Quotations about   poetry

Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.



More books have resulted from somebody’s need to write than from anybody’s need to read.

Ashleigh Brilliant (b. 1933) Anglo-American writer, epigramist, cartoonist
Pot-Shots, #3273
    (Source)
Added on 23-Apr-21 | Last updated 23-Apr-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Brilliant, Ashleigh

If poetry is like an orgasm, an academic can be likened to someone who studies the passion-stains on the bedsheets.

Irving Layton (1912-2006) Romanian-Canadian poet [b. Israel Pincu Lazarovitch]
“Obs II,” The Whole Bloody Bird (1969)
    (Source)
Added on 1-Jun-17 | Last updated 1-Jun-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Layton, Irving

Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Studies,” Essays (1625)
Added on 29-Sep-16 | Last updated 29-Sep-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bacon, Francis

Fine natures are like fine poems; a glance at the first two lines suffices for a guess into the beauty that waits you, if you read on.

Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) English novelist and politician
My Novel, or Varieties in English Life (1853)
Added on 27-Sep-16 | Last updated 27-Sep-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Bulwer-Lytton, Edward George

Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

Chesterton - cheese - wist_info quote

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
“Cheese,” Alarms and Discursions (1911)
Added on 19-Jul-16 | Last updated 19-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Chesterton, Gilbert Keith

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing poetry.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) American poet
“There is no frigate like a book” (c. 1873)
Added on 7-Jul-16 | Last updated 7-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Dickinson, Emily

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.

Robert Frost (1874-1963) American poet
“The Figure a Poem Makes” (1939)
    (Source)
Added on 31-Aug-15 | Last updated 31-Aug-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Frost, Robert

I am very sure that any man of common understanding may, by proper culture, care, attention and labor, make himself whatever he pleases, except a great poet.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (9 Oct 1746)
Added on 7-May-15 | Last updated 7-May-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Chesterfield (Lord)

Sir, I admit your gen’ral Rule
That every Poet is a Fool;
But you yourself may serve to show it.
That ever Fool is not a Poet.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Epigram from the French” (1732)
Added on 15-Apr-15 | Last updated 15-Apr-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Pope, Alexander

Poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking.

John Wain (1925-1994) English poet, novelist, critic
Radio broadcast, BBC, London (13 Jan 1976)
Added on 2-Apr-15 | Last updated 2-Apr-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Wain, John

We may have an excellent Ear in Musick, without being able to perform in any kind. We may judge well of Poetry, without being Poets, or possessing the least of a Poetick Vein: But we can have no tolerable Notion of Goodness, without being tolerably good.

Anthony Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713) English politician and philosopher
Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, Vol. 1, “A Letter Concerning Enthusiasm” (1711)
Added on 5-Dec-14 | Last updated 5-Dec-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Shaftesbury, Earl of

I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
A Room of One’s Own, ch. 3 (1929)
Added on 9-Jun-14 | Last updated 9-Jun-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Woolf, Virginia

Life is a journey. Time is a river. The door is ajar.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Dead Beat (2005)
Added on 27-May-14 | Last updated 27-May-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Butcher, Jim

With a view to poetry, an impossible thing that is believable is preferable to an unbelievable thing that is possible.

[πρός τε γὰρ τὴν ποίησιν αἱρετώτερον πιθανὸν ἀδύνατον ἢ ἀπίθανον καὶ δυνατόν.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Poetics [Περὶ ποιητικῆς, De Poetica], ch. 24 / 1461b.11 (c. 335 BC) [tr. Sachs (2006)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

  • "The poet should prefer probable impossibilities to improbable possibilities." [tr. Butcher (1895)]
  • "A likely impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility." [tr. Bywater (1909)]
  • "You should prefer a plausible impossibility to an unconvincing possibility." [tr. Margoliouth (1911)]
  • "For poetic effect a convincing impossibility is preferable to that which is unconvincing though possible." [tr. Fyfe (1932)]
  • "Probable impossibilities are preferable to implausible possibilities." [tr. Halliwell (1986)]
  • "In relation to the needs of the composition, a believable impossibility is preferable to an unbelievable possibility." [tr. Janko (1987)]
  • "With respect to the requirement of art, the probable impossible is always preferable to the improbable possible."
  • "For the purposes of poetry a convincing impossibility is preferable to an unconvincing possibility."
Added on 21-Feb-11 | Last updated 10-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

Poetry demands a man with special gift for it, or else one with a touch of madness in him; the former can easily assume the required mood, and the latter may be actually beside himself with emotion.

[διὸ εὐφυοῦς ἡ ποιητική ἐστιν ἢ μανικοῦ: τούτων γὰρ οἱ μὲν εὔπλαστοι οἱ δὲ ἐκστατικοί εἰσιν.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Poetics [Περὶ ποιητικῆς, De Poetica], ch. 17 / 1455a.33 (c. 335 BC) [tr. Bywater (1909)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Fyfe (below) notes μανικός to mean "genius to madness near allied," and adds "Plato held that the only excuse for a poet was that he couldn't help it." A possible source of Seneca's "touch of madness" attribution to Aristotle. Alternate translations:

Poetry implies either a happy gift of nature or a strain of madness. In the one case a man can take the mould of any character; in the other, he is lifted out of his proper self.
[tr. Butcher (1895)]

Poetry is the work for the finely constituted or the hysterical; for the hysterical are impressionable, whereas the finely constituted are liable to outbursts.
[tr. Margoliouth (1911); whiles this seems backward, Margoliouth further explains in his footnote.]

Poetry needs either a sympathetic nature or a madman, the former being impressionable and the latter inspired.
[tr. Fyfe (1932)]

Hence the poetic art belongs either to a naturally gifted person or an insane one, since those of the former sort are easily adaptable and the latter are out of their senses.
[tr. Sachs (2006)]

In order to write tragic poetry, you must be either a genius who can adapt himself to anything, or a madman who lets himself get carried away.
[tr. Kenny (2013)]

Added on 14-Feb-11 | Last updated 10-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

Poetry is more philosophical and more serious than history; poetry utters universal truths, history particular statements.

[διὸ καὶ φιλοσοφώτερον καὶ σπουδαιότερον ποίησις ἱστορίας ἐστίν: ἡ μὲν γὰρ ποίησις μᾶλλον τὰ καθόλου, ἡ δ᾽ ἱστορία τὰ καθ᾽ ἕκαστον λέγει.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Poetics [Περὶ ποιητικῆς, De Poetica], ch. 9 / 1451b.5 (c. 335 BC) [tr. Kenny (2013)]

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Poetry, therefore, is a more philosophical and a higher thing than history: for poetry tends to express the universal, history the particular.
[tr. Butcher (1895)]

Poetry is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are of the nature rather of universals, whereas those of history are singulars.
[tr. Bywater (1909)]

Poetry is the more scientific and the higher class; for it generalizes rather, whereas history particularizes.
[tr. Margoliouth (1911)]

Poetry is something more scientific and serious than history, because poetry tends to give general truths while history gives particular facts.
[tr. Fyfe (1932)]

Poetry is more philosophical and more serious than history; in fact, poetry speaks more of universals, whereas history of particulars.
[tr. Halliwell (1986)]

Poetry is a more philosophical and more serious thing than history: poetry tends to speak of universals, history of particulars.
[tr. Janko (1987), sec. 3.2.3]

Poetry is more philosophical and more serious than history; poetry tends to speak of universals, history of particulars.
[tr. Janko (1987), sec. 3.2.3]

Poetry is more speculative and more serious business than history: for poetry deals more with universals, history with particulars.
[tr. Whalley (1997)]

Poetry is a more philosophical and more serious thing than history, since poetry speaks more of things that are universal, and history of things that are particular.
[tr. Sachs (2006)]

Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.
[tr. Unknown]

Added on 7-Feb-11 | Last updated 4-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

In my religion there would be no exclusive doctrine; all would be love, poetry and doubt.

Cyril Connolly (1903-1974) English intellectual, literary critic and writer.
The Unquiet Grave (1945)
Added on 11-Dec-07 | Last updated 17-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Connolly, Cyril

KEATING: We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

Tom Schulman (b. 1951) American screenwriter, director
Dead Poet’s Society (1989)
    (Source)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 18-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Schulman, Tom