“A poet should not call himself a ‘poet’, being a poet is so marvelous an accomplishment that it would be boasting to say it of oneself.”
“Perhaps poetry will be the canary in the mine-shaft warning us of what’s to come.”
“That’s the way it is with poetry: When it is incomprehensible it seems profound, and when you understand it, it is only ridiculous.”
“One thing that leads one into poetry is an interest in words. Not words as written things with a referent, but words as sound that the body produces, that fill the mouth and that are therefore in some way psychically identified with the thing they’re talking about. And that have a content which can’t be reduced to a definition. Like ‘spartled.’ ”
“To me, poetry is somebody standing up, so to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment”
“It’s the poet’s job to figure out what’s happening within oneself, to figure out the connection between the self and the world, and to get it down in words that have a certain shape, that have a chance of lasting.”
“Prose is walking; poetry is flying”
“When you write well, there is a kind of special mood that comes upon you, different, I suppose, for every person, but for everyone different from just the normal, day-to-day way they feel. And words seem to come on their own. You’re understanding them and shaping them, and yet they come out saying things that you didn’t know you could say.”
“There are two versions to every poem – the crying version and the straight version”
“Most good poems address themselves to things that we all know about, and the only preparation we need, as readers, is a kind of paying of respect to our inner life, to the feelings we have that are of no practical importance: the sense of strangeness and the hauntedness of existence; the fragility of our position on the globe, and the fragility of the globe itself; this very peculiar situation we’re in, self-conscious creatures who know that we’re lost in some kind of existence that we don’t understand at all.”
Published by Paul Szlosek
Paul Szlosek was born in Southbridge, Massachusetts, but currently resides in the nearby metropolis of Worcester. He was co-founder and host of the long-running Poet’s Parlor poetry reading in Southbridge and Sturbridge, as well as a past recipient of the Jacob Knight Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared in various local publications including the Worcester Review, Worcester Magazine, Sahara, Concrete Wolf, and Diner. He’s probably best known in the Worcester poetry community for his fanatical obsession with obscure poetry forms, and has invented his own including the ziggurat, the streetbeatina, and (most recently) the hodgenelle.
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9 thoughts on “10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing By Galway Kinnell”
Excellent quotes. Just went to his biography at Poetry Foundation and will be reading him. My kind of poet! Thanks for the introduction, Paul.
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You are very welcome, and thank you! It’s such a pleasure and an honor to be able to introduce you to one of my favorite poets…
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I went to hoopla (digital svc of the library) and borrowed his collection from 2017 and am reading from the 1960 section right now. He got me to tears in a real hurry.
“… an interest in words.”
Got it in one.
The little buggers fascinate me.
Thanks for this, Paul.
Excellent quotes from Galway Kinnell! He came up in a revision workshop I was in last night.
Amen to it all…
Oh, how I love this series, Paul! You have highlighted another wonderful artist and changed my world with their words.
Great Paul I especially love – “Prose is walking; poetry is flying” 🙂
Great Quotes! I really like this one… “Perhaps poetry will be the canary in the mine-shaft warning us of what’s to come.”