10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing by Yusef Komunyakaa

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Poetry helps me understand who I am. It helps me understand the world around me. But above all, what poetry has taught me is the fact that I need to embrace mystery in order to be completely human.”

“Poetry is a process of getting back to the unconscious. Hence, I am always writing-even when I’m not facing the white space. I feel writers are like reservoirs of images. We take in what is around us.”

“I like connecting the abstract to the concrete. There’s a tension in that. I believe the reader or listener should be able to enter the poem as a participant. So I try to get past resolving poems.”

“It wasn’t a deliberate decision to become a poet. It was something I found myself doing – and loving. Language became an addiction.”

“I define poetry as celebration and confrontation. When we witness something, are we responsible for what we witness? That’s an on-going existential question. Perhaps we are and perhaps there’s a kind of daring, a kind of necessary energetic questioning. Because often I say it’s not what we know, it’s what we can risk discovering.”

“Poets are seen as the caretakers of language, so working with words no matter what the form is what we do.”

“Students often have such a lofty idea of what a poem is, and I want them to realize that their own lives are where the poetry comes from. The most important things are to respect the language; to know the classical rules, even if only to break them; and to be prepared to edit, to revise, to shape.”

“Poetry is a kind of distilled insinuation. It’s a way of expanding and talking around an idea or a question. Sometimes, more actually gets said through such a technique than a full frontal assault.”

“There’s a sameness about American poetry that I don’t think represents the whole people. It represents a poetry of the moment, a poetry of evasion, and I have problems with this. I believe poetry has always been political, long before poets had to deal with the page and white space . . . it’s natural.”

“I think of my poems as personal and public at the same time. You could say they serve as psychological overlays. One fits on top of the other, and hopefully there’s an ongoing evolution of clarity.”

— Yusef Komunyakaa

3 thoughts on “10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing by Yusef Komunyakaa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.