Real Toads

Some Definitions

If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. (Emily Dickinson)

Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.  (Percy Bysshe Shelley)

A poet can survive everything but a misprint. (Oscar Wilde)

There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.  (Robert Graves)

Poets are soldiers that liberate words from the steadfast possession of definition. (Eli Khamarov)

It is the job of poetry to clean up our word-clogged reality by creating silences around things.  (Stéphane Mallarmé)

Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.  (Salvatore Quasimodo)

To have great poets there must be great audiences.  (Walt Whitman)

There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.  (John Cage)

Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.  (W.B. Yeats)

Perhaps no person can be a poet, or can even enjoy poetry, without a certain unsoundness of mind.  (Thomas Babington Macaulay)

Poetry, like the moon, does not advertise anything.  (William Blissett)

I have never known the police of any coun­try to show an inter­est in lyric poetry as such. But when poems stop talk­ing about the moon and begin to men­tion poverty, trade unions, color lines, and colonies, ome­body [always] tells the police. (Langston Hughes)

A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.  (Salman Rushdie)

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.  (T.S. Eliot)

Everything one invents is true, you may be perfectly sure of that.  Poetry is as precise as geometry.  (Gustave Flaubert)

Poetry is not a civilizer, rather the reverse, for great poetry appeals to the most primitive instincts.  (Robinson Jeffers)

Poems are bullshit unless they are / teeth or trees or lemons piled / on a step. (Amiri Baraka)

Poetry is. . .

the achievement of the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits. (Carl Sandburg)

the best words in the best order. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

just the evidence of life.  If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. (Leonard   Cohen)

the language in which man explores his own amazement.  (Christopher Fry)

nearer to vital truth than history.  (Plato)

a kind of ingenious nonsense.  (Isaac Newton)

          the art of uniting pleasure with truth by calling imagination to the help of reason.  (Samuel Johnson)

the supreme fiction. (Wallace Stevens)

          a momentary stay against confusion.  (Robert Frost)

the harmonious union of man with nature. (Thomas Carlyle)

imaginary gardens with real toads in them. (Marianne Moore)

what makes me laugh or cry or yawn, what makes my toenails twinkle, what makes   me want to do this or that or nothing. (Dylan Thomas)

the lava of the imagination whose eruption prevents an earthquake.  (Lord Byron)

certainly something more than good sense, but it must be good sense at all events; just as a palace is more than a house, but it must be a house, at least. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

          thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.  (Thomas Gray)

the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.  Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable.  Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away. (Carl Sandburg)

the music of the soul, and above all of great and feeling souls. (Voltaire)

life distilled. (Gwendolyn Brooks)

a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted. (Percy Bysshe Shelley)

the rhythmical creation of beauty. (Edgar Allan Poe)

the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings recollected in tranquility. (William Wordsworth)

not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. (T.S. Eliot)

what gets lost in translation. (Robert Frost)

prose bewitched. (Mina Loy)

verse: Prose is not verse. Or else poetry is everything with the exception of business documents and school books. (Leo Tolstoy)

the one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another. (Robert Frost)








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