33 Quotes By Poets On Poetry

33 Quotes By Poets On Poetry

In this post, especially for poets and poetry lovers, we share a selection of our favourite quotes by poets on poetry.

  1. World Poetry Day is an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). It is a day to appreciate and support poets and poetry around the world. It is held on 21 March each year.
  2. In the USA, National Poetry Month is celebrated every April.

To celebrate, I chose these quotes by poets on poetry.

33 Quotes By Poets On Poetry

  1. A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language. ~W. H. Auden
  2. Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. ~Plato
  3. Poets are the sense, philosophers the intelligence of humanity. ~Samuel Beckett
  4. Everything you invent is true: you can be sure of that. Poetry is a subject as precise as geometry. ~Julian Barnes
  5. A poet’s work … to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it from going to sleep. ~Salman Rushdie
  6. Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary. ~Khalil Gibran
  7. What the world wants, what the world is waiting for, is not Modern Poetry or Classical Poetry or Neo-Classical Poetry — but Good Poetry. And the dreadful disreputable doubt, which stirs in my own sceptical mind, is doubt about whether it would really matter much what style a poet chose to write in, in any period, as long as he wrote Good poetry. ~G. K Chesterton
  8. Always be a poet, even in prose. ~Charles Baudelaire
  9. Poets are shameless with their experiences: they exploit them. ~Friedrich Nietzsche
  10. A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. ~Robert Frost
  11. You must have a certain amount of maturity to be a poet. Seldom do sixteen-year-olds know themselves well enough. ~Erica Jong
  12. Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity. ~William Wordsworth
  13. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal. ~T.S. Eliot
  14. Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down. ~Robert Frost
  15. Poetry cannot breathe in the scholar’s atmosphere. ~Henry David Thoreau
  16. ‘Therefore’ is a word the poet must not know. ~Andre Gide
  17. Don’t write love poems when you’re in love. Write them when you’re not in love. ~Richard Hugo
  18. Be brief, be buoyant, and be brilliant. ~Brander Matthews
  19. 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
  20. Use no superfluous word, no adjective, which does not reveal something. Don’t use such an expression as ‘dim land of peace’. It dulls the image. It mixes an abstraction with the concrete. It comes from the writer’s not realising that the natural object is always the adequate symbol. Go in fear of abstractions. ~Ezra Pound
  21. I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I’ll die like a poet. ~Bob Dylan
  22. Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toe nails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own. ~Dylan Thomas
  23. The poet is the priest of the invisible. ~Wallace Stevens
  24. Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings. ~W.H. Auden
  25. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. –Emily Dickinson
  26. Modesty is a virtue not often found among poets, for almost every one of them thinks himself the greatest in the world. ~Miguel de Cervantes
  27. Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose-petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo. ~Don Marquis
  28. Poets aren’t very useful. / Because they aren’t consumeful or very produceful. ~Ogden Nash
  29. I believe that every English poet should read the English classics, master the rules of grammar before he attempts to bend or break them, travel abroad, experience the horrors of sordid passion, and – if he is lucky enough – know the love of an honest woman. ~Robert Graves
  30. What makes you a poet is a gift for language, an ability to see into the heart of things, and an ability to deal with important unconscious material. When all these things come together, you’re a poet. But there isn’t one little gimmick that makes you a poet. There isn’t any formula for it. ~Erica Jong
  31. One of my secret instructions to myself as a poet is: ‘Whatever you do, don’t be boring.’ ~Anne Sexton
  32. All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling. ~Oscar Wilde
  33. Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words. ~Edgar Allan Poe

And here is the ideal ‘College for Bards‘ as daydreamed by W.H. Auden in his essay ‘The Poet and The City’ collected in The Dyer’s Hand.
33 Quotes By Poets On Poetry

Follow this link for more information about World Poetry Day.

by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this, read these poetry posts:

  1. Poetry 101: What Is A Poem?
  2. The Day Jobs of 12 Famous Poets
  3. 17 Of The Most Powerful Excerpts From Poetry
  4. How To Write And Talk About Poetry When You Don’t Have A Clue
  5. 7 Bits Of Poetry Advice From Mary Oliver
  6. 15 Reasons To Write Poetry
  7. How To Get An ‘A’ Analysing Poetry
  8. How To Use Emily Dickinson’s 4 Super Simple Writing Techniques
  9. Billy Collins’s 6 Pleasures Of Poetry
  10. Billy Collins’s 6 Elements Of A Poem

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Posted on: 21st March 2014