10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing by Richard Hugo


“Don’t write love poems when you’re in love. Write them when you’re not in love.”

“To write a poem you must have a streak of arrogance– not in real life I hope. In real life try to be nice. It will save you a hell of a lot of trouble and give you more time to write.”

“Lucky accidents seldom happen to writers who don’t work. You will find that you may rewrite and rewrite a poem and it never seems quite right. Then a much better poem may come rather fast and you wonder why you bothered with all that work on the earlier poem. Actually, the hard work you do on one poem is put in on all poems. The hard work on the first poem is responsible for the sudden ease of the second. If you just sit around waiting for the easy ones, nothing will come. Get to work.”

“Assuming you can write clear English sentences, give up all worry about communication. If you want to communicate, use the telephone. “

“Never write a poem about anything that ought to have a poem written about it.”

“Don’t write with a pen. Ink tends to give the impression the words shouldn’t be changed.”

“A poet is seldom hard up for advice. The worst part of it all is that sometimes the advice is coming from other poets, and they ought to know better.”

“Scholars look for final truths they will never find. Creative writers concern themselves with possibilities that are always there to the receptive.”

“Say nothing and just make music and you’ll find plenty to say.”

“I think it’s better if you write poems that look like you.”

— Richard Hugo


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