You don’t need to be the most profound poet on the earth before you can call yourself a poet. That’s a relief, considering my imperfections that coincide with me perfecting my practice. Whether you love writing poetry, reading poetry, or living the poetry, here’s a delightful little collection of quotes about poetry that almost pose as poems themselves.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” — Rumi
I start this collection of quotes off with the above quote from Rumi (a passionate 13th-century Persian Sunni Muslim poet, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic) because this is what poetry is to me: it is a river, a joy.
Everyone has a story. Mine—I prefer to write it like an endless poem. Bits of this pilgrimage delivered with full heart. It doesn’t always look like a poem, but it feels like one.
Certain days nothing comes to me at all; the river runs dry. Others are overwhelming they are so rich with messages, and it almost seems like I am racing alongside Inspiration to get the letters out fast enough. Mostly, it’s a mixture of everything. That’s life, I suppose.
Through poetry, I have discovered a message inside every pain; a teaching can be born from any emotion.
Poetry is a way to stay with something that is uncomfortable, long enough to make sense of it. The words that come out of that might not make sense at first but the essence of what is said brings a relief. It’s a reprieve not because it makes sense logically (at least, not at first) but because it makes sense if your heart is the one reading.
The following quotes about poetry read more like poems themselves (surprise) because they’re penned by some of the most revered poets we know.
26 Delightful Quotes about Poetry
1. “I think that we’re beginning to remember that the first poets didn’t come out of a classroom, that poetry began when somebody walked off of a savanna or out of a cave and looked up at the sky with wonder and said, “Ahhh.” That was the first poem.” — Lucille Clifton
2. “Poetry isn’t important in today’s culture, but the fact that it’s useless and people still continue to write it makes it important, in that weird, paradoxical, poetic sort of way.” — Aaron McCollough
3. “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” — Rita Dove
4. “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“A poem begins with delight and ends in wisdom.” — Robert Frost Click To Tweet
6. “The best poems say with words that which can’t be said with words.” — Rob Jacques
7. “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” — T. S. Eliot
8. “Poets are soldiers that liberate words from the steadfast possession of definition.” — Eli Khamarov
9. “Writing poetry is a state of free float.” — Margaret Atwood“The true poem rests between the words.” — Vanna Bonta Click To Tweet
11. “Poetry is a language in which man explores his own amazement.” — Christopher Fry
12. “There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it.” — Gustave Flaubert
13. “Poetry is just evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” — Leonard Cohen
14. “Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.” — Thomas Gray
15. “Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting.” — Robert Frost“If you can’t be a poet, be the poem.” — David Carradine Click To Tweet
17. “The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness.” — Christopher Morley
18. “Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” — Carl Sandburg
19. “If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?” — Emily Dickinson
20. “Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar.” — Percy Bysshe Shelley“Poetry is everywhere; it just needs editing.” — James Tate Click To Tweet
22. “What the poet has to convey is not “self-expression,” but a view of a reality common to all, seen from a unique perspective, which it is his duty as well as his pleasure to share with others.” — W. H. Auden
23. “Poetry can be dangerous, especially beautiful poetry, because it gives the illusion of having had the experience without actually going through it.” — Rumi
24. “Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.” — Carl Sandburg“Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.” — Lawrence Ferlinghetti Click To Tweet
26. “Dear Reader, beware. You think you’re reading my poems, but in truth, they are reading you. My words are mirrors and windows. Your reaction is merely a reflection of your own nature and experiences.” — John Mark Green
I’d also like to just say that if you’ve ever shared my work before (or would like to), I am so grateful for that kind of love. I think it’s the same kind of love that writes the poems.
Please share your favorite quotes about poetry, any cherished collections or books on poetry, an admired poet, or any thoughts at all on the topic with me in the comments.
Share a little poetic delight and wisdom with someone today; share these quotes about poetry to spark their flame.
Stay close to what feels like poetry.