Poets on Poetry: Quotes, Mostly

What would we get if accountants and waiters and bowling alley attendants talked about their occupations the way poets do? 

Anyway…

This…

“The realm of conventionally articulate speech is not sufficient for saying what needs to be said.”

Nathaniel Mackey

“Yet the very incapacity of language to match the world allows it to do service as a medium of differentiation.”

Lyn Hejinian

“A poem’s task is to seduce—its readers or listeners must find in it something irresistible, something to which they want to surrender.”

Jane Hirshfield

“For me a poem must go beyond its setting or its particular to say outright or by subtle suggestion something about the human condition. If the gift without the giver is bare, the poem without the concept is emaciated…”

Maxine Kumin

“A poem is energy transferred from where the poet got it, by way of the poem itself to, all the way to the reader. The poem itself must, at all points, be a high energy-construct and, at all points, an energy-discharge.”

Charles Olson

but…

“Concentration on technique can absorb the attention while unacknowledged material enters the language; so technique can facilitate inspiration.”

Donald Hall

and…

“One has to know his tools, so he doesn’t work against himself. Tools make the job easier. More accuracy.”

Yusef Komunyakaa

“For it is not the greatness, the intensity, of the emotion, the components, but the intensity of the artistic process, the pressure, so to speak, under which the fusion takes place, that counts.”

T.S. Eliot

“I caution against communication, because once language exists only to convey information, it is dying.”

Richard Hugo

Ah…

“Whatever else we may think of this world—it is astonishing.”

Wislawa Szymborska

Yes…

“Every good poem asks a question, and every good poet asks every question.”

Kim Addonizio

Finally:

Everything is gestation and then bringing forth… patience is everything.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Most poets write the same poem over and over.

Richard Hugo

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