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About Poetry On Writing: A Personal View Quotes (On Writing)





(Information from "Writing Poetry"[The Writer, Inc.], by David Kirby)

A poem is a journey "that. . .entertains and edifies." As in any journey, writing (and reading) poetry involves known and unknown elements. This makes for quite an adventure!

Because a poem may be easy to understand does not mean it should be praised. A poem is not meant to always provide answers. Sometimes, it only asks the questions. . .

When we read a poem, we can "see, feel, and hear in it the poet's own bodily rhythms and sense of physical relationship to--or separation from--the world." And in so doing, this builds a relationship between the poet and the reader, provides a link with another. We respond to what we read--with laughter, smiles, sadness, despair, excitement. We feel.

But the amazing thing is that one will not feel exactly the same each time the poem is read. It is likened to taking a walk. You may walk the same path more than once, but you do not breath the same air, the trees may not look the same, plants that were merely green leaves before will have flowered, the ground that was overgrown with weeds may be snow-covered and pure, the wildlife encountered will not be exactly the same. This is one of the "great pleasures" of re-reading a poem: the discovery of certain elements not noticed before.

A poem, like a walk, will always be characteristic of its maker. Have you ever heard someone say he can tell a person from his walk? It is that way with a poem. One just knows a particular poem is by a certain poet. The poet shines through his poem.





(Printed in the Oct./Nov./Dec. 1996 Issue of "Feelings" [A Journal of Poetic Thought and Verse]


Writing is an extension of who I am. For one who is shy and afraid, it allows me to reach out to others, to peek curiosities, to teach a truth (and there are many), to express an opinion, to share myself. To call myself a "writer" evokes warm feelings of pride and accomplishment and self-worth, of belonging--feelings which otherwise do not frequent my heart...

When I read the works of other poets, I am inspired to "come clean", to express what I feel. Through their writing I have been taught that if one just opens his eyes, a poem can be found anywhere.

Most of my writing emerges from experiences, emotions or deep feelings. I believe that I have something to offer in sharing my poetry: Many times, people experience the same feelings but do not know how or are unable to express them. To see that someone else has felt the same or shared an experience provides a precious link with another, giving a sense of belonging, allowing a release of pent-up emotions, fears or anxieties.

Much of my writing is inspired by social/political/spiritual issues and situations and stems from love, the importance of friendship and other relationships, longings and fears. I believe that poetry, especially, allows for freedom of expression, and in that, there is freedom in expression.

Poems can be a source of humor, a release from stress, a tool to teach, an opinion, a fantasy--their significance is endless.

I believe poetry is for everyone, and with that ever in mind I strive for clarity and simplicity in my writing. In this regard, the words of Robert Frost have been a great influence: "Too many people have been intimidated in the class room...They have been taught to hunt for symbols, and, as a consequence, they enjoy the search more than the poem. They regard the lines as a challenge to their ingenuity; the poem is not something to delight, but to dissect. They are determined to find that what seems to be simple is merely a symbol for something that is complex. Not that I have anything against the study and even the practice of symbols. But there are times when symbolism is as bad as an embolism. The second can kill a person, the first a poem."

By Monica Ellen Smith



QUOTES (On Writing)

(Retrieved from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations)

The aim, if reached or not, makes great the life:

Try to be Shakespeare, leave the rest to fate!

Robert Browning


Not marble nor the gilded monuments

Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme.

William Shakespeare (about poetry)


A word is a bud attempting to become a twig. How can one not dream while writing? It is the pen which dreams. The blank page gives the right to dream.

Gaston Bachelard


The only living works are those which have drained much of the authorís own life into them.

Samuel Butler


Only poetry inspires poetry.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


The writing of a poem is like a child throwing stones into a mineshaft. You compose first, then you listen for the reverberation.

James Fenton


A poem . . . begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. . . . It finds the thought and the thought finds the words.

Robert Frost


Poetry is not an expression of the party line. Itís that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, thatís what the poet does.

Allen Ginsberg


If thereís no money in poetry, neither is there poetry in money.

Robert Graves


Poetry is the universal language which the heart holds with nature and itself. He who has a contempt for poetry, cannot have much respect for himself, or for anything else.

William Hazlitt


When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of manís concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.

John F. Kennedy


Poetry is what Milton saw when he went blind.

Don Marquis


The crown of literature is poetry. It is its end and aim. It is the sublimest activity of the human mind. It is the achievement of beauty and delicacy. The writer of prose can only step aside when the poet passes.

W. Somerset Maugham

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