10 Great Quotes About Poetry, Writing, and Art by Russell Edson

“Poetry is a way of mind; the exploration of a tunnel, where blind albino fish seem to float in nostalgic pools of unremembered memory.”

“All creative writing is storytelling. The two basic approaches are fiction and poetry. Fiction describes what it means, and poetry becomes what it means in images. Fiction is a linear art made of time, poetry is childishly timeless and circular.”

“If one cannot accept failure and scorn, how is he to make his art? It’s like wanting to go to heaven without dying.”

“One might describe the prose poem (a term I just lately come to accept) as an enviroment of poetry; the prose poem as silly fiction; the prose poem as a way of re-thinking the shape of the earth; the prose poem as a way of entering the mystery of a yet undiscovered prose; the prose poem as a homemade art; the prose poem as a current fad; the prose poem even, for the want of a better name, as something that I write; or, more to the point, the prose poem as something I don’t want to talk about!”

“Remember, words are the enemy of poetry.”

“A lot of poets would do themselves a lot of good if they had another art they messed with – be it painting or whatever.  A lot of our poets, they write, they teach, they write blurbs, they write some criticism, but they never get out of language. To be able to do something else is a nice thing.” 

“The problem with poetry is that it spends so much time scene setting, locating.  Most of my pieces are not really located.  They just happen.”

“No one is a poet for all of his or her life.  One is a poet when one is engaging that way of mind; that is to say, when one is writing.  I would say to a son or daughter, ‘go ahead, it’s as good as anything else; your days are numbered anyway no matter what you do – have fun’.”

“The only difficult thing [about writing] is reaching the end, the idea of the finished piece, the party ending, life runs out, the fire dark, the season that passes through the meadow into winter…. This is why one must work fast, each piece an end in itself, as life, which is only lived in the most present of moments.”

“Writing for me is the fun of discovery. Which means I want to discover something I didn’t know forming on the page. Experience made into an artifact formed with the logic of a dream.  The poem is the experience no matter the background of experience it is drawn from.”

—Russell Edson

8 thoughts on “10 Great Quotes About Poetry, Writing, and Art by Russell Edson

  1. Nice to see a post from you. Great quotes, I like the one that compares not being able to accept criticism as like wanting to go to Heaven without dying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Brad. I especially like the third quote as well. I find what Edson has to say about writing and poetry extremely fascinating. He often compares the act of writing a poem to dreaming awake. An interesting thing is when I first started sharing my own poetry within our local poetry community, Edson was the poet most people compared it to, though I never actually saw the resemblance myself…

      Liked by 2 people

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