Poetry is “the successful synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.”
“Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.”
“The longer I live, the more I see there's something about reciting rhythmical words aloud — it's almost biological — that comforts and enlivens human beings.”
“Poetry is, above all, a singing art of natural and magical connection because, though it is born out of one's person's solitude, it has the ability to reach out and touch in a humane and warmly illuminating way the solitude, even the loneliness, of others.
That is why, to me, poetry is one of the most vital treasures that humanity possesses;
it is a bridge between separated souls.”
“Poetry is ultimately mythology, the telling of stories of the soul. The old myths, the old gods, the old heroes have never died. They are only sleeping at the bottom of our minds, waiting for our call. We have need of them, for in their sum they epitomize the wisdom and experience of the race.”
“The poet: would rather eat a heart than a hambone.”
“There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money, either.”
“There is nothing but beauty — and beauty has only one perfect expression,
Poetry. All the rest is a lie.”
“It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”
William Carlos Williams
“For all the words of a poem both emerge from, and finally add up to silence, whatever beauty and terror that may mean.”
“Not every poem can sing like a drunk man, but it sure better swing punches”
“Like a piece of ice on a hot stove, the poem must ride on its own melting."
“Poetry is my love, my postmark, my hands, my kitchen, my face.”
“Gently make haste, of Labour not afraid;
A hundred times consider what you've said:
Polish, re-polish, every Colour lay,
And sometimes add; but oft'ner take away.
'Tis not enough, when swarming Faults are writ,
That here and there are scattered Sparks of Wit;
Each Object must be fix'd in the due place,
And diff'ring parts have Corresponding Grace:
'Till, by a curious Art dispos'd, we find
One perfect whole, of all the pieces join'd.
Keep your subject close, in all you say;
Nor for a sounding Sentence ever stray.”
The Art of Poetry [excerpt]
by Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
translated by John Dryden