The reading of a poem should be an experience. Its writing must be all the more so.
Topics: Authors & Writing
To be young is all there is in the world. They talk so beautifully about work and having a family and a home (and I do, too, sometimes)—but it’s all worry and head-aches and respectable poverty and forced gushing. Telling people how nice it is, when, in reality, you would give all of your last thirty years for one of your first thirty. Old people are tremendous frauds.
The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence.
Successful careers are those that realize in the man the dreams of the child.
Everything is complicated; if that were not so, life and poetry and everything else would be a bore.
The pears are not viols,
Nudes or bottles.
They resemble nothing else.
They are yellow forms
Composed of curves
Bulging toward the base.
They are touched red.
They are not flat surfaces
Having curved outlines.
They are round
Tapering toward the top.
In the way they are modelled
There are bits of blue.
A hard dry leaf hangs
From the stem.
The yellow glistens.
It glistens with various yellows,
Citrons, oranges and greens
Flowering over the skin.
The shadows of the pears
Are blobs on the green cloth.
The pears are not seen
As the observer wills.
In poetry, you must love the words, the ideas and the images and rhythms with all your capacity to love anything at all
The genuine artist is never “true to life.” He sees what is real, but not as we are normally aware of it. We do not go storming through life like actors in a play. Art is never real life.
One cannot spend one’s time in being modern when there are so many more important things to be.
Civilization must be destroyed. The hairy saints of the North have earned this crumb by their complaints.
What our eyes behold may well be the text of life but one’s meditations on the text and the disclosures of these meditations are no less a part of the structure of reality.
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
Poetry has to be something more than a conception of the mind. It has to be a revelation of nature. Conceptions are artificial. Perceptions are essential.
How full of trifles everything is! It is only one’s thoughts that fill a room with something more than furniture.
The day of the sun is like the day of a king. It is a promenade in the morning, a sitting on the throne at noon, a pageant in the evening.
Unfortunately there is nothing more inane than an Easter carol? It is a religious perversion of the activity of Spring in our blood.
Most modern reproducers of life, even including the camera, really repudiate it. We gulp down evil, choke at good.
The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream
Democritus plucked his eye out because he could not look at a woman without thinking of her as a woman. If he had read a few of our novels, he would have torn himself to pieces.
Topics: Authors & Writing, Fiction
If poetry should address itself to the same needs and aspirations, the same hopes and fears, to which the Bible addresses itself, it might rival it in distribution.
The imagination is man’s power over nature.
The poet is the priest of the invisible.
It is not everyday that the world arranges itself into a poem.
I can’t make head or tail of Life. Love is a fine thing, Art is a fine thing, Nature is a fine thing; but the average human mind and spirit are confusing beyond measure. Sometimes I think that all our learning is the little learning of the maxim. To laugh at a Roman awe-stricken in a sacred grove is to laugh at something today.
Topics: Proverbs, Mankind, Man
The bread of life is better than any souffle.
Intolerance respecting other people’s religion is toleration itself in comparison with intolerance respecting other people’s art.
Death is the mother of Beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires.
To regard the imagination as metaphysics is to think of it as part of life, and to think of it as part of life is to realize the extent of artifice. We live in the mind.
I thought how utterly we have forsaken the Earth, in the sense of excluding it from our thoughts. There are but few who consider its physical hugeness, its rough enormity. It is still a disparate monstrosity, full of solitudes, barrens, wilds. It still dwarfs, terrifies, crushes. The rivers still roar, the mountains still crash, the winds still shatter. Man is an affair of cities. His gardens, orchards and fields are mere scrapings. Somehow, however, he has managed to shut out the face of the giant from his windows. But the giant is there, nevertheless.
It is the unknown that excites the ardor of scholars, who, in the known alone, would shrivel up with boredom.
Poetry is the statement of a relation between a man and the world.
Accuracy of observation is the equivalent of accuracy of thinking.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Stanley Kunitz American Poet
- Mark Van Doren American Poet, Critic
- Howard Nemerov American Poet, Novelist
- Conrad Aiken American Poet, Novelist
- Archibald MacLeish American Poet, Dramatist
- Norman Mailer American Novelist, Journalist
- Theodore Roethke American Poet
- Robert Frost American Poet
- Marianne Moore American Poet
- Sylvia Plath American Poet, Novelist