Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does.
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.
Poetry is man's rebellion against being what he is.
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.
Written poetry is worth reading once, and then should be destroyed. Let the dead poets make way for others. Then we might even come to see that it is our veneration for what has already been created, however beautiful and valid it may be, that petrifies us.
Law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
Great poetry is always written by somebody straining to go beyond what he can do.
What is poetry which does not save nations or people?
Sir, what is poetry? Why, Sir, it is much easier to say what it is not. We all know what light is; but it is not easy to tell what it is.
There is all the poetry in the world in a name. It is a poem which the mass of men hear and read. What is poetry in the common sense, but a hearing of such jingling names? I want nothing better than a good word. The name of a thing may easily be more than the thing itself to me.
What is poetry? Do not enquire. The secret dies by prying. How does the heart beat? I fainted when I saw it on the screen, opening and closing like a flower ... Poetry is like this, it is life moving, terrible, vivid. Look the other way when you write, or you might faint.
If we ask a vague question, such as, 'What is poetry?' we expect a vague answer, such as, 'Poetry is the music of words,' or 'Poetry is the linguistic correction of disorder.'
What is poetry? The suggestion, by the imagination, of noble grounds for the noble emotions.
What, after all, is mathematics but the poetry of the mind, and what is poetry but the mathematics of the heart?
The bacillus of efficiency has also attacked football, and some dare to ask what's the point in playing well. I feel tempted to tell about the time they dared to ask Borges what is poetry for, to which he answered: 'What is a sunrise for? What are caresses for? What is the smell of coffee for?'
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