Happy Birthday, Billy Collins, born 22 March 1941
- The mind can be trained to relieve itself on paper.
- You come by your style by learning what to leave out. At first you tend to overwrite—embellishment instead of insight. You either continue to write puerile bilge, or you change. In the process of simplifying oneself, one often discovers the thing called voice.
- High School is the place where poetry goes to die.
- A sentence starts out like a lone traveller heading into a blizzard at midnight, tilting into the wind, one arm shielding his face, the tails of his thin coat flapping behind him.
- Poetry is my cheap means of transportation. By the end of the poem the reader should be in a different place from where he started. I would like him to be slightly disoriented at the end, like I drove him outside of town at night and dropped him off in a cornfield.
- The first line is the DNA of the poem; the rest of the poem is constructed out of that first line. A lot of it has to do with tone because tone is the key signature for the poem. The basis of trust for a reader used to be meter and end-rhyme.
- A motto I’ve adopted is, if at first you don’t succeed, hide all evidence that you ever tried.
Collins is an American poet, appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003.
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write
World Poetry Day - 21 March →
#World Poetry Day
#33 Quotes on Poetry
#Poets on Poetry
World Poetry Day is an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It is a day to appreciate and support poets and poetry around the world. It is held on 21 March each year.
To celebrate, I chose these quotes by poets on poetry.
33 Quotes On Poetry
- A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language. ~W. H. Auden
- Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. ~Plato
- Poets are the sense, philosophers the intelligence of humanity. ~Samuel Beckett
- Everything you invent is true: you can be sure of that. Poetry is a subject as precise as geometry. ~Julian Barnes
- 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
- Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary. ~Khalil Gibran
- 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
- Always be a poet, even in prose. ~Charles Baudelaire
- Poets are shameless with their experiences: they exploit them. ~Friedrich Nietzsche
- A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. ~Robert Frost
- You must have a certain amount of maturity to be a poet. Seldom do sixteen-year-olds know themselves well enough. ~Erica Jong
- Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity. ~William Wordsworth
- Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal. ~T.S. Eliot
- Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down. ~Robert Frost
- Poetry cannot breathe in the scholar’s atmosphere. ~Henry David Thoreau
- 'Therefore' is a word the poet must not know. ~Andre Gide
- Don’t write love poems when you’re in love. Write them when you’re not in love. ~Richard Hugo
- Be brief, be buoyant, and be brilliant. ~Brander Matthews
- 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
- 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
- I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I’ll die like a poet. ~Bob Dylan
- 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
- The poet is the priest of the invisible. ~Wallace Stevens
- Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings. ~W.H. Auden
- If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. ~Emily Dickinson
- 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
- Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose-petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo. ~Don Marquis
- Poets aren’t very useful. / Because they aren’t consumeful or very produceful. ~Ogden Nash
- 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
- 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
- One of my secret instructions to myself as a poet is: “Whatever you do, don’t be boring.” ~Anne Sexton
- All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling. ~Oscar Wilde
- Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words. ~Edgar Allan Poe
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by Amanda Patterson
Happy Birthday, Dorianne Laux, born 10 January 1952
- Good writing works from a simple premise: your experience is not yours alone, but in some sense a metaphor for everyone’s.
- When I wrote the poems that would become my first book, I didn’t think of it as a book, but rather as a need to understand the basic questions that all human beings ask: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? What is beauty? Why is there suffering? Where is truth?
- Writing and reading are the only ways to find your voice. It won’t magically burst forth in your poems the next time you sit down to write, or the next; but little by little, as you become aware of more choices and begin to make them — consciously and unconsciously — your style will develop.
- I write to add my voice to the sum of voices, to be part of the choir. I write to be one sequin among the shimmering others, hanging by a thread from the evening gown of the world. I write to remember. I write to forget myself, to be so completely immersed in the will of the poem that when I look up from the page I can still smell the smoke from the house burning in my brain. I write to destroy the blank page, unravel the ink, use up what I’ve been given and give it away. I write to make the trees shiver at the sliver of sun slipping down the axe blade’s silver lip. I write to hurt myself again, to dip my fingertip into the encrusted pool of the wound. I write to become someone else, that better, smarter self that lives inside my dumbstruck twin. I write to invite the voices in, to watch the angel wrestle, to feel the devil gather on its haunches and rise. I write to hear myself breathing. I write to be doing something while I wait to be called to my appointment with death. I write to be done writing. I write because writing is fun.
- A poem is like a child; at some point we have to let it go and trust that it will make its own way in the world.
Laux is an award-winning American poet.
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write
Happy Birthday, Sharon Olds, born 19 November 1942
- I was a late bloomer. But anyone who blooms at all, ever, is very lucky.
- Well, one thing I’m really interested in, when I’m writing, is being accurate.
- Metaphors come to me – similes most of all. This is even if I’m just writing an ordinary poem – I mean a poem that isn’t about death or love. When I focus on an idea or a thing, similes arise in my mind. They feel to me as if they come out of the end of my pen. I have no power to bring them on – except by sitting down and writing, but then it’s up to them. It really does feel to me as though they’re coming out of the pen as a result of this attention.
- I think this is true for all artists. My senses are very important to me.
- I’m not sure that the benefit - as a writer and as a citizen - that I would get from reading at least the front page of the Times every day or every other day would outweigh the depression.
- My first drafts are not stream of consciousness; they aren’t free-writing in any way; they aren’t prose—a lot of poets start with prose, but I don’t. For me, they’re mostly four beat lines. If I start and I go wrong, I start writing it over.
- Take your vitamins. Exercise. Just work to love yourself as much as you can—not more than the people around you but not so much less.
Olds is an American poet who has been the recipient of many awards including the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award, and she is the first American woman to win the TS Eliot Prize.
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write
Literary Birthday - 6 August
Happy Birthday, Alfred Tennyson, born 6 August 1809, died 6 October 1892
Alfred Tennyson: 10 Quotes
- For man is man and master of his fate.
- It is unconceivable that the whole Universe was merely created for us who live in this third-rate planet of a third-rate moon.
- Sometimes the heart sees what’s invisible to the eye.
- 'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
- Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.
- He makes no friends who never made a foe.
- Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die.
- I am a part of all that I have met.
- The same words conceal and declare the thoughts of men.
- If I had a flower for every time I thought of you…I could walk through my garden forever.
The Lady of Shalott
She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.
Lord Tennyson was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria’s reign and remains one of the most popular British poets. He was the most famous poet of the Victorian age, and he was a profound spokesman for the ideas and values of his times. Tennyson excelled at short lyrics like The Charge of the Light Brigade. He based much of his verse on classical mythology, such as Ulysses. Tennyson also wrote blank verse including Idylls of the King. He is the ninth most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.
by Amanda Patterson from Writers Write