10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing by Howard Nemerov

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“Robert Frost had always said you mustn’t think of the last line first, or it’s only a fake poem, not a real one. I’m inclined to agree.”

“I would talk in iambic pentameter if it were easier.”

“Writing is like the relationship with your bowels. First you can, then you can’t. Finally, you must. Only then should you reach for the paper.”

“Write what you know. That should leave you with a lot of free time.”

“I’ve never read a political poem that’s accomplished anything. Poetry makes things happen, but rarely what the poet wants.”

“It may be said that poems are in one way like icebergs: only about a third of their bulk appears above the surface of the page.”

“Both poet and painter want to reach the silence behind the language, the silence within the language. Both painter and poet want their work to shine not only in daylight but (by whatever illusionist magic) from within.”

“A lot happens by accident in poetry.”

“I think there’s one thing which distinguishes our art – we don’t consider. We don’t think. We write a little verse because it comes to us.”

“I’ve thought of the last line of some poems for years and tried them out, It wouldn’t work because the last line was much too beautiful for the poem.”

—Howard Nemerov

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