Wednesday, May 23, 2007

By Any Other Name

No great poetry, of whatever kind, is conceivable unless the subject has become integrated with the poet's mind and mood.
-----------------------------------------------------------------Lascelles Abercrombie

Poetry is a succession of questions which the poet constantly poses.
------------------------------------------------------------------Vicente Aleixandre

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

It's a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it.
------------------------------------------------------------------W. H. Auden

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

There exist only three respectable beings: the priest, the warrior, the poet. To know, to kill, and to create.
-------------------------------------------------------------------Charles Baudelaire

I have never believed that the critic is the rival of the poet, but I do believe that criticism is a genre of literature or it does not exist.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Harold Bloom

In the hands of a great poet, words have ways of affecting us in ways we don't understand.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Kenneth Branagh

For the poet the credo or doctrine is not the point of arrival but is, on the contrary, the point of departure for the metaphysical journey.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Joseph Brodsky

Every individual ought to know at least one poet from cover to cover: if not as a guide through the world, then as a yardstick for the language.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Joseph Brodsky

God is the perfect poet.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Robert Browning

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

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

The worst tragedy for a poet is to be admired through being misunderstood.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Jean Cocteau

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

To a poet, silence is an acceptable response, even a flattering one.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

If a poet is anybody, he is somebody to whom things made matter very little - somebody who is obsessed by Making.
--------------------------------------------------------------------e. e. cummings

A poet is someone who stands outside in the rain hoping to be struck by lightning.
--------------------------------------------------------------------James Dickey

Great men are rare, poets are rarer, but the great man who is a poet, transfiguring his greatness, is the rarest of all events.
--------------------------------------------------------------------John Drinkwater

A poem is a naked person... Some people say that I am a poet.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Bob Dylan

I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I'll die like a poet.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Bob Dylan

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

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

A poet never takes notes. You never take notes in a love affair.
---------------------------------------------------------------------Robert Frost

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

A poet is a man who puts up a ladder to a star and climbs it while playing a violin.
---------------------------------------------------------------Edmond de Goncourt

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

The poet's expression of joy conceals his despair at not having found the reality of joy.
--------------------------------------------------------------------- Max Jacob

A poet is a man who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times.
----------------------------------------------------------------------Randall Jarrell

My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------John Lennon

For sure I once thought of myself as the poet who would save the ordinary from oblivion.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------Philip Levine

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

The poet does not know - often he will never know - whom he really writes for.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------Eugenio Montale

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

I've never read a political poem that's accomplished anything. Poetry makes things happen, but rarely what the poet wants.
------------------------------------------------------------------------Howard Nemerov

A subject for a great poet would be God's boredom after the seventh day of creation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------Friedrich Nietzsche

All a poet can do today is warn. That is why the truest poets must be truthful.
------------------------------------------------------------------------Wilfred Owen

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 also the physical self of the poet, and it is impossible to separate the poet from his poetry.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------Salvatore Quasimodo

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

The degree in which a poet's imagination dominates reality is, in the end, the exact measure of his importance and dignity.
----------------------------------------------------------------------George Santayana

Every good poet includes a critic, but the reverse is not true.
---------------------------------------------------------------------William Shenstone

The poet is a brother speaking to a brother of "a moment of their other lives"-a moment that had been buried beneath the dust of the busy world.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------Edith Sitwell

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

The poet is the priest of the invisible.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------Wallace Stevens

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

The poet is in command of his fantasy, while it is exactly the mark of the neurotic that he is possessed by his fantasy.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Lionel Trilling

A man is a poet if difficulties inherent in his art provide him with ideas; he is not a poet if they deprive him of ideas.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Paul Valery

The poet is a madman lost in adventure.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Paul Verlaine

The poet is in the end probably more afraid of the dogmatist who wants to extract the message from the poem and throw the poem away than he is of the sentimentalist who says, "Oh, just let me enjoy the poem."
-------------------------------------------------------------------Robert Penn Warren

A poet dares be just so clear and no clearer... He unzips the veil from beauty, but does not remove it. A poet utterly clear is a trifle glaring.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------E. B. White

It is true that the poet does not directly address his neighbors; but he does address a great congress of persons who dwell at the back of his mind, a congress of all those who have taught him and whom he has admired; they constitute his ideal audience and his better self.
----------------------------------------------------------------------Richard Wilbur

A poet can survive everything but a misprint.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Oscar Wilde

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


Lorna Dee Cervantes said...

Thanks for the great collection of poetry quotes.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Enjoyed these Nick - espeicially the quotes by Cocteau, Verlaine, and Lennon.

Robert said...

Nourishing. Thanks.

Collin said...

Interesting selection of quotes, but I find it odd that this is mostly old dead men. Did women have nothing of importance to say about poetry?

Nick said...

Lorna & Sam,

Glad you enjoyed.


And only 100 calories the serving!


Didn't you know that I was an old dead man once. ;-)