kirkland

But one does not make living writing poetry unless you’re a professor, and one frankly doesn’t get a lot of girls as a poet.

Jeffery Deaver

Even if you only want to write science fiction, you should also read mysteries, poetry, mainstream literature, history, biography, philosophy, and science.

Walter Jon Williams

Science Poetry Quotes

3D model of atom bond forming molecules.

Some say they see poetry in my paintings; I see only science.

Georges Seurat

If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the inquisition might have let him alone.

Thomas Hardy

When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.

Niels Bohr

The poet may be used as a barometer, but let us not forget that he is also part of the weather.

Lionel Trilling

A poet must be a psychologist, but a secret one: he should know and feel the roots of phenomena but present only the phenomena themselves in full bloom or as they fade away.

Ivan Turgenev

The poet doesn’t invent. He listens.

Jean Cocteau
  A conversation between a robot mechanic and child inventor.

The cloning of humans is on most of the lists of things to worry about from Science, along with behaviour control, genetic engineering, transplanted heads, computer poetry and the unrestrained growth of plastic flowers.

Lewis Thomas

Let’s say intelligence is your ability to compose poetry, symphonies, do art, math and science. Chimps can’t do any of that, yet we share 99 percent DNA. Everything that we are, that distinguishes us from chimps, emerges from that one-percent difference.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

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

Science fiction, outside of poetry, is the only literary field which has no limits, no parameters whatsoever.

Theodore Sturgeon

Science arose from poetry… when times change the two can meet again on a higher level as friends.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Especially in the world today, where science rightfully is so important in terms of technology, innovation, telecom, Internet, fighting diseases, I think it’s equally important that poetry and painting have their share of support.

Leon Black

The experiment of poetry, as far as I am concerned, happens when the poem carries you beyond where you could have reasonably expected to go.

Seamus Heaney

The idea is to make the script out of a political analysis and then to convey that – sometimes in poetry, sometimes science, sometimes all it takes is a film. The film itself is less and less spectacular because I think very strongly now the more spectacular you are, the more you are absorbed by the things you are trying to destroy.

Jean-Luc Godard

It’s always a combination of physics and poetry that I find inspiring. It’s hard to wrap your head around things like the Hubble scope.

Tom Hanks

I do not see how a man can work on the frontiers of physics and write poetry at the same time. They are in opposition.

Paul Dirac

Science is for those who learn, poetry is for those who know.

Joseph Roux

The experimental poetry thing is not my thing. It’s a programme of the avant-garde: basically a refusal of the kind of poetry I write.

Seamus Heaney

I’ve already written 300 space poems. But I look upon my ultimate form as being a poetic prose. When you read it, it appears to be prose, but within the prose you have embedded the techniques of poetry.

Story Musgrave

There are things that neuroscience is useful for in terms of understanding behavior, but there are also things it is not all that useful for, like understanding the nuances of our reactions to poetry.

Alissa Quart

When you’re looking that far out, you’re giving people their place in the universe, it touches people. Science is often visual, so it doesn’t need translation. It’s like poetry, it touches you.

Story Musgrave

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

Gustave Flaubert

Many attempts have been made by writers on art and poetry to define beauty in the abstract, to express it in the most general terms, to find some universal formula for it.

Walter Pater

Math Poetry Quotes

A sheet of paper with math problems.

Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.

Albert Einstein

Poetry is as precise a thing as geometry.

Gustave Flaubert

Mathematics is, as it were, a sensuous logic, and relates to philosophy as do the arts, music, and plastic art to poetry.

Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

Poetry is a form of mathematics, a highly rigorous relationship with words.

Tahar Ben Jelloun

We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.

Maria Mitchell

My favorite subject probably was math. I love math. Figures just intrigue me. I was really good at math. English probably was my worst subject. But I used to write a lot of poetry. I used to write poetry all the time.

Herschel Walker

Everything one invents is true, you may be perfectly sure of that. Poetry is as precise as geometry.

Gustave Flaubert

Arts Poetry Quotes

Hands of female artist holding messy palette with different color paints.

Oratory is the masterful art. Poetry, painting, music, sculpture, architecture please, thrill, inspire – but oratory rules. The orator dominates those who hear him, convinces their reason, controls their judgment, compels their action. For the time being, he is master.

David Josiah Brewer

The poet is a specialist in something which everyone practices. Herein, poetry differs from the other arts. Everyone does not practice music or painting or even dancing, but everyone without exception puts together words poetically every day of his life.

Louis MacNeice

I’m a failed poet. Reading poetry helps me to see the world differently, and I try to infuse my prose with figurative language, which goes against the trend in fiction.

Jesmyn Ward

The genesis of a poem for me is usually a cluster of words. The only good metaphor I can think of is a scientific one: dipping a thread into a supersaturated solution to induce crystal formation. I don’t think I solve problems in my poetry; I think I uncover the problems.

Margaret Atwood

I was a very creative child. I played the saxophone and piano, and I was always writing poetry and stories, or drawing in my notebook. I just tried to express myself through as many creative outlets as possible. And in high school, I started to get really into photography and videography and would spend hours working on it.

Kali Uchis

Poetry is one of the ancient arts, and it began as did all the fine arts, within the original wilderness of the earth.

Mary Oliver

Religious poetry, civic poetry, lyric or dramatic poetry are all categories of man’s expression which are valid only if the endorsement of formal content is valid.

Salvatore Quasimodo

All of our lives are enriched by our culture, from blockbuster films, best-selling video games, independent music, and internationally-renowned museums and art collections, to theatre, opera, ballet, literary festivals and performance poetry.

Luciana Berger

One of the rules of Greek lament poetry is that it mustn’t mention the dead by name in case of invoking a ghost. Maybe the ‘Iliad,’ crowded with names, is more than a poem. Maybe it’s a dangerous piece of the brightness of both this world and the next.

Alice Oswald

As human beings, we are the only organisms that create for the sheer stupid pleasure of doing so. Whether it’s laying out a garden, composing a new tune on the piano, writing a bit of poetry, manipulating a digital photo, redecorating a room, or inventing a new chili recipe – we are happiest when we are creating.

Gary Hamel

High and low culture come together in all Post Modern art, and American poetry is not excluded from this.

Diane Wakoski

Plot, rules, nor even poetry, are not half so great beauties in tragedy or comedy as a just imitation of nature, of character, of the passions and their operations in diversified situations.

Horace Walpole

The poetry and transgression that was so much of surrealism’s anarchic force has been recruited into mainstream culture. It has been made commonplace by television and magazine merchandising, by computer games and Internet visuals, by film and MTV, by the fashion shoot.

Graham Joyce

The Victorian language of flowers began with the publication of ‘Le Language des Fleurs,’ written by Charlotte de Latour and printed in Paris in 1819. To create the book – which was a list of flowers and their meanings – de Latour gathered references to flower symbolism throughout poetry, ancient mythology, and even medicine.

Vanessa Diffenbaugh

From the beginnings of literature, poets and writers have based their narratives on crossing borders, on wandering, on exile, on encounters beyond the familiar. The stranger is an archetype in epic poetry, in novels. The tension between alienation and assimilation has always been a basic theme.

Jhumpa Lahiri

America’s liberal arts universities have long been safe zones for leftist thinking, protected ivory towers for the pseudo-elite who earn their livings writing papers nobody reads about gender roles in the poetry of Maya Angelou.

Ben Shapiro

In the French language, there is a great gulf between prose and poetry; in English, there is hardly any difference. It is a splendid privilege of the great literary languages Greek, Latin, and French that they possess a prose. English has not this privilege. There is no prose in English.

Victor Hugo

With Shakespeare and poetry, a new world was born. New dreams, new desires, a self consciousness was born. I desired to know to know myself in terms of the new standards set by these books.

Peter Abrahams

In fact, in lyric poetry, truthfulness becomes recognizable as a ring of truth within the medium itself.

Seamus Heaney

A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become.

W. H. Auden

It is true that short forms of poetry have been cultivated in the Far East more than in modern Europe; but in all European literature short forms of poetry are to be found – indeed quite as short as anything in Japanese.

Lafcadio Hearn

Translation is an interestingly different way to be involved both with poetry and with the language that I’ve found myself living in much of the time. I think the two feed each other.

Marilyn Hacker

Poetry remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art.

Jorge Luis Borges
A male actor rehearsing on stage in an empty theater.

A man of eighty has outlived probably three new schools of painting, two of architecture and poetry and a hundred in dress.

Lord Byron

Poetry is the most subtle of the literary arts, and students grow more ingenious by the year at avoiding it. If they can nip around Milton, duck under Blake and collapse gratefully into the arms of Jane Austen, a lot of them will.

Terry Eagleton

In 1971, when I was 29, I wrote my first volume of poetry. I am a poet, and I have published four books of my poems.

Tony Buzan

Poetry is an art, the easiest to dabble in, but the hardest to reach true excellence.

John Gabriel Stedman

The growth of art seems to be in cycles, and often its vigorous lifetime is restricted to a century or two. The periods of distinctive drama, Greek, English, Spanish, fall within such a limit; the schools of painting and sculpture likewise; and, in poetry, the Victorian age or the school of Pope will serve as examples.

George Edward Woodberry

Lapped in poetry, wrapped in the picturesque, armed with logical sentences and inalienable words.

Anatole Broyard

The subject of Finnish poetry ought to have a special interest for the Japanese student, if only for the reason that Finnish poetry comes more closely in many respects to Japanese poetry than any other form of Western poetry.

Lafcadio Hearn

I do believe that we’ve a responsibility to try to acknowledge the range, both geographic and graphic, of what’s happening in poetry in English. I’m interested in poems that are first-rate. After that, I’m not too concerned if they come from Queens or Queensland.

Paul Muldoon

A definition of poetry can only determine what poetry should be and not what poetry actually was and is; otherwise the most concise formula would be: Poetry is that which at some time and some place was thus named.

Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

For while the subjects of poetry are few and recurrent, the moods of man are infinitely various and unstable. It is the same in all arts.

John Drinkwater

Modernism in other arts brought extreme difficulty. In poetry, the characteristic difficulty imported under the name of modernism was obscurity. But obscurity could just as easily be a quality of metrical as of free verse.

James Fenton

History Poetry Quotes

A vintage compass and telescope on top of an antique world map.

That is to say, epic poetry has been invented many times and independently; but, as the needs which prompted the invention have been broadly similar, so the invention itself has been.

Lascelles Abercrombie

There was a time when poetry often made its way to vinyl; take a deep dive, for example, into the beat poets’ countercultural albums of the 1950s to ’80s.

Elizabeth Flock

The Vietnam War and the Iraq war, in different ways, both made me feel like I could not not address them. I’m very doubtful about the usefulness of poetry to do that.

Robert Hass

In the long revolt against inherited forms that has by now become the narrative of 20th-century poetry in English, no poet was more flamboyant or more recognizable in his iconoclasm than Cummings.

Billy Collins

Poetry carries its history within it, and it is oral in origin. Its transmission was oral. Its transmission today is still in part oral, because we become acquainted with poetry through nursery rhymes, which we hear before we can read.

James Fenton

Candid Poetry Quotes

A lady in a summer dress playfully riding her bicycle.

I love reading all kinds of books. I usually have about ten books going at any one time – books about the past, the present, novels, non-fiction, poetry, mythology, religion, etc. Reading is my favorite thing to do.

Mary Pope Osborne

I certainly derived my skills as a prose writer from my scrutiny of poetry and of the individual word. But schools don’t do things like that anymore – tracking words down to their roots.

Camille Paglia

There are certain things in which mediocrity is not to be endured, such as poetry, music, painting, public speaking.

Jean de la Bruyere

I don’t want to, in any way, characterize a race or a people or get accused of racial profiling, but the Irish, as lyrical and romantic as they can be in their poetry, they can be every bit as repressed in their personal relations.

Stephen Lang

My first spoken word poem, packed with all the wisdom of a 14-year-old, was about the injustice of being seen as unfeminine. The poem was very indignant, and mainly exaggerated, but the only spoken word poetry that I had seen up until that point was mainly indignant, so I thought that that’s what was expected of me.

Sarah Kay

Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks.

Ed Koch

Poetry has been to me its own exceeding great reward; it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the good and beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I know some people might think it odd – unworthy even – for me to have written a cookbook, but I make no apologies. The U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins thought I had demeaned myself by writing poetry for Hallmark Cards, but I am the people’s poet so I write for the people.

Maya Angelou

I can’t imagine ever writing anything of any kind on a machine. I never tried to write either poetry or prose on a typewriter. I like to do it on useless paper, scrap paper, because it’s of no importance.

W. S. Merwin

I love the sufiana style of writing in Tagore’s poetry.

Gulzar

The middle class is doing fine in fiction. But it’s not what gets me going. I love the working class, and everyone from it I’ve met, and think they’re incredibly witty, inventive – there’s a lot of poetry there.

Martin Amis

PC stuff just lowers the general acceptance of good work and replaces it with bogus poetry that celebrates values that in themselves are probably quite worthy.

Diane Wakoski

I can be upset by malice. Most critics are very poor poets. Poetry is a craft that takes a lot to appreciate, and there are some critics who have no ear for it. An irresponsible critic can do a lot of psychic damage, but eventually, they don’t affect your work.

Derek Walcott

That’s all there was in our house: poetry and choir rehearsal and duets and so forth; I listened to Dad and Mother discuss things about poetry and delivery and voice and diction – I don’t think anyone could know how much it really means.

Chuck Berry
A family gathers around the kitchen table enjoying each other.

When the modern movement began, starting perhaps with the paintings of Manet and the poetry of Baudelaire and Rimbaud, what distinguished the modern movement was the enormous honesty that writers, painters and playwrights displayed about themselves. The bourgeois novel flinches from such notions.

J. G. Ballard

I wrote some bad poetry that I published in North African journals, but even as I withdrew into this reading, I also led the life of a kind of young hooligan.

Jacques Derrida

For whatever reason, people, including very well-educated people or people otherwise interested in reading, do not read poetry.

Paul Muldoon

Dismissals of poetry are nothing new. It’s easy to dismiss poetry if one has not read much of it.

Natasha Trethewey

Concrete poets continue to turn out beautiful things, but to me they’re more visual than oral, and they almost really belong on the wall rather than in a book. I haven’t the least idea of where poetry is going.

James Laughlin

Journalism wishes to tell what it is that has happened everywhere as though the same things had happened for every man. Poetry wishes to say what it is like for any man to be himself in the presence of a particular occurrence as though only he were alone there.

Archibald MacLeis

Rather than numbing or drowning out the difficult-to-describe but urgently sensed feelings that are part of being human, poetry invites us to tease them out, to draw them into language that is rooted in intricate thought and strange impulse.

Tracy K. Smith

I’m quite sure that most writers would sustain real poetry if they could, but it takes devotion and talent.

Marguerite Young

Well, the great thing for me about poetry is that in good poems the dislocation of words, that is to say, the distance between what they say they’re saying and what they are actually saying is at its greatest.

Harry Mathews

Whereas with poetry no one has to show anybody really, and you don’t have to tell anyone you’re doing it.

Roger McGough

The poetry from the eighteenth century was prose; the prose from the seventeenth century was poetry.

David Hare

One does not read a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks with hopes that it will grant him a career in engineering; he does so because poetry helps him see something in the world that he might not have seen before.

Clint Smith

It was through poetry I learned just to appreciate my own voice and to not think of my voice in terms of what it needs to be able to do, but what it can do.

Jamila Woods

Sincere Poetry Quotes

A red-painted wooden heart with sunlight and flare background effect.

Poetry is often the art of overhearing yourself say things you didn’t know you knew. It is a learned skill to force yourself to articulate your life, your present world or your possibilities for the future.

David Whyte

Poetry isn’t a profession, it’s a way of life. It’s an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that.

Mary Oliver

I’m reading a lot of poetry because it’s a lot easier to dip in and dip out when you’ve got 10 minutes to yourself.

Hozier

Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous – to poetry. But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd.

Thomas Mann

Poetry is man’s rebellion against being what he is.

James Branch Cabell

When truth has no burning, then it is philosophy, when it gets burning from the heart, it becomes poetry.

Muhammad Iqbal

If you have so earth-creeping a mind that it cannot lift itself up to look to the sky of poetry… thus much curse I must send you, in the behalf of all poets, that while you live, you live in love, and never get favour for lacking skill of a sonnet; and, when you die, your memory die from the earth for want of an epitaph.

Philip Sidney

I was writing poetry, and the Mountain Goats was an outgrowth of that.

John Darnielle

Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat.

Robert Frost

Poetry is more a threshold than a path.

Seamus Heaney

If food is poetry, is not poetry also food?

Joyce Carol Oates

What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive.

Arnold Palmer
A happy couple driving on a country road in a vintage sports car.

Poetry is a beautiful way of expressing feelings – happy, sad, angry, caring. It’s also a way that we share with other people, to help them with those feelings.

Mattie Stepanek

If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger.

Muriel Rukeyser

Personality is everything in art and poetry.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

You will not find poetry anywhere unless you bring some of it with you.

Joseph Joubert

Poetry, at its best, is the language your soul would speak if you could teach your soul to speak.

Jim Harrison

Poetry is not a matter of feelings, it is a matter of language. It is language which creates feelings.

Umberto Eco

I always liked the magic of poetry but now I’m just starting to see behind the curtain of even the best poets, how they’ve used, tried and tested craft to create the illusion. Wonderful feeling of exhilaration to finally be there.

David Knopfler

People wish to be poets more than they wish to write poetry, and that’s a mistake. One should wish to celebrate more than one wishes to be celebrated.

Lucille Clifton

Poetry is emotion, passion, love, grief – everything that is human. It is not for zombies by zombies.

F. Sionil Jose

For poetry there exists neither large countries nor small. Its domain is in the heart of all men.

Giorgos Seferis

There is no Frigate like a book to take us lands away nor any coursers like a page of prancing Poetry.

Emily Dickinson

I think people turn to poetry more often than they think they do, or encounter it in more ways than they think that they do. I think we forget the places that we encounter it, say, in songs or in other little bits and pieces of things that we may have remembered from childhood.

Natasha Trethewey

Experience has taught me, when I am shaving of a morning, to keep watch over my thoughts, because, if a line of poetry strays into my memory, my skin bristles so that the razor ceases to act.

A. E. Housman

A man of eighty has outlived probably three new schools of painting, two of architecture and poetry and a hundred in dress.

Lord Byron

The muse, the beloved, and duende are three ways of thinking of what is the source of poetry, and all three seem to me different names or different ways to think about something that is not entirely reasonable, not entirely subject to the will, not entirely rational.

Edward Hirsch

I think there are things in my story that have helped my creativity. Your father being killed, for instance, is one of the best things that could happen to a kid if he’s going to write poetry or songs.

Roger Waters

Why should poetry have to make sense?

Charlie Chaplin

Poetry is the art of substantiating shadows, and of lending existence to nothing.

Edmund Burke

My first book was poetry, but I didn’t write it first. I wrote it third. So my first two books were prose.

Tao Lin

As a direct line to human feeling, empathic experience, genuine language and detail, poetry is everything that headline news is not. It takes us inside situations, helps us imagine life from more than one perspective, honors imagery and metaphor – those great tools of thought – and deepens our confidence in a meaningful world.

Naomi Shihab Nye

Poetry has done enough when it charms, but prose must also convince.

H. L. Mencken

Poetry is like making a joke. If you get one word wrong at the end of a joke, you’ve lost the whole thing.

W. S. Merwin

Poetry is the exquisite expression of exquisite expressions.

Joseph Roux

This proves that great lyric poetry can die, be reborn, die again, but will always remain one of the most outstanding creations of the human soul.

Eugenio Montale

Theater is far superior to film in poetry, in abstract poetry.

Julie Taymor

When I met Bob Dylan, I was definitely impressed. This guy had come from the American folk world, but he was very schooled in poetry, too. He’d studied the Beat poets, of course. I grew up in the British bohemian scene. Dylan grew up in the American bohemian scene. So I was very pleased to meet such a guy.

Donovan

He passes from lyric to epic poetry in order to speak about the world and the torment in the world through man, rationally and emotionally. The poet then becomes a danger.

Salvatore Quasimodo

A novel is a work of poetry. In order to write it, one must have tranquility of spirit and of impression.

Fyodor Dostoevsky
Peaceful view of the lake on a jetty at sunrise.

So few people read poetry. That’s sad, isn’t it?

Jerry Hall

A social consciousness should be reflected in your poetry.

Gulzar

Poetry is, first and last, language – the rest is filler.

Mark Strand

I read poetry to save time.

Marilyn Monroe

Poetry leads us to the unstructured sources of our beings, to the unknown, and returns us to our rational, structured selves refreshed.

A. R. Ammons

Poetry should help, not only to refine the language of the time, but to prevent it from changing too rapidly.

T. S. Eliot

The fate of poetry is to fall in love with the world.

Derek Walcott

When I was young, I struggled with authorship: with everything the word meant and failed to mean. Irish poetry was heavy with custom. Sometimes at night, when I tried to write, a ghost hand seemed to hold mine. Where could my life, my language fit in?

Eavan Boland

We recognise in the finished art, which is the result of these conditions, the best words in the best order – poetry; and to put this essential poetry into different classes is impossible.

John Drinkwater

A lot of my activity in the theatre, and even in writing poems, was a kind of retrospective aggro on the English teacher who wouldn’t allow me to read poetry aloud.

Tony Harrison

And at least in poetry you should feel free to lie. That is, not to lie, but to imagine what you want, to follow the direction of the poem.

Mark Strand

Writing poetry, which for me was then saying how I felt about this and that, didn’t help me to understand the world I lived in.

Grace Paley

And there are a lot more people reading poetry, but there are not so many people reading an individual poet.

Peter Davison

Of course a poem is a two-way street. No poem is any good if it doesn’t suggest to the reader things from his own mind and recollection that he will read into it, and will add to what the poet has suggested. But I do think poetry readings are very important.

James Laughlin

I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests.

Pablo Neruda

Thoughtful Poetry Quotes

A woman with eyes closed, smelling a lighted candle.

Poetry is necessary, but is the poet?

Carlos Drummond de Andrade

I’m moved by people who see the world differently than others. People who see the world with a longing for its poetry often can be broken people.

Laura Dern

I’m not really one for fancy, big words and poetry, and the scriptwriters worked very hard on ‘Paradise Lost’ to translate it.

Callan McAuliffe

My artistic manifesto exists in the world as poetry. So even though most of the things that I’ve done have been on other people’s projects or could be pigeonholed in certain ways, that’s not how I perceive myself.

Jamila Woods

With my fiction, I focused on chapters and overall conceptions, while in poetry, I crawled along in the trenches of each sentence, examining every word for a sign of a deeper significance.

Philip Schultz

Let my life as Poet begin. I want the life of the Poet. I have labored for over twelve years, one thousand pages of prose. Now, I want the easiness of poetry. The brevity of the poem.

Maxine Hong Kingston

Still, language is resilient, and poetry when it is pressured simply goes underground.

Diane Wakoski

If I don’t write down a thought – or an image or a line of poetry – the instant it comes to mind, it vanishes, which explains why I have pens and notebooks in my pants and coat pockets, the car, the bicycle basket, on one or two desks in every room including bathrooms and the kitchen.

Floyd Skloot

Those who have never entered upon scientific pursuits know not a tithe of the poetry by which they are surrounded.

Herbert Spencer

I began writing early – very, very early… I was already writing short stories for the radio and selling poems to poetry and art festivals; I was involved in school plays; I wrote essays, so there was no definite moment when I said, ‘Now I’m a writer.’ I’ve always been a writer.

Wole Soyinka
Close-up of youthful hands paint on the wall.

Poetry has always been made to seem kind of cultish. But the truth is, everybody really loves it! It’s much more mainstream than anyone thought.

Maria Shriver

No poetry that I’m aware of, however bad or glorious, has ever left somebody a worse person than they were before they read it.

Felix Dennis

The obsessions of others are opaque to the unobsessed, and thus easy to mock. NASCAR, jazz, baseball, roses, poetry, quilts, fishing. If we’re lucky, we all have at least one.

Roberta Smith

I love to compare different time frames. Poetry can evoke the time of the subject. By a very careful choice of words you can evoke an era, completely throw the poem into a different time scale.

Robert Morgan

Poetry, I think, intensifies the reader’s experience. If it’s a humorous facet of the story, poetry makes it more exuberant. If it’s a sad facet, poetry can make it more poignant.

Vikram Seth

I was proud my father spoke Arabic fluently – his father sent him to learn Arabic from a sheikh – and we had Arab friends. His task of understanding the Arabs – not only politics but poetry – was very important; he took it as a vocation.

A. B. Yehoshua

We have a motto at Naropa: ‘Keep the world safe for poetry.’ It’s humorous but has some real bite to it. If the world is safe for poetry, it can be safe for many other things.

Anne Waldman

Poetry is fascinating. As soon as it begins the poetry has changed the thing into something extra, and somehow prose can go over into poetry.

Michael Tippett

Poetry proceeds from the totality of man, sense, imagination, intellect, love, desire, instinct, blood and spirit together.

Jacques Maritain
Silhouette of a Chinese girl doing calligraphy.

Poetry is rather an approach to things, to life, than it is typographical production.

Joseph Brodsky

The urge to write poetry is like having an itch. When the itch becomes annoying enough, you scratch it.

Robert Penn Warren

Prose on certain occasions can bear a great deal of poetry; on the other hand, poetry sinks and swoons under a moderate weight of prose.

Walter Savage Landor

Anticipating that most poetry will be worse than carrying heavy luggage through O’Hare Airport, the public, to its loss, reads very little of it.

Russell Baker

Poetry has the virtue of being able to say twice as much as prose in half the time, and the drawback, if you do not give it your full attention, of seeming to say half as much in twice the time.

Christopher Fry

Some Marines made fun of the fact that I had done plays and studied poetry, but then I won the award for physical training.

David Hunt

For me, poetry is always a search for order.

Elizabeth Jennings

It all has to do with art – writing, painting, things I’ve done for a long time but just never had enough time to pursue. I have poetry – things that are designed for songs, but they’re always poems first.

Jason Newsted

I’m as much influenced by Joseph Smith and the Mormons as I am, more so, than by Eliot. Actually, I’m much more influenced by the poetry of the Mormons.

Marguerite Young

The older I’ve got the less I find myself going back and re-reading or really reading new fiction or poetry.

Reynolds Price

I started off in England and very few people knew I was Australian. I mean, the clues were in the poems, but they didn’t read them very carefully, and so for years and years I was considered completely part of the English poetry scene.

Peter Porter

I despair of ever writing excellent poetry.

Isaac Rosenberg

Poetry is innocent, not wise. It does not learn from experience, because each poetic experience is unique.

Karl Shapiro

Nobody ever told me what to read, or ever put poetry in my way.

Isaac Rosenberg

Write verse, not poetry. The public wants verse. If you have a talent for poetry, then don’t by any means mother it, but try your hand at verse.

Robert W. Service

But poetry is a way of language, it is not its subject or its maker’s background or interests or hobbies or fixations. It is nearer to utterance than history.

Thomas Lynch

The more poetry you have in the head, the more poetry you will understand because you will be getting to the roots of what it is that makes people write poetry at all.

Peter Davison

Every so often I find some poems that are too good for the readers of The Atlantic because they are a little too involved with the nature of poetry, as such.

Peter Davison

But poetry is my life. Poetry is what matters to me.

Peter Davison

I realized poetry’s the thing that I can do ’cause I can stick at it and work with tremendous intensity.

Philip Levine

It is a way we reassess our past. We can do that in poetry in ways we can’t do in prose.

Peter Davison

The arts generally have had to recognize Modernism – how should poetry escape?

John Crowe Ransom

It is the timber of poetry that wears most surely, and there is no timber that has not strong roots among the clay and worms.

John Millington Synge

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

Biographical Poetry Quotes

Photos of a guitarist hanging on a clothesline on wood background.

A poet’s autobiography is his poetry. Anything else is just a footnote.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

I hadn’t published a book of poetry in over a decade because I’ve been very ill. As I got better and started to write, I said, ‘Wow, even as an old woman, I could have a selected book of poems.’

Ntozake Shange

What my character is or how many jails I have lounged in, or wards or walls or wassails, how many lonely-heart poetry readings I have dodged, is beside the point. A man’s soul or lack of it will be evident with what he can carve upon a white sheet of paper.

Charles Bukowski

I’ve written poetry most of my life.

Julia Michaels

Well, I had this little notion – I started writing when I was eleven, writing poetry. I was passionately addicted to it; it was my great refuge through adolescence.

Harry Mathews

I don’t think Auden liked my poetry very much, he’s very Anglican.

Stevie Smith

I was trying to pay the bills with poems, and it was easy to memorize my poems, because I’d be riding my bike in California trying to memorize them before going on stage at a poetry lounge.

Omari Hardwick

I have epiphanies all the time, because I’m always thinking. I’m a thinker. I’m always writing poetry, I’m always coming to conclusions.

Chrisette Michele

I always loved singing and writing poetry. I always loved music, and I’ve loved writing my whole life. When I put them together, it was probably in my early 20s where I put words to music for the first time.

Lisa Marie Presley

Poetry and prose are of equal importance to me as a reader, and there doesn’t seem to be much difference in my own writing.

Kevin Powers

When I was a young man, I understood that poetry was two things – it was difficult to understand, but you could understand that the poet was miserable. So for a while there, I wrote poems that were hard to understand, even by me, but gave off whiffs of misery.

Billy Collins

I love romantic poetry.

Richard Dawkins

I’ve always been a fan of poetry. I grew up with Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the Beat poets. I really followed that stuff for a while. I just love the way people threw words around like they were painting.

Ric Ocase

I didn’t know until later, but my uncle was quite a famous bohemian in Glasgow, and he played guitar. My father was a kind of a poetic bohemian, and he read me poetry.

Donovan

I was pushing for a career in poetry and of course the received wisdom was that you would never make a living at it.

John Cooper Clarke

I wanted to become a writer and felt that poetry was perfected language, so having it in my subconscious mind would make the music of language always available to me.

Caterina Fake

I read usually in the morning, in my kitchen at breakfast – a short reading time, usually poetry. I read in bed every night. I usually get in bed pretty early with a book, and I read until I can’t prop my eyes open anymore – sometimes rather late.

Sue Monk Kidd

My dad is a Jack Nicholson lookalike and a frustrated performer, my mother’s into reading and poetry. I suppose the thing I owe them most is my confidence.

Michael Sheen

I didn’t want to deal in poetry. I got rid of that after a few months.

Tom Wesselmann

I was actually a poetry major in college before I punted and decided to become a theater major. I wrote the poem that we put on the sauerkraut boxes in the style of Elling.

Denis O’Hare

Shakespeare has been praised in English more than anything mortal except poetry itself. Fame exhausts thought in his eulogy.

George Edward Woodberry

I have piles of poetry books in the bathroom, on the stairs, everywhere. The only way to write poetry is to read it.

Carol Ann Duffy
Stack of books on a wooden table in a room.

I have had much to learn from Sweden’s poetry and, more especially, from her lyrics of the last generation.

Knut Hamsun

Well I guess the plan was to write poetry and publish books and make a living from writing poetry. That was a pretty ambitious plan I guess.

Robert Adamson

I spent many years in college studying English literature. I was on the verge of attending grad school to get a Ph.D. in Renaissance poetry – my lost careers were being a writer, artist, or academic. Do I regret spending all that time poring over Shakespeare when I could have been getting a jump start on the competition? Not at all.

Caterina Fake

I think there’s no excuse for the American poetry reader not knowing a good deal about what is going on in the rest of the world.

James Laughlin

I was a 16-year-old girl at one point, so of course I wrote poetry.

Elizabeth Edwards

I was quiet, and I was artistic. I liked writing poetry, and that was very strange, so I was bullied a lot.

Nelsan Ellis

I think that the job of poetry, its political job, is to refresh the idea of justice, which is going dead in us all the time.

Robert Hass

From my teenage years on, I sought out Native elders from many tribal nations and listened to their words. I also started a small press, The Greenfield Review Press, and became very involved with publishing the work of other American Indian authors, especially books of poetry.

Joseph Bruchac
Two Navajo elderly women outside their traditional Hogan hut.

I actually remember celebrating National Poetry Day at school; I remember having to write and read aloud.

Tinie Tempah

I always loved writing, be it creative writing for school or just poetry. I just loved writing, and in college, I started really trying to write songs and was copying other artists, just to figure it out – but I think freshman year of high school is when I realized, ‘I want to be a writer. I have something to say.’

Chelsea Lankes

I was excited by what my painter friends were doing, and they seemed to be interested in our poetry too, and that was a wonderful little, fizzy sort of world.

Kenneth Koch

For me, I used to be shy towards journalism because it wasn’t poetry. And then I realized that the events that I covered in essays that became journalism were actually great because they inspired me, and they became my muse.

Alice Walker

Not too many people know it, but when I was in junior high, I was a pretty tough kid and was the leader of a street gang. Well, OK, it was less a street gang than an Ecology Club. We were pretty intimidating, though, and had our own meeting room until we got run out of there by a bunch of thugs from the Poetry Society.

W. Bruce Cameron

I’m not a ‘long writer’ and have never wanted to write a novel or even a novella. Poetry, like flash fiction, provides a readily accessible canvas to play with. Whether to express an emotion or share a vignette, these forms are often interchangeable.

Marge Simon

Claudia Rankine’s book-length poem ‘Citizen’ was nominated for National Book Critics Circle awards in the categories of poetry and criticism. It is one of the most devastating takes on American culture I have read in a long time, laying bare the stakes of being black in a country long ambivalent about our presence here.

Glenn Ligon

I write poetry anyway and have for years and years. For me, putting fiction and poetry together is like the best of both worlds.

Ellen Hopkins

In poetry, I have, since very young, loved poetry in translation. The Chinese, the French, the Russians, Italians, Indians and early Celts: the formality of the translator’s voice, their measured breath and anxiety moves me as it lingers over the original.

Fanny Howe

I gave up on new poetry myself 30 years ago when most of it began to read like coded messages passing between lonely aliens in a hostile world.

Russell Baker

I was always making up rhymes. But I never thought that poetry would become my life.

Saul Williams

I wonder if I ever thought of an ideal reader… I guess when I was in my 20s and in New York and maybe even in my early 30s, I would write for my wife Janice… mainly for my poet friends and my wife, who was very smart about poetry.

Kenneth Koch

I’ve always written, all my life, and when I was very young I developed an interest in poetry.

Jeffery Deaver

Gil Thorpe is a great diversion and is to book writing as poetry is to prose.

Jerry B. Jenkins

When I first started reading poetry, all the poets I read – Edgar Allan Poe, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Greenleaf Whittier – were rhyme poets. That’s what captured me.

Marv Levy

My father is a visual artist, so I was influenced by him, and my mother is an English teacher who forced me to read a lot of books and poetry and get involved in theatre. I developed a varied taste for different arts.

Taika Waititi

Well – I started writing – probably in the early 60s and by say ’65-’66 I had read most of the poetry that had been published – certainly in the 20 years prior to that.

Robert Adamson

I have published in ‘The New Yorker,’ ‘Holiday,’ ‘Life,’ ‘Mademoiselle,’ ‘American Heritage,’ ‘Horizon,’ ‘The Ladies Home Journal,’ ‘The Kenyon Review,’ ‘The Sewanee Review,’ ‘Poetry,’ ‘Botteghe Oscure,’ the ‘Atlantic Monthly,’ ‘Harper’s.’

Paul Engle

Philosophical Poetry Quotes

Butterfly on a glass ball on the beach reflecting the lake and sky

Everybody interprets things differently with their own perception, and I want poetry to pull out of them their own feelings.

John Trudell

Epic poetry exhibits life in some great symbolic attitude. It cannot strictly be said to symbolize life itself, but always some manner of life.

Lascelles Abercrombie

But I liked Yeats! That wild Irishman. I really loved his love of language, his flow. His chaotic ideas seemed to me just the right thing for a poet. Passion! He was always on the right side. He may be wrongheaded, but his heart was always on the right side. He wrote beautiful poetry.

Chinua Achebe

I go to the gym, do some martial arts, and I love poetry. I have a tattoo of my family crest, and another on my back that says ‘The Road Not Taken,’ which is a poem by Robert Frost.

Steven R. McQueen

Money is everywhere but so is poetry. What we lack are the poets.

Federico Fellini

For most Americans, poetry plays no role in their everyday lives. But also for most Americans, contemporary painting or jazz or sculpture play no role either. I’m not saying poetry is singled out as a special thing to ignore.

Billy Collins

I’m conscious of a series of circles working its way through my life. And at this particular moment I have come round to the beginning of my writing cycle. It begins with poetry. There’s hardly a day that goes past on which I don’t write poetry.

Ben Okri

Well, I still write poetry, but I wouldn’t call myself a poet.

David Duchovny

Radio is such a perfect medium for the transmission of poetry, primarily because there just is the voice, there’s no visual distraction.

Billy Collins

I’ve always written. There’s a journal which I kept from about 9 years old. The man who gave it to me lived across the street from the store and kept it when my grandmother’s papers were destroyed. I’d written some essays. I loved poetry, still do. But I really, really loved it then.

Maya Angelou

In the poetry of immigrants, nostalgia is as common as confetti at parades or platitudes at political conventions.

Amitava Kumar

Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes.

Joseph Roux

Poetry is indispensable – if I only knew what for.

Jean Cocteau

There’s something about beautiful moments in sports that alters our experience of time. And I’d say the same thing about poetry and gardening. Gardening slows me down. I want to stop and observe everything.

Ross Gay
A young woman gardening in a greenhouse.

Rational intelligence is dangerous and leads to ratiocination. The painter is a medium who doesn’t realize what he is doing. No translation can express the mystery of sensibility, a word, still unreliable, which is nevertheless the basis of painting or poetry, like a kind of alchemy.

Marcel Duchamp

I love Sufism as I love beautiful poetry, but it is not the answer. Sufism is like a mirage in the desert. It says to you, come and sit, relax and enjoy yourself for a while.

Naguib Mahfouz

I always thought that poetry is the verdict that others give to a certain kind of writing. So to call yourself a poet is a kind of dangerous description. It’s for others; it’s for others to use.

Leonard Cohen

There are men who can write poetry, and there are men who can read balance sheets. The men who can read balance sheets cannot write.

Henry R. Luce

Poetry, being supremely useless, by its very existence represents a protest against the so-called ‘real world’ of busy-ness and moneymaking, so we must embrace, salute and support our poets.

Tom Hodgkinson

We go to poetry, we go to literature in general, to be forwarded within ourselves.

Seamus Heaney

If there’s no money in poetry, neither is there poetry in money.

Robert Graves

The actual world, not some fantastic structure that has nothing to do with reality, must provide the material for modern poetry.

Muriel Rukeyser

‘Milk and Honey’ was written with me being honest to myself, kind of pulling at the things that I hear the most and saying that out loud, and you know, that thing that we hear the most is most universal, and so that rings true with all folks. The language used in the poetry is extremely, extremely accessible.

Rupi Kaur

As things are, and as fundamentally they must always be, poetry is not a career, but a mug’s game. No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written: He may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing.

T. S. Eliot

I was apprehensive. I feared every time I talked about poetry, it would be filtered through the lens of race, sex, and age.

Rita Dove
Magnifying lens giving a deep zoomed-in view of a large skybridge.

Some people think that English poetry begins with the Anglo-Saxons. I don’t, because I can’t accept that there is any continuity between the traditions of Anglo-Saxon poetry and those established in English poetry by the time of, say, Shakespeare. And anyway, Anglo-Saxon is a different language, which has to be learned.

James Fenton

It is the province of poetry to be more realistic and present than the artificial narratives of an outer discourse, and not afraid of the truthful difficulty of the average human life.

David Whyte

So the best way to understand poetry, which is made by men, is to imitate, and that goes back to making work as a kind of doorway into new work, as opposed to making work as a mirror of the old work.

Terrance Hayes

Thanks partly to the kind of poets that we now have and partly to funding, there’s been a gigantic shift in the way poetry is perceived… Poems on the Underground, poets in schools, football clubs, zoos.

Andrew Motion

I love kids that come to shows, little kids coming up to you with braces; like, some kid came up to me in a parking lot outside a show in Santa Cruz – he was about 14 or 15 – and he said, ‘Y’know, I love ‘The Basketball Diaries,’ but I hope your next book of poetry isn’t gonna be as academic as ‘Living at the Movies’ was.’

Jim Carroll

Poetry is a pure meritocracy. There’s no room for ambiguity: either a poem moves you and opens up new vistas in life, or it doesn’t. It’s completely objective, and the best always rise to the top.

Jim Goetz

My idea is simply – is very simple – is that the books of poetry should be published in far greater volume and be distributed in far greater volume, in far more substantial manner. You can sell in supermarkets very cheaply. In paperbacks. You can sell in drugstores.

Joseph Brodsky

Distinctly American poetry is usually written in the context of one’s geographic landscape, sometimes out of one’s cultural myths, and often with reference to gender and race or ethnic origins.

Diane Wakoski

In Australia, not reading poetry is the national pastime.

Phyllis McGinley

I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business.

Henry David Thoreau

Compelling Poetry Quotes

Stunning winter landscape in Kleinarl on the Jägersee

Poetry, even when apparently most fantastic, is always a revolt against artifice, a revolt, in a sense, against actuality.

James Joyce

You don’t help people in your poems. I’ve been trying to help people all my life – that’s my trouble.

Charles Olson

A documentary film-maker can’t help but use poetry to tell the story. I bring truth to my fiction. These things go hand in hand.

Chloe Zhao

The mystical poetry of William Blake’s artwork also forms the basis for the album cover.

Bruce Dickinson

I wrote some of the worst poetry west from the Mississippi River, but I wrote. And I finally sometimes got it right.

Maya Angelo

I take pride in the fact that I can walk away from things. My willingness to walk away has protected me, I realize that now. Being able to walk away from sessions, from poetry, from dreams of being a poetry professor.

David Berman
Girl running towards the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

I have felt great advances in my poetry, the main one being a growing victory over word nuances and a superfluity of adjectives.

Sylvia Plath

Nothing is too small. Nothing is too, quote-unquote, ordinary or insignificant. Those are the things that make up the measure of our days, and they’re the things that sustain us. And they’re the things that certainly can become worthy of poetry.

Rita Dove

The poetry of heroism appeals irresistibly to those who don’t go to a war, and even more to those whom the war is making enormously wealthy. It’s always so.

Louis-Ferdinand Celine

I will not leave a corner of my consciousness covered up, but saturate myself with the strange and extraordinary new conditions of this life, and it will all refine itself into poetry later on.

Isaac Rosenberg

When you realize my best selling books are ‘Owl Moon,’ the ‘How Do Dinosaur’ books, and ‘Devil’s Arithmetic,’ how can the public make sense of that! I have fans who think I only write picture books or only write SF and fantasy. I have fanatics of my poetry and are stunned to find out I write prose, too!

Jane Yolen

Poetry is one of the destinies of speech… One would say that the poetic image, in its newness, opens a future to language.

Gaston Bachelard

Poetry always runs away from you – it’s very difficult to grasp it, and every time you read it, depending on your conditions, you will have a different grasp of it. Whereas with a novel, once you have read it, you have grasped it.

Abbas Kiarostami

When I became poet laureate, I was in a slightly uncomfortable position because I think a lot of poetry isn’t worth reading.

Billy Collins

I didn’t love Jim Morrison ’cause he was self-destructive. I loved him because of his work. Because of the way he merged poetry and rock-and-roll. Because he did something new.

Patti Smith

It’s bad poetry executed by people that can’t sing. That’s my definition of Rap.

Peter Steele

My next project is to get back to that. Actually, to learn how to write poetry. I’m not kidding.

Harry Mathews

English poetry begins whenever we decide to say the modern English language begins, and it extends as far as we decide to say that the English language extends.

James Fenton

An experienced reader uses the poem as an agent of inquiry. This makes poetry very exciting, unstable, and interactive.

John Barton

Writing poetry is the hard manual labor of the imagination.

Ishmael Reed

Poetry: the best words in the best order.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Good poets have written in order to describe something or to preach something – with their eye on the object or the end. The essence of the poetry does not lie in the thing described or in the message imparted but in the resulting concrete unity, the poem.

Louis MacNeice

I still read Donne, particularly his love poems.

Carol Ann Duffy

Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life.

William Hazlitt

Well, I like to write poetry. I’m a published poet.

Misha Collins

By definition, poetry works with qualities and dynamics that mainstream society is reluctant to face head-on. It’s an interesting phenomenon that by necessity, poetry is just below the radar.

David Whyte

Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.

Plato

Sometimes poetry is inspired by the conversation entered into by reading other poems.

John Barton
Two women friends sitting in a café conversing over coffee.

You don’t make a poem with ideas, but with words.

Stephane Mallarme

I wish you would read a little poetry sometimes. Your ignorance cramps my conversation.

Anthony Hope

That poetry survived in its formal agencies finally, and that prose survived to get something said.

Robert Creeley

When poetry is on the money, 12 words can slay you. I admire that greatly.

Daniel Woodrell

In Northern Ireland, helicopters are not usually used to promote poetry.

Seamus Heaney

On July 26, 1916, I announced to all my friends in America that from now on I resolved to write no more poems in the classical language, and to begin my experiments in writing poetry in the so-called vulgar tongue of the people.

Hu Shih

Why do writers, say, give up a job in economics and decide to write poetry? Or, why do they give up a job in a bank and decide to paint, like Krishan Khanna? They want to convey something.

Vikram Seth

Great poetry is always written by somebody straining to go beyond what he can do.

Stephen Spender

A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself.

E. M. Forster

Poetry is all nouns and verbs.

Marianne Moore

Narrative Poetry Quotes

A woman sitting on a suitcase reads a giant book

When I started writing poetry, it was always in very hip-hop influenced spaces: Someone would teach a Nas song side-by-side with a Gwendolyn Brooks poem, and we’d talk about the connections between those things.

Jamila Woods

I was always interested in French poetry sort of as a sideline to my own work, I was translating contemporary French poets. That kind of spilled out into translation as a way to earn money, pay for food and put bread on the table.

Paul Auster

The short story seems like the best of all possible worlds. I do feel it is closer to writing poetry than to writing a novel, with its requirements of concentration and economy.

James Lasdun

When I first heard Bob Dylan, I’ll be honest, I didn’t like him. But I was shallow of mind and didn’t understand the poetry. I just judged him on his singing and his guitar playing.

Jose Feliciano

I think it was T.S. Eliot who talked about good poetry being felt before it’s understood. I believe that. There are some bands where I love their lyrics but I don’t have a clue what they’re on about.

Marcus Mumford

I’m not really a musician. I’m a performer, and I love rock n’ roll. I’ve embraced rock n’ roll because it encompasses all the things I’m interested in: poetry, revolution, sexuality, political activism – all of these things can be found in rock n’ roll.

Patti Smith

I liked to write from the time I was about 12 or 13. I loved to read. And since I only spoke to my brother, I would write down my thoughts. And I think I wrote some of the worst poetry west of the Rockies. But by the time I was in my 20s, I found myself writing little essays and more poetry – writing at writing.

Maya Angelou

I began to write poetry in high school, and would ride miles over sandy roads in the fine hills around Cedar Rapids, repeating the lines over and over until I had them right, making some of the rhythm of the horse help.

Paul Engle

Manifesting that order of poetry where we can at last grow up to that which we stored up as we grew.

Seamus Heaney

It was actually a women’s writing group I belonged to in graduate school that gave me the courage to move from poetry to fiction.

Mary Gordon

Poetry. I read Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Jane Hirschfield. I like to read Billy Collins out loud.

Amy Tan

I find a lot of poetry very disappointing, but I do have poets that I go back to. One book of poetry that I’d like to mention is ‘The Exchange’ by Sophie Cabot Black. Her poems are difficult without being too difficult.

Billy Collins

I’m sorry, man, but I’ve got magic. I’ve got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time – and this includes naps – I’m an F-18, bro. And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground.

Charlie Sheen

Suddenly, everyone wanted to talk to me, it seemed. And not about my poetry: it was my dyslexia they were most interested in.

Philip Schultz

In Lithuania, I am known as a poet, and they don’t care about my cinema. In Europe, they don’t know my poetry; in Europe, I am a filmmaker. But here, in the United States, I am only a maverick!

Jonas Mekas

In Bonn, where I studied for a year, I changed from classical to Romance philology, taught there by its great founder, F. Diez, and at the beginning of 1852, I received the doctorate for a dissertation on the refrain in Provencal poetry.

Paul Heyse

What I wanted to do in rock ‘n roll was merge poetry with sonic scapes, and the two people who had contributed so much to that were Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.

Patti Smith

I’m moving to Rio permanently with my family. It’s one of the places left in the world where people still live with a big charge of poetry on a daily basis. I feel we’ve kind of lost that here in Europe.

Vincent Cassel
Close-up view of the Selaron Steps in the historic center of Rio de Janeiro.

So now I have a collection of poetry by Aaron Neville and I give it to people I want to share it with. I’d like to publish it someday.

Aaron Neville

I was a victim of a stereotype. There were only two of us Negro kids in the whole class, and our English teacher was always stressing the importance of rhythm in poetry. Well, everybody knows – except us – that all Negroes have rhythms, so they elected me class poet.

Langston Hughes

But at the beginning it was clear to me that concrete poetry was peculiarly suited for using in public settings. This was my idea, but of course I never really much got the chance to do it.

Ian Hamilton Finlay

I like Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, but some of the older ones it’s hard for me to sit down with – when I sit down to read some poetry, I usually read more contemporary stuff.

Samuel Ervin Beam

There’s one of my new poems actually – is a good example of where my poetry has ended up. My earlier river poetry was more like a cross between Shelley and Dylan Thomas.

Robert Adamson