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 :: Famous Quotations Topic: Poetry and Poets (140 Quotations)

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The poets did well to conjoin music and medicine, because the office of medicine is but to tune the curious harp of man's body.
~ Francis Bacon

 

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A poem records emotions and moods that lie beyond normal language, that can only be patched together and hinted at metaphorically.
~ Diane Ackerman

 

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Homer has taught all other poets the are of telling lies skillfully.
~ Aristotle

 

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Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.
~ Aristotle

 

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Written poetry is worth reading once, and then should be destroyed. Let the dead poets make way for others. Then we might even come to see that it is our veneration for what has already been created, however beautiful and valid it may be, that petrifies us.
~ Antonin Artaud

 

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There is the view that poetry should improve your life. I think people confuse it with the Salvation Army.
~ John Ashbery

 

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As a poet there is only one political duty, and that is to defend one's language against corruption. When it is corrupted, people lose faith in what they hear and this leads to violence.
~ W. H. Auden

 

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I cannot accept the doctrine that in poetry there is a ''suspension of belief.'' A poet must never make a statement simply because it is sounds poetically exciting; he must also believe it to be true.
~ W. H. Auden

 

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It is 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

 

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Poetry makes nothing happen. It survives in the valley of its saying.
~ W. H. Auden

 

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Rhymes, meters, stanza forms, etc., are like servants. If the master is fair enough to win their affection and firm enough to command their respect, the result is an orderly happy household. If he is too tyrannical, they give notice; if he lacks authority, they become slovenly, impertinent, drunk and dishonest.
~ W. H. Auden

 

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I've read some of your modern free verse and wonder who set it free.
~ John Barrymore

 

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

 

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Poetry and progress are like two ambitious men who hate one another with an instinctive hatred, and when they meet upon the same road, one of them has to give place.
~ Charles Baudelaire

 

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Who among us has not, in moments of ambition, dreamt of the miracle of a form of poetic prose, musical but without rhythm and rhyme, both supple and staccato enough to adapt itself to the lyrical movements of our souls, the undulating movements of our reveries, and the convulsive movements of our consciences? This obsessive ideal springs above all from frequent contact with enormous cities, from the junction of their innumerable connections.
~ Charles Baudelaire

 

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The fact that there are so many weak, poor and boring stories and novels written and published in America has been ascribed by our rebels to the horrible squareness of our institutions, the idiocy of power, the debasement of sexual instincts, and the failure of writers to be alienated enough. The poems and novels of these same rebellious spirits, and their theoretical statements, are grimy and gritty and very boring too, besides being nonsensical, and it is evident by now that polymorphous sexuality and vehement declarations of alienation are not going to produce great works of art either.
~ Saul Bellow

 

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Poetry is the impish attempt to paint the color of the wind.
~ Maxwell Bodenheim

 

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If a poet has any obligation toward society, it is to write well. Being in the minority, he has no other choice. Failing this duty, he sinks into oblivion. Society, on the other hand, has no obligation toward the poet. A majority by definition, society thinks of itself as having other options than reading verses, no matter how well written. Its failure to do so results in its sinking to that level of locution at which society falls easy prey to a demagogue or a tyrant. This is society's own equivalent of oblivion.
~ Joseph Brodsky

 

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In the works of the better poets you get the sensation that they're not talking to people any more, or to some seraphical creature. What they're doing is simply talking back to the language itself --as beauty, sensuality, wisdom, irony --those aspects of language of which the poet is a clear mirror. Poetry is not an art or a branch of art, it's something more. If what distinguishes us from other species is speech, then poetry, which is the supreme linguistic operation, is our anthropological, indeed genetic, goal. Anyone who regards poetry as an entertainment, as a ''read,'' commits an anthropological crime, in the first place, against himself.
~ Joseph Brodsky

 

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Poetry is life distilled.
~ Gwendolyn Brooks

 

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