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Every old poem is sacred.
My favourite poem is the one that starts ‘Thirty days hath September’ because it actually tells you something.
– Groucho Marx
No poem, not even Shakespeare or Milton or Chaucer, is ever strong enough to totally exclude every crucial precursor text or poem.
– Harold Bloom
Mostly the thought and the verse come inseparably. In my poem Poetics, it’s as close as I come to telling how I do it.
– Howard Nemerov
What we call a poem is mostly what is not there on the page. The strength of any poem is the poems that it has managed to exclude.
The only thing you can really say in a poem is what you really, really deeply believe.
– Jonathan Galassi
After the last line of a poem, nothing follows except literary criticism.
– Joseph Brodsky
What is it precisely, that feeling of ‘returning’ from a poem? Something is lighter, softer, larger – then it fades, but never completely.
– Ian Mcewan
I’ve got a poem that’s in a lot of international anthologies called ‘After the Anonymous Swedish’ and I thought, ‘Well, I’m a Swede. I can make up a Swedish poem.’ It turned out pretty good.
– Jim Harrison
One who writes a poem writes it because the language prompts, or simply dictates, the next line.
I used to stand on the corner in San Diego with poems sticking out of my hip pocket, asking people if there was a place where I could read poems. The audience is half of the poem.
– Juan Felipe Herrera
The novel is born of disillusionment; the poem, of despair.
– Jose Bergamin
A poem with grandly conceived and executed stanzas, such as one of Keats’s odes, should be like an enfilade of rooms in a palace: one proceeds, with eager anticipation, from room to room.
– James Fenton
It’s a maddening thing in itself to look at an old poem of yours. To translate it is even more maddening.
I don’t see that a single line can constitute a stanza, although it can constitute a whole poem.
Do not wait for a poem; a poem is too fast for you. Do not wait for the poem; run with the poem and then write the poem.
The only real evidence that any critic may bring before his gaze is the finished poem.
– Allen Tate
I am always pleased to be asked to write a poem.
– Carol Ann Duffy
I believe the poet shouldn’t be in the poem at all except as a lens or as ears.
– Alice Oswald
What is the poem, after it is written? That is the question. Not where it came from or why.
We know the particular poem, not what it says that we can restate.
I always say that I’ll have a go and see whether the poem works and if it does, then fine.
In a manner of speaking, the poem is its own knower, neither poet nor reader knowing anything that the poem says apart from the words of the poem.
To a poet, it’s quite ruinous to have a poem distorted, out of shape, or squeezed, shall we say, into this tiny screen. But I’m not sure big digital companies are sensitive to the needs of poets.
– Billy Collins
When I write a poem, I go into a state of self-forgetfulness, and something higher takes over; I like to call it my best self.
– Ben Okri
But in a lot of ways my poems are very conventional, and it’s no big deal for me to write a poem in either free verse or strict form; modern poets can, and do, do both.
– Andrew Motion
I write with a Uni-Ball Onyx Micropoint on nine-by-seven bound notebooks made by a Canadian company called Blueline. After I do a few drafts, I type up the poem on a Macintosh G3 and then send it out the door.
Well, it’s a badge of honour for any self-respecting poet to be criticized by Auberon Waugh. But in a lot of ways my poems are very conventional, and it’s no big deal for me to write a poem in either free verse or strict form; modern poets can, and do, do both.
How does one happen to write a poem: where does it come from? That is the question asked by the psychologists or the geneticists of poetry.
I did that Grammys thing – I did a little freeform poem.