Quotations by Ciardi, John


Boys are the cash of war. Whoever said
We’re not free-spenders doesn’t know our likes.

John Ciardi (1916-1986) American poet, writer, critic
“New Year’s Eve,” This Strangest Everything (1966)
Added on 26-Mar-14 | Last updated 26-Mar-14
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The day will happen whether or not you get up.

John Ciardi (1916-1986) American poet, writer, critic
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-Apr-20
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A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students.

John Ciardi (1916-1986) American poet, writer, critic
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Love is the word used to label the sexual excitement of the young, the habituation of the middle-aged, and the mutual dependence of the old.

John Ciardi (1916-1986) American poet, writer, critic
(Attributed)
Added on 3-Jun-20 | Last updated 3-Jun-20
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Intelligence recognizes what has happened. Genius recognizes what will happen.

John Ciardi (1916-1986) American poet, writer, critic
(Attributed)
Added on 10-Jun-20 | Last updated 10-Jun-20
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A man is what he does with his attention.

John Ciardi (1916-1986) American poet, writer, critic
(Attributed)

A personal maxim, it is mentioned in multiple contexts.
Added on 29-Jul-20 | Last updated 29-Jul-20
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Every game ever invented by mankind, is a way of making things hard for the fun of it. The great fun, of course, is in making the hard look easy.

John Ciardi (1916-1986) American poet, writer, critic
An Introduction to Literature: How does a poem mean? (1959)
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Added on 8-Jul-20 | Last updated 8-Jul-20
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Every parent is at some time the father of the unreturned prodigal, with nothing to do but keep his house open to hope.

John Ciardi (1916-1986) American poet, writer, critic
Saturday Review (1972)
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Added on 15-Jul-20 | Last updated 15-Jul-20
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But it’s no show just to protect the serious, the solemn, and the high-minded. We must protect the flippant, the zany, the heretical, and the downright queer. The Constitution gives every American the inalienable right to make a damn fool of himself.

John Ciardi (1916-1986) American poet, writer, critic
In Nation (27 Mar 1954)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Jul-20
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A human being is a deracinated caveman, as a caveman was a deracinated nephew of an ape. Everyone gets to be something by starting as something else — either that or he stays unevolved.

John Ciardi (1916-1986) American poet, writer, critic
In Vince Clemente, “‘A Man Is What He Does With His Attention’: A Conversation with John Ciardi,” Poesis, Vol. 7 #2 (1986)
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Added on 5-Aug-20 | Last updated 5-Aug-20
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When the violin repeats what the piano has just played, it cannot make the same sounds and it can only approximate the same chords. It can, however, make recognizably the same “music,” the same air. But it can do so only when it is as faithful to the self-logic of the violin as it is to the self-logic of the piano.

John Ciardi (1916-1986) American poet, writer, critic
Translator’s Note (1954) to Dante, The Inferno (1308-1320)
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Added on 22-Jul-20 | Last updated 22-Jul-20
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