10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing by Sharon Olds

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“Poets are like steam valves, where the ordinary feelings of ordinary people can escape and be shown.”

“Writing or making anything – a poem, a bird feeder, a chocolate cake-has self-respect in it. You’re working. You’re trying. You’re not lying down on the ground, having given up.”

“… to a poet, the human community is like the community of birds to a bird, singing to each other. Love is one of the reasons we are singing to one another, love of language itself, love of sound, love of singing itself, and love of the other birds.”

“Poems come from ordinary experiences and objects, I think. Out of memory – a dress I lent my daughter on her way back to college; a newspaper photograph of war; a breast self-exam; the tooth fairy; Calvinist parents who beat up their children; a gesture of love; seeing oneself naked over age 50 in a set of bright hotel bathroom mirrors.”

“I’m not asking a poem to carry a lot of rocks in its pockets. Just being an ordinary observer and liver and feeler and letting the experience get through you onto the notebook with the pen, through the arm, out of the body, onto the page, without distortion.”

“If I wrote in a sonnet form, I would be distorting. Or if I had some great new idea for line breaks and I used it in a poem, but it’s really not right for that poem, but I wanted it, that would be distorting.”

“Because a poem is not written while running or while answering the phone. It’s written in whatever minutes one has. Sometimes you have half an hour.”

“My poems – I don’t even like the sound of that, in a way. Not that anyone else wrote them. But we know that only people who are really close to us care about our personal experience.”

“Many poets write books. They’ll tell you: Well, I’ve got my next book, but there are two poems I need to write, one about x, one about y. This is a wonder to me.”

“I think that my work is easy to understand because I am not a thinker, I am not a… How can I put it? I write the way I perceive, I guess.”

— Sharon Olds

5 thoughts on “10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing by Sharon Olds

    1. Thank you so much, Roshni! I definitely agree, I feel I have learned so much about the art of poetry and writing by studying these quotes by Sharon Olds and other very talented poets.

      Like

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