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Poetry Quotes and Sayings
Quotes about Poetry

Please enjoy these Poetry Quotes from the wise, the romantic, and the famous of the past and present.

If a man is called to be a street sweeper,
he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,
or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.
He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts
of heaven and earth will pause to say,
here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Youth, large, lusty, loving -
Youth, full of grace, force, fascination.
Do you know that Old Age may come after you
with equal grace, force, fascination?
- Walt Whitman

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

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 the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.
- Marianne Moore

Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.
- Edgar Allan Poe

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

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Poetry is what gets lost in translation.
- Robert Frost

Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry.
- Muriel Rukeyser

Poetry: the best words in the best order.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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

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

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

Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings,
and making music with them.
- Dennis Gabor

There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money,
either.
- Robert Graves

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

Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
- Thomas Gray

All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.
- Oscar Wilde

There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.
- John Cage

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

Sometimes poetry is inspired by the conversation entered
into by reading other poems.
- John Barton

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

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

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.
- Novalis

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

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

Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.
- Rita Dove

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

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

Any healthy man can go without food for two days -
but not without poetry.
- Charles Baudelaire

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 nearer to vital truth than history.
- Plato

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

Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.
- Carl Sandburg

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

Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life.
- William Hazlitt

Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley

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

God is the perfect poet.
- Robert Browning

I still read Donne, particularly his love poems.
- Carol Ann Duffy

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

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

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

You don't have to suffer to be a poet;
adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.
- John Ciardi

Children and lunatics cut the Gordian knot which the
poet spends his life patiently trying to untie.
- Jean Cocteau

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

You don't make a poem with ideas, but with words.
- Stephane Mallarme

The poem is the point at which our strength gave out.
- Richard Rosen

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

Everyone thinks they're going to write one book of poems or one novel.
- Marilyn Hacker

A poem might be defined as thinking about feelings -
about human feelings and frailties.
- Anne Stevenson

Usually a life turned into a poem is misrepresented.
- Mark Strand

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

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

However, if a poem can be reduced to a prose sentence,
there can't be much to it.
- James Schuyler

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

To have great poets, there must be great audiences.
- Walt Whitman

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

Always be a poet, even in prose.
- Charles Baudelaire

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

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

I sometimes talk about the making of a poem within the poem.
- Howard Nemerov

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

The poet doesn't invent.
He listens.
- Jean Cocteau

A poet's work is to name the unnameable,
to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments,
shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.
- Salman Rushdie

A poem can have an impact, but you can't expect an
audience to understand all the nuances.
- Douglas Dunn

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

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.
- Jean Cocteau

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

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

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


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