10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing by Edward Hirsch

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“Poetry connects us to what is deepest in ourselves. It gives us access to our own feelings, which are often shadowy, and engages us in the art of making meaning. It widens the space of our inner lives. It is a magical, mysterious, inexplicable (though not incomprehensible) event in language.”

“And my experience is the best titles, for me, emerge in the process of writing. They don’t usually come at the very beginning and hopefully they don’t come at the very end because then it’s getting late in the day.”

“A poem is a hand, a hook, a prayer. It is a soul in action.”

“The poet wants justice. And the poet wants art. In poetry, we can’t have one without the other.”

“One of the deep fundamentals of poetry is the recurrence of sounds, syllables, words, phrases, lines, and stanzas. Repetition can be one of the most intoxicating features of poetry. It creates expectations, which can be fulfilled or frustrated. It can create a sense of boredom and complacency, but it can also incite enchantment and inspire bliss.”

“The way to become a poet is to read poetry and to imitate what you read and to read passionately and widely and in as involved a way as you can.”

“I think there are different kinds of poetry for different stages of life and there’s the wild, exuberance of youth, there’s the painful agony of midlife experience, there’s the late poetry in the presence of death.”

“Poetry never loses its appeal. Sometimes its audience wanes and sometimes it swells like a wave. But the essential mystery of being human is always going to engage and compel us. We’re involved in a mystery. Poetry uses words to put us in touch with that mystery. We’re always going to need it.”

“There has never been a great poet who wasn’t also a great reader of poetry.”

“Emily Dickinson calls previous poets her kinsmen of the shelf. You can always be consoled by your kinsmen of the shelf and you can participate in poetry by going to them and by trying to make something worthy of them.”

—Edward Hirsch

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