10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing By Galway Kinnell

“A poet should not call himself a ‘poet’, being a poet is so marvelous an accomplishment that it would be boasting to say it of oneself.”

“Perhaps poetry will be the canary in the mine-shaft warning us of what’s to come.”

“That’s the way it is with poetry: When it is incomprehensible it seems profound, and when you understand it, it is only ridiculous.”

“One thing that leads one into poetry is an interest in words. Not words as written things with a referent, but words as sound that the body produces, that fill the mouth and that are therefore in some way psychically identified with the thing they’re talking about. And that have a content which can’t be reduced to a definition. Like ‘spartled.’ ”

“To me, poetry is somebody standing up, so to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment”

“It’s the poet’s job to figure out what’s happening within oneself, to figure out the connection between the self and the world, and to get it down in words that have a certain shape, that have a chance of lasting.”

“Prose is walking; poetry is flying”

“When you write well, there is a kind of special mood that comes upon you, different, I suppose, for every person, but for everyone different from just the normal, day-to-day way they feel. And words seem to come on their own. You’re understanding them and shaping them, and yet they come out saying things that you didn’t know you could say.”

“There are two versions to every poem – the crying version and the straight version”

“Most good poems address themselves to things that we all know about, and the only preparation we need, as readers, is a kind of paying of respect to our inner life, to the feelings we have that are of no practical importance: the sense of strangeness and the hauntedness of existence; the fragility of our position on the globe, and the fragility of the globe itself; this very peculiar situation we’re in, self-conscious creatures who know that we’re lost in some kind of existence that we don’t understand at all.”

—Galway Kinnell

10 Great Quotes About Poetry, Writing, and Art by Don Paterson

“Poetry is unlike other art forms because you can’t really do it for a living. It seems more a helpless disposition. I always think poetry may be one corner of a larger syndrome. It often involves obsessive and addictive personalities – and mental illness. Most poets can’t drive a car and the ones who do drive shouldn’t.”

“Poetry is the science of nuance in language.”

“A poetic form is essentially a codified pattern of silence. We have a little silence at the end of a line, a bigger one at the end of a stanza, and a huge one at the end of the poem. The semantic weight of the poem tends to naturally distribute itself according to that pattern of silence, paying special care to the sounds and meanings of the words and phrases that resonate into the little empty acoustic of the line-ending, or the connecting hallway of stanza-break, or the big church of the poem’s end.”

“Mediocre art is far worse than bad art. Bad art does not waste our time.”

“The poem, in a sense, is no more or less than a little machine for remembering itself … Poetry is therefore primarily a commemorative act.”

“Poems are deliberately unstable statements, where you’re supposed to see yourself in the thing — if the poem is any good.”

“I think there are real mistakes in thinking you have something called “your voice”, because that just leads rapidly to self-impersonation. Then you just sit down to write another poem that sounds like you, and that’s just self-censorship, and it leads to terrible repetition. The big danger is that people fall in love with their own voices. I’m sure I do too, but I try to avoid it.”

“If you write poetry, it’s your own damn fault.”

“People need to learn to have patience with the language. Most people can write a pretty good line, but a really good line can start with a tiny gesture or small shift in language or shift, that takes time. Big revisions are necessary in the beginning, larger seismic shifts, but I always think that publication is the point of being finished, and if you don’t have that in mind, that idea of public art, the whole relationship is incorrectly configured from the start. As you start to anticipate that condition and somebody else’s eye on it, then that really helps you write your best lines. You have to read it as someone else’s poem.”

—Don Paterson

The International Imaginarium For Word & Verse (November 29th, 2022)

Dear Readers,

Here is the link to the very last edition of The International Imaginarium for Word & Verse for the year 2022 featuring the incredible 2021 Stanley Kunitz Medal-winning poet Eve Rifkah posted last Tuesday night on our new Imaginarium website for you to hopefully peruse and enjoy at your leisure.

I want to thank my fellow bloggers John Ormsby,  Angela Wilson (AKA poetisatinta), and (Gypsie) Ami Offenbacher-Ferris for graciously accepting my invitation to participate which I previously posted on this blog. Like last time, I have decided not to repost the entire Imaginarium here on this blog as I have often done with previous editions of the Virtual Poetorium because I feel that it is probably too long a read and thus far too overwhelming for most of my readers (as a result, some really excellent poetry might be skipped, and that would be a real shame). So instead, I will just post this month’s Imaginarium group poem (which is probably one of my favorite segments of both the Poetorium and the Imaginarium). Since this was our last group poem of the year, the theme is fittingly the year 2022. Contributors were asked to send us one to a dozen lines beginning with either “This was the year of…” or “This was the year that…”. All contributions we received were then compiled and included in this month’s Imaginarium Group Poem. I want to thank Howard J Kogan, Karen Durlach, and Angela Wilson (AKA Poetisatinta) for participating and making the following poem possible (Angela’s contribution can be found published as an individual poem on her website Let’s Write…)…

The Year 2022

This was the year the threatened
Red Tide happily died at sea.

This was the year we stopped
mentioning his name,
people even gave up Bridge.

This was the year of discovery and recovery
but for some, a year of death and misery
a year of hypocrisy, invasion, and migration
of numerous variants and vast inflation
while we observed the effects of climate alteration
and now there’s controversy with the World Cup situation.
In the UK we had a glut of Prime Ministers
and the cost of electricity is bleeding us dry
there was joy in June celebrating the jubilee
but tears within months when we had to say goodbye
as a nation we joined together in the mourning
but now we have hope with the rise of a king.

This was the year of 8 billion
8 billion sets of hopes and dreams
8 billion sets of needs and wants and hungers.
Gaia tipped over, spilled tears of blood,
of flood, dry tears of drought,
melting ice, enflamed with fires, war.
8 billion thinking themselves autonomous,
each filled with billions more microbes,
bacterias, viruses, fungi, living in symbiosis,
more resilient than the vessels,
poised to evolve again.

—The International Imaginarium Group Poem for November 29th, 2022

An Invitation to Participate in the Final International Imaginarium For Word & Verse of 2022…

Dear Readers,

I’d like to invite you all to participate in what will be our very last International Imaginarium For Word & Verse of 2022 featuring the 2021 Stanley Kunitz Medal-winning poet, Eve Rifkah (I’d love to have a Christmas-themed Imaginarium this December like we did with the Virtual Ho-Ho-Etorium last year and the year before, but unfortunately I don’t think I‘ll have the time during this hectic holiday season) that I will be posting on the Imaginarium website on the evening of Tuesday, November 29th. To be part of our Imaginarium open mic, please send up to three of your own original poems or stories (they can be Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year-themed or no particular theme at all, whatever you like to share) either in a Word document file or pasted in the body of an email along with your name, any opening remarks you care to make, and where your poem has appeared if it was previously published to poetorium@mail.com by Sunday, November 27th. Also if you like, you can send us a photo of yourself to be posted above your poem or story, but that is totally optional.

Like always, we also need contributions to this month’s Imaginarium group poem. Since this will be our last group poem of the year, the theme will fittingly be the year 2022, so please send us one to a dozen lines beginning with either “This was the year of…” or “This was the year that…”. All contributions (which will remain anonymous unless otherwise requested) will be compiled and included in this month’s Imaginarium Group Poem to be tentatively titled “2022″. Once again, the deadline for submissions is the night of Sunday, November 27th, 2022.

If you have any questions about submitting to the virtual open mic, the group Imaginarium poem, or anything else about the International Imaginarium For Word & Verse itself, please leave them in the comments of this post, and I will try to answer them right away.

If you’ve been meaning to participate in the Imaginarium, but have been putting it off, please keep in mind this will be your last chance this year. As always, I appreciate everyone’s continued support of this blog. I hope to hear from you soon with your contributions to the last edition of the International Imaginarium of 2022! Thank you so much for reading, and have a fabulous Thanksgiving, folks!

10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing By Diane Seuss

“Writing is really difficult. It taxes every part of you. It’s a lifelong practice, not a month-long or a year-long.”

“My revision process may be a bit unusual, in that I usually revise within a very brief window of opportunity. I have written poems for so long that I write them with (at least) two minds—the present tense improvisor, and the revisor, with a longer view. I don’t move on until I get that particular poem, the poem-of-the-moment, right.”

“The sonnet, like poverty, teaches you what you can do without.”

“There are more poets than pigeons these days. I’ve known poets who aged gracefully into silence. I’d like to keep writing as long as I can because it feels good; it’s always been who I am. I don’t know how it will go down, if I’ll write myself into the grave or someday or other find I’m out of words. Maybe I’ll turn into a poem, and writing more will seem redundant.”

“Therapy is therapy. Poetry is poetry. Reading or writing a poem can be a therapeutic experience in the broadest sense of the word, but for me, poems don’t offer relief in the way we might hope therapy does. They can offer wisdom, which I think unfolds through study and time, and wisdom is often complicating, not a panacea. There are ideas in poems that I couldn’t begin to untangle when I first read them. Making use of them is a whole other story. It can take years. Maybe the most important poems gestate within us for a lifetime and only arrive on our death beds.”

“There is a risk in poetry circles of appearing to be retro-confessional, but I do my best not to worry about such things. My hope is that the telling I did will be emboldening to others. That it will have been of some use.”

“Why do you write? Spend some good time with that question. What does success look like to you? Consider how you can take care of yourself financially and emotionally. That’s important too, and it’s grounding. How you can have as safe a place as possible to live. Focus also on what you can give to others that you wish you’d had yourself.”

“I don’t think doubt is necessarily a bad thing, unless it is incapacitating. In fact, a lot of good poems have arisen out of doubt. No honor or award diminishes the fact that when I sit down to write, I am facing what all writers face, an unmarked page. That having written does not assure that you can write.”

“The poetry landscape is so challenging, in that social media blasts it all in your face 24 hours a day. It’s impossible not to compare yourself to others, and yet that is the least helpful activity imaginable. We’re led to believe that instant success is the expectation, that poems going viral is the test of someone’s potential for a writing life. There is so much temptation to let your work be guided by the capitalist notion of the poem as product — saleable and marketable. Of yourself as product, curated to draw a certain kind of attention and influence. All of this noise is external to the poem itself. I recommend taking the long view. Turn down the noise. Practice experiencing the world in its real vs. virtual form. Live. I really believe that if you are in deep conversation with your own particular history, the history of your people, whoever they are, with your strange, doubt-filled, funny/sad particularities and unheroic fuck-ups, and if you read what you need rather than everything in your face, and if you court periods of silence and solitude, and if you practice, and persist, you will be okay.”

“Poetry is language which arises from experience, though sometimes “experience” is mind, thoughts, imagination.”

—Diane Seuss

The Halloween Edition of The International Imaginarium For Word & Verse (October 25th, 2022)

Dear Readers,

Here is the link to the Halloween edition of The International Imaginarium for Word & Verse posted last Tuesday night on our new Imaginarium website for you to hopefully peruse and enjoy at your leisure: https://internationalimaginarium.blogspot.com/2022/10/the-halloween-edition-of-international.html

I want to thank my fellow bloggers A. J. Wilson (AKA poetisatinta), and Tom Ewart (AKA tommywart) for graciously accepting my invitation to participate which I previously posted on this blog. Although the Imaginarium ended up being much shorter than usual, I decided not to repost the entire Imaginarium here on this blog as I have often done with previous editions of the Virtual Poetorium because I feel that it is probably still too long a read, and thus far too overwhelming for most of my readers (as a result, some really excellent poetry might be skipped, and that would be a real shame). So instead, I will just post this month’s Imaginarium group poem (which is probably one of my favorite segments of both the Poetorium and the Imaginarium). This month, we requested people to send us one to eight lines starting with the phrase “Halloween is…” All contributions were then compiled into the following poem which I’m afraid. like the entire Imaginarium, is also rather shorter than usual this month since we only received submissions from just Karen Durlach and A. J. Wilson (aka poetisatinta) besides myself (I hope you enjoy reading it!)…

Just What Is This Thing Called Halloween?

Halloween is the night of scary things
of witches’ brews and flying brooms
of hissing cats and screeching bats
of chills and mists that pierce the soul
and whispering winds that keep you cold
so stay alert, away from witchy spells
then you’ll be safe from the hounds of hell.

Halloween is hanging
by a thread, from a web,
the rattle of bone, in the dark, alone,
a fluttery sheet that has no feet,
a headless hat, a phantom cat,
a spooky night, such a fright delight.

Halloween is a holiday marked by the consumption
Of confection, commercialism crass as Christmas,
A celebration of contradictions when the so-called innocent don masks
to extort the neighborhood, where the ominous and the whimsical
Dance cheek to cheek at a costume ball, and you never know
Either to expect a sack of candy corn or a bag of human bones.

—The October 2022 Imaginarium Halloween Group Poem

An Invitation to Participate in a Special Halloween-Themed International Imaginarium For Word & Verse For October 25th, 2022

Dear Readers,

After mulling it over for a few days, I am very pleased to announce that, in spite of having a very hectic schedule filled with numerous poetry events this month (including our live Poetorium at Starlite show on October 27th in Southbridge, Massachusetts), I will be producing a special Halloween-themed edition of the International Imaginarium For Word & Verse (which I am tentatively dubbing the Scarynarium) and would like to open it for anyone who would like to participate, inviting all my fellow bloggers and faithful readers (or just anyone just happening to read this) to be a part of it. Unlike a regular edition, there will be no featured poet but instead will have an extra-long open mic to be divided into two sections. Because of this, we are requesting that you send us up to three of your own original poems or stories (ones that are scary or have a Halloween theme are preferred though not required) either in a Word document file or pasted in the body of an email along with your name, any opening remarks you care to make, and where your poem has appeared if it was previously published to poetorium@mail.com by Sunday, October 23rd. Also if you like, you can send us a photo of yourself (extra brownie points rewarded if you are in costume) to be posted above your poem, but that is totally optional.

Like always, we also need contributions to this month’s Imaginarium Group poem. To participate, please send us one to eight lines starting with the phrase “Halloween is… “. All contributions (which will remain anonymous unless otherwise requested) will be compiled and included in this month’s Halloween edition of the Imaginarium Group Poem. Once again, the deadline for submissions is the night of Sunday, October 23rd.

We will also be reviving (at least for this month) the monthly writing challenge which we once did with the Virtual Poetorium where we invited you to write in a different flash fiction or poetic form each month. This month’s challenge will be to write a six-word story (your story can include a title or not, the choice is up to you), and once again, a Halloween theme is suggested. In case you are not familiar with this popular flash fiction form, you can read about how to write one @ https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-an-unforgettable-six-word-story#3-examples-of-sixword-stories. Please send us your best efforts by Sunday, October 23rd to be included in this month’s Halloween-themed Imaginarium.

Also if you wish, please feel free to send us any of your own original scary or Halloween-themed artwork or photos to be displayed and shared during our virtual intermission! Our new Imaginarium website has the ability to embed videos, so if you have any links to any scary or Halloween-themed videos you have created hosted on YouTube or other sites, please feel free to send them to us as well.

If you have any questions about submitting to the virtual open mic, the group Imaginarium poem, or anything else about the International Imaginarium itself, please drop us a line, and we will try to answer them right away.

Thank you so very much, my dear friends! We really appreciate your help and look forward to your participation. Please take care, and stay safe, but try to have a very scary but fun October!

The International Imaginarium For Word & Verse For September 27th, 2022

Dear Readers,

Here is the link to the second first edition of The International Imaginarium for Word & Verse (which is the new name for The Virtual Poetorium) with the multi-talented writer, poet, lyricist, playwright and theatrical director James B. Nicola from New York City as the featured poet posted last Tuesday night on our brand new Imaginarium website for you to hopefully peruse and enjoy at your leisure: https://internationalimaginarium.blogspot.com/2022/09/international-imaginarium-for-word.html

I want to thank my fellow bloggers John Ormsby, Diane Puterbaugh, Angela Wilson (AKA poetisatinta), and Tom Ewart (AKA tommywart) for graciously accepting my invitation to participate which I previously posted on this blog. Like last time, I have decided not to repost the entire Imaginarium here on this blog as I have often done with previous editions of the Virtual Poetorium because I feel that it is probably too long a read and thus far too overwhelming for most of my readers (as a result, some really excellent poetry might be skipped, and that would be a real shame). So instead, I will just post this month’s Imaginarium group poem (which is probably one of my favorite segments of both the Poetorium and the Imaginarium). This month, we did a variation of what we did for our Poetorium group poem in September 2019, but instead of asking people to contribute a few lines of “something a true poet would never say”, we asked them to do the opposite and send us one to eight lines of “things only a real poet would say”. All contributions we received were then compiled and included in this month’s Imaginarium Group Poem. I want to thank Robert Eugene Perry, John Ormsby, Howard J Kogan, Karen Durlach, and Angela Wilson (AKA Poetisatinta) as well as other contributors who wish to remain anonymous for participating and making the following poem possible (both John’s and Angela’s contributions can be found published as individual poems on their respective websites Mr. Ormsby at Large and Let’s Write…):

Eight Things Only a Real Poet Would Say…

I.
Love is eternal regardless of what life draws in
Indeed, when we hold it at arm’s length
It will eventually find its home again
A ceaseless feeling that may rip you apart
But the beauty of both love and a poem
Is they are found in the heart.

II.
The heart is a church with broken windows.

III.
A metaphor is a revolving door
That brings you back to where you were before.

IV.
This is just to say
I have eaten all the words
You had strewn across the page
They were delightful
So full of life,
As am I.

V.
You see a marble
I see the moon
You hear a garble
I hear a tune
You hold me closer
Without a sound
I’m life’s composer
Noting it down

VI.
In regards to writing poetry,
The money does not matter…

VII.
The things only a real poet would say are lies
And only real poets spout the gods’ truth.
When the parrot poets, the mocking birds, and the mourning doves
Taught the apes to sing and dance,
Channel thought into word, thrum air into verse,
Then all born would be poets, sharing stories,
Forwards and backwards and inside out,
Truth and lies, lies and truth.

VIII.
When we first began to write,
We were all convinced we would save
The Universe with our verse.
Then later we thought we would be
the ones to rescue poetry from the world.
But now in the final stanza, we, at last, realize
It was, in fact, the poetry that saved us all…

—The International Imaginarium Group Poem for September 27th, 2022

An Invitation to Participate in the Second Edition of The International Imaginarium For Word & Verse…

Dear Readers,

I’m happy to announce that The International Imaginarium For Word & Verse (formerly known as The Virtual Poetorium) is back from its hiatus in August and would like to invite all of you to participate in our second edition (with the multi-talented writer, poet, lyricist, playwright, and theatrical director James B. Nicola as our featured poet) to be posted on our new Imaginarium website on the evening of September 27th, 2022.

To be part of our Imaginarium open mic this month, please send us one to three of your own original poems or stories (under 2000 words altogether please) either in a Word document file or pasted in the body of an email along with your name, any opening remarks you care to make, and where your poem has appeared if it was previously published to poetorium@mail.com by Sunday, September 25th (my apologies for giving you such a short time to submit). Also if you like, you can send us a photo of yourself to be posted above your poem, but that is totally optional.

We will also need contributions for this month’s Imaginarium Group poem. This month, we will be doing a variation of what we did for our Poetorium group poem in September 2019, but instead of asking you to contribute your lines of “something a true poet would never say”, we are asking you to do the opposite and send us one to eight lines of “things only a real poet would say”. All contributions (which will remain anonymous unless otherwise requested) will be compiled and included in this month’s Imaginarium Group Poem. Once again, the deadline for submissions is Sunday, September 25th.

If you have any questions about submitting to the virtual open mic, the group Imaginarium poem, or anything else about the International Imaginarium For Word & Verse itself, please leave them in the comments of this post, and I will try to answer them right away.

Thank you so very much for reading, folks! As always, I really appreciate everyone’s continued support of this blog, and hope to hear from you soon with your contributions to our second edition of the International Imaginarium!

10 More Great Quotes About Poetry, Writing, and Art by Jane Hirshfield

“Poems offer us counter-knowledges. They let us see what is invisible to ordinary looking, and to find in overlooked corners the opulence of our actual lives. Similarly, we usually spend our waking hours trying to be sure of things – of our decisions, our ideas, our choices. We so want to be right. But we walk by right foot and left foot.”

“At another level, though, poems can craft an eraser – we can’t revise the past, but poems allow us some malleability, an increased freedom of response, comprehension, feeling. Choice, what choices are possible for any given person, is another theme that’s run through my work from the start.”

“A certain amount of housekeeping also goes on in my poems. I wash doorknobs, do dishes, mop floors, patch carpets, cook.”

“Any artist, in any field, wants to press deeper, to discover further. Image and sound play are among the strongest colors available to poetry’s palette. For a long time, I’ve wanted to invite in more strangeness, more freedom of imagination. Yet music, seeing, and meaning are also cohering disciplines. They can be stretched, and that is part of poetry’s helium pleasure. But not to the point of breaking.”

“Poetry’s work is the clarification and magnification of being.”

“The ability to name poetry’s gestures and rhetorics isn’t required to write or read them, any more than a painter needs to know the physics of color to bring forward a landscape. The eye and hand and ear know what they need to know. Some of us want to know more, because knowing pleases.”

“One breath taken completely; one poem, fully written, fully read – in such a moment, anything can happen”

“I want to preserve a certain unknowing about my own poems – perhaps because unknowing is in itself a useful poetic thirst. To move the perimeter of saying outside my own boundaries is one reason I write.”

“A poem’s essential discovery can happen at a single sitting. The cascade of discoveries in an essay, or even finding a question worth exploring in one, seems to need roughly the time it takes to plant and harvest a crop of bush beans.”

“I require silence to write the way an apple tree requires winter to make fruit. Being with people is intimate and joyous, but at some point, I’ll wander off by myself. The paradox is that what began in childhood as an act of necessary solitude has led me straight to a life with others, in which I fly to China or Lithuania or northern Minnesota to read my poems and talk with other people who love language made into a lathe on which a life can be tuned and be turned.”

—Jane Hirshfield