When I first taught writing in prison, I was surprised how popular poetry was. Maybe poetry helps men express the deep feelings that they can’t say any other way. Poetry is so wonderful, I want others to speak about it, not my meager words:

The man is either crazy or he is a poet. Horace

It seems that God took away the minds of poets that they might better express His. Socrates.

Poetry is like fish: if it’s fresh, it’s good; if it’s stale, it’s bad; and if you’re not certain, try it on the cat. (Osbert Sitwell)

Of our conflicts with others we make rhetoric; of our conflicts with ourselves we make poetry. (Yeats)

Poetry is what Milton saw when he went blind. Don Marquis

Poetry is the impish attempt to paint the color of the wind. Ben Hecht.

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

Poetry is the bill and coo of sex. Elbert Hubbard.

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

Poetry is all nouns and verbs. Marianne Moore.

Poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking. John Wain.

There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money either. Robert Graves
Who shall measure the heat and violence of the poet’s heart when caught and tangled in a woman’s body? Virginia Woolf

Etheridge Knight, who, shortly before his release from Indiana State Prison in 1968 summed up his life very simply: “I died in Korea from a shrapnel wound and narcotics resurrected me. I died in 1960 from a prison sentence and poetry brought me back to life.”


4 responses to “Poetry

  1. Great collection of quotes about poetry from some wonderful writers. I used to think poetry that didn’t rhyme was cheating. Now I understand the beauty of free verse. It’s freedom.

    • Thanks, Lorna. So many people are caught in the ‘rhyming poetry’ thing. And they sacrifice meaning for rhyme. Someone told me, If you want to write rhyming poetry, be prepared to work very hard

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