118 Quotes About Poetry

Poetry is one of the most beautiful and moving forms of communication. It can inspire us, make us laugh, and even make us cry.

There are so many wonderful quotes about poetry out there, and we’ve compiled a list of our favorites. Whether you’re a diehard poetry lover or just appreciate the occasional poem, we hope you enjoy these 118 quotes about poetry!

Quotes About Poetry

1. All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling. – Oscar Wilde

2. A poet can survive everything but a misprint. – Oscar Wilde

3. Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things. – T. S. Eliot

4. Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words. – Robert Frost

5. A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. – Robert Frost

6. Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary. – Khalil Gibran

7. Poetry is what gets lost in translation. – Robert Frost

8. Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words. – Edgar Allan Poe

9. Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood. – T. S. Eliot

10. Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. – Plato

11. I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything. – Steven Wright

12. One merit of poetry few persons will deny: it says more and in fewer words than prose. – Voltaire

13. The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. – Gilbert K. Chesterton

14. Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. – Plutarch

15. Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance. – Carl Sandburg

16. A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language. – W. H. Auden

17. A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep. – Salman Rushdie

18. To have great poets, there must be great audiences. – Walt Whitman

19. Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life. – William Hazlitt

20. Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during the moment. – Carl Sandburg

21. Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth. – Samuel Johnson

22. A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself. – E. M. Forster

23. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one. – John Ruskin

24. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. – Percy Bysshe Shelley

25. Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. – Leonard Cohen

26. Always be a poet, even in prose. – Charles Baudelaire

27. No poems can please for long or live that are written by water drinkers. – Horace

28. A poem is never finished, only abandoned. – Paul Valery

29. Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits. – Carl Sandburg

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

31. Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo. – Don Marquis

32. Everything one invents is true, you may be perfectly sure of that. Poetry is as precise as geometry. – Gustave Flaubert

33. ‘Therefore’ is a word the poet must not know. – Andre Gide

34. Poetry should… should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance. – John Keats

35. Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted. – Percy Bysshe Shelley

36. You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you. – Joseph Joubert

37. The poet doesn’t invent. He listens. – Jean Cocteau

38. A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses. – Jean Cocteau

39. Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason. – Novalis

40. He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never written a line in all his life. – George Sand

41. There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either. – Robert Graves

42. God is the perfect poet. – Robert Browning

43. If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the inquisition might have let him alone. – Thomas Hardy

44. Children and lunatics cut the Gordian knot which the poet spends his life patiently trying to untie. – Jean Cocteau

45. There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing. – John Cage

46. If you cannot be a poet, be the poem. – David Carradine

47. A poet’s autobiography is his poetry. Anything else is just a footnote. – Yevgeny Yevtushenko

48. Poetry is ordinary language raised to the Nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words. – Paul Engle

49. A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman. – Wallace Stevens

50. The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth. – Jean Cocteau

51. No poem is easily grasped so why should any reader expect fast results? – John Barton

52. Poetry: the best words in the best order. – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

53. Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry. – Muriel Rukeyser

54. Even when poetry has a meaning, as it usually has, it may be inadvisable to draw it out… Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure. – A. E. Housman

55. Every single soul is a poem. – Michael Franti

56. A poem can have an impact, but you can’t expect an audience to understand all the nuances. – Douglas Dunn

57. Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful. – Rita Dove

58. Each memorable verse of a true poet has two or three times the written content. – Alfred de Musset

59. The moment of change is the only poem. – Adrienne Rich

60. To read a poem is to hear it with our eyes to hear it is to see it with our ears. – Octavio Paz

61. You don’t have to suffer to be a poet adolescence is enough suffering for anyone. – John Ciardi

62. I sometimes talk about the making of a poem within the poem. – Howard Nemerov

63. Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn. – Thomas Gray

64. If you read quickly to get through a poem to what it means, you have missed the body of the poem. – M. H. Abrams

65. The poem is a little myth of man’s capacity of making life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see-it is, rather, a light by which we may see-and what we see is life. – Robert Penn Warren

66. The poet may be used as a barometer, but let us not forget that he is also part of the weather. – Lionel Trilling

67. Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads. – Marianne Moore

68. The novel is born of disillusionment the poem, of despair. – Jose Bergamin

69. Everyone thinks they’re going to write one book of poems or one novel. – Marilyn Hacker

70. Sometimes poetry is inspired by the conversation entered into by reading other poems. – John Barton

71. I still read Donne, particularly his love poems. – Carol Ann Duffy

72. I like poems that are little games. – Peter Davison

73. Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own. – Salvatore Quasimodo

74. Usually a life turned into a poem is misrepresented. – Mark Strand

75. Pain is filtered in a poem so that it becomes finally, in the end, pleasure. – Mark Strand

76. Poets are soldiers that liberate words from the steadfast possession of definition. – Eli Khamarov

77. You don’t make a poem with ideas, but with words. – Stephane Mallarme

78. A poem might be defined as thinking about feelings – about human feelings and frailties. – Anne Stevenson

79. Each word bears its weight, so you have to read my poems quite slowly. – Anne Stevenson

80. We all write poems it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words. – John Fowles

81. There’ll always be working people in my poems because I grew up with them, and I am a poet of memory. – Philip Levine

82. One will never again look at a birch tree, after the Robert Frost poem, in exactly the same way. – Paul Muldoon

83. You don’t help people in your poems. I’ve been trying to help people all my life – that’s my trouble. – Charles Olson

84. Wanted: a needle swift enough to sew this poem into a blanket. – Charles Simic

85. A poem conveys not a message so much as the provenance of a message, an advent of sense. – Thomas Harrison

86. However, if a poem can be reduced to a prose sentence, there can’t be much to it. – James Schuyler

87. How do poems grow? They grow out of your life. – Robert Penn Warren

88. The poem is the point at which our strength gave out. – Richard Rosen

89. Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them. – Charles Simic

90. Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them. – Dennis Gabor

91. Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. – Albert Einstein

92. All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry. – Edgar Allan Poe

93. When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. – John F. Kennedy

94. Listen, real poetry doesn’t say anything it just ticks off the possibilities. Opens all doors. You can walk through anyone that suits you. – Jim Morrison

95. I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean. – Socrates

96. If my poetry aims to achieve anything, it’s to deliver people from the limited ways in which they see and feel. – Jim Morrison

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

98. Hence poetry is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are rather of the nature of universals, whereas those of history are singulars. – Aristotle

99. I read poetry to save time. – Marilyn Monroe

100. I don’t think I’ve ever read poetry, ever. – Eminem

101. I’m sorry, man, but I’ve got magic. I’ve got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time – and this includes naps – I’m an F-18, bro. And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground. – Charlie Sheen

102. I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business. – Henry David Thoreau

103. Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat. – Robert Frost

104. Poetry is about the grief. Politics is about the grievance. – Robert Frost

105. Wine is bottled poetry. – Robert Louis Stevenson

106. With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion. – Edgar Allan Poe

107. It’s not easy to define poetry. – Bob Dylan

108. I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty. – Edgar Allan Poe

109. Some people go to priests others to poetry I to my friends. – Virginia Woolf

110. The beauty, the poetry of the fear in their eyes. I didn’t mind going to jail for, what, five, six hours? It was absolutely worth it. – Johnny Depp

111. Personality is everything in art and poetry. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

112. If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. – Emily Dickinson

113. Science arose from poetry… when times change the two can meet again on a higher level as friends. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

114. Superstition is the poetry of life. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

115. It is time to get drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk get drunk without stopping! On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish. – Charles Baudelaire

116. Poetry has done enough when it charms, but prose must also convince. – H. L. Mencken

117. Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves. – T. S. Eliot

118. Love is the poetry of the senses. – Honore de Balzac

We hope you enjoyed this collection of quotes. Check out our picture quote of the day here.

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