10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Art by Jean Cocteau

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“Children and lunatics cut the Gordian knot which the poet spends his life patiently trying to untie.”

“I know that poetry is indispensable, but to what I could not say.”

“The job of the poet (a job which can’t be learned) consists of placing those objects of the visible world which have become invisible due to the glue of habit, in an unusual position which strikes the soul and gives them a tragic force.”

“There are poets and there are grownups.”

“The poet, by composing poems, uses a language that is neither dead nor living, that few people speak, and few people understand … We are the servants of an unknown force that lives within us, manipulates us, and dictates this language to us.”

“The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.”

“Every poem is a coat of arms. It must be deciphered. How much blood, how many tears in exchange for these axes, these muzzles, these unicorns, these torches, these towers, these martlets, these seedlings of stars and these fields of blue!”

“The poet doesn’t invent. He listens.”

“With the writer, line takes precedence over form and content. It runs through the words he assembles. It strikes a continuous note unperceived by ear or eye. It is, in a way, the soul’s style, and if the line ceases to have a life of its own, if it only describes an arabesque, the soul is missing and the writing dies.”

“A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.”

—Jean Cocteau

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