10 Great Quotes About Poetry and Writing by Rita Dove

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“If the poem is so moving that even if you have no experience in that particular setting be it 1920’s Harlem let’s say. You still are so moved that you can put yourself in that position. That means that the writer has managed to go beyond the personal and touch the humanity in all of us and it’s really a blast to read it because I realize how that this does hold true for the truly great poems.”

“I think that when a poem can move readers across generations and across its specific class or race then it becomes truly classic.”

“At the very beginning when I begin writing a poem I try not to think of the audience or anyone at all except for trying to get at the very center of what is driving that poem. In a way it’s like analyzing myself.”

“My first advice would be to read, read, read, which sounds interesting coming in a digital age, but it’s so much easier to listen to a poem than it is to sit down and actually read it and to hear it in your head and that is something that every poet or aspiring poet needs to be able to do, I think to hear it in their head.”

“Poetry of all the forms of literature I think is the most suited for the digital age and for the shorter attention spans and all of that. It Twitters very easily, some lyric poems and it’s very easy to zip a poem to someone, so that’s one of the things I think is wonderful about poetry in the digital age.”

“I’ve always felt that the poems I’ve written which have historical context are hopefully not just simply plucking something out of history and saying great, let’s write about that. In every case what has happened is that I’ve become fascinated or haunted by something and couldn’t shake it.”

“I think that you certainly don’t have to be aged and travel the world to write a poem.”

“My best times are midnight to six actually. I’ll leaf through my notebooks and if something catches my eye and I feel like I want to transfer it from the notebook to the page, I do, and then comes this very strange process which is difficult to describe in that I’ll write until I get stuck or I can’t go any further or I’m boring myself or whatever and then I might go to another poem.”

“My inspiration comes from everywhere, just walking down the street and I never know where it’s going to come from, so I keep a notebook with me at all times and the only criteria for anything making it into that notebook is if it stops me in my tracks for even an instant, if it catches my eye or my ear and I just write it down.”

“If I begin writing a poem that means I’m intrigued in some way by whatever it’s about and that if I’m not trying to find something new and pushing the envelope in the poem I can’t expect my reader to be particularly excited about it either.”

-Rita Dove

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