10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing by Thomas Lux

Brass Lock & Comic Books

“I love mystery, strangeness, nuttiness, wildness, leaps across chasms, irreverence, all the crazy stuff we love about poetry. We don’t usually love poems because they are well made, or smart, or deep. We love them for their crazy hearts.”

“Writing is 80% reading.”

“It most matters to me what a poem sounds like. I think line breaks are incredibly important—they are one of the most important ways one tries to make the reader hear the poem exactly as one wants the reader to hear it. Tone, which carries a lot of the reverberations one is hoping to catch, can really only be heard.”

“No poem ever bought a hamburger, or not too many.”

“I emphasize the same things I would if I were teaching a HS [High School] class: clarity, imagination, originality (no clichés, ever!), little or no abstractions, very few adverbs, strong active verbs, as much music as possible (the endless variations of rhyme and cadence, the dance between stressed and unstressed syllables), a little mischief sometimes, honesty, revision, revision, revision, and read, read, read.”

“Dispel the notion that poetry is something that just comes down your arm and you write.”

“I think most often a poem begins for me with an image, a rhythm, a little hint of something that might have metaphorical possibilities. Something one sees, hears, pops into one’s head, pops out of reading—something that seems worth exploring. Like the bear who goes over the mountain: to see what he can see.”

“Everybody knows that for a ballet dancer, in order to make a gazelle-like leap, you have to practice for years to do that. For a piano player, it takes years of practicing to make it look easy. You can’t sit down and just play. But people think because they have language, if they have feelings and they put them down, they have a poem.”

“Making poems rhythmical and musical and believable as human speech and as distilled and tight as possible is very important to me.”

“Facts are irrelevant. A poet’s job is to try to tell the truth. You can bend, change, invent facts all you want to try to do so.”

—Thomas Lux

6 thoughts on “10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing by Thomas Lux

    1. You are very welcome, Carolyn , and thank you! Since Lux is probably my favorite poet, I’ve been wanting to post some of of his quotes for a long time, but I couldn’t find that many. So I spent the afternoon reading a half dozen of his interviews on the internet, and was able to mine over 30 gems. It was so difficult deciding on these ten because they were all so good!

      Liked by 1 person

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