Muriel Rukeyser

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

Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they

were not familiar.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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

Charles Simic

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

Gaston Bachelard

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

Poetry: the best words in the best order.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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

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

William Butler Yeats

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

Robert Frost

A poem begins with a lump in the throat.

Robert Frost

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

John Ruskin

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

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

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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 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

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

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

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

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


Steven Pinker

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

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

Mark Strand

I believe that all poetry is formal in that it exists within limits, limits that are either inherited by

tradition or limits that language itself imposes.

Mark Strand

Serious poetry deals with the fundamental conflicts that cannot be logically resolved: we can

state the conflicts rationally, but reason does not relieve us of them.

Allen Tate

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

Virginia Woolf

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


Wislawa Szymborska

The purpose of poetry is to remind us how difficult it is to remain just one person.

Czeslaw Milosz

Poetry. I, too, dislike it.


"imaginary gardens with real toads in them"

Marianne Moore

Ut pictura poesis.



("As is painting so is poetry.")

For the purposes of poetry, a convincing impossibility is preferable to an unconvincing



The poet being an imitator just like the painter or other maker of likenesses, he must necessarily

in all instances represent thigns in one or other of three aspects, either as they were or are, or

as they are said or thought to be or to have been, or as they ought to be. All this he does in

language, with an admixture, it may be, of strange words and metaphors, as also of the various

modified forms of words, since the use of these is conceded in poetry.



Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.




Poetry is life distilled.


Gwendolyn Brooks

Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.

Thomas Gray

Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life.

William Hazlitt

Poetry is the art of substantiating shadows.

Edmund Burke

The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps... so that something that is

poem can creep, crawl, flash or thunder in.


Dylan Thomas, Poetic Manifesto, 1961

not in the

Poetry must be blooded with circumstance.

Wallace Stevens

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion

recollected in tranquility.


Poetry Definitions

Ars Poetica

If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.
Emily Dickinson

A poem should not mean, but be.
Archibald MacLeish

What is poetry which does not save nations or peoples?
Czeslaw Milosz

Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry.