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

“Poetry is fun. Why burden it with the humdrum of unexplored memory in the illusion of self expression? At best the poem is an impersonal amusement where the writer and the reader laugh together at finding once again that only reality is the reality of the brain thinking about reality.”

“Just get something on the page, you have nothing to lose except your life, which you’re going to lose anyway. So get with it, enjoy this special moment that brings you to the writing table. Relax into the writing and enjoy the creative bowel movement, remembering all is lost anyway.”

“Poetry is a physical art without a physical presence, so that it often finds itself in cadence to the heartbeat, the thud of days, and in the childish grasp of the reality of rhymes.”

“A good night of writing is like an industrial revolution under a rock being conducted by agitated beetles, where a variety of experimental vehicles and camera-like entertainments are being manufactured at great speed.”

“Anybody who says that his art takes all his time is probably someone whose time doesn’t mean very much.  My advice is to schedule one’s ‘artistic works’ with a job that pays.  This gives time edge and purpose.”

“I write to be entertained, which means surprised. A good many poets write out of what they call experience. This seems deadened. For me the poem itself, the act of writing it, is the experience, not all the dark crap behind it.”

“This kind of invention [prose poetry] calls for a very sure hand, one that can improvise, without too much care for the future, formal structures in a matter of minutes: The kind of form that is built from the inside out….”

“I never write for people, for the unseen audience.  I just write what comes.”

“There’s only the writing, which I admit to knowing very little about. But then it’s probably best not to know. It allows one to work without expectation. Best to let the poem do the thinking while we concern ourselves with what’s called the personal life.”

“The best advice I can give is to ignore advice.  Life is just too short to be distracted by the opinions of others.  The main thing is to get going with your work however you see it.  The beginning writer has only to write to find his art.  It’s not a matter of talent.  We’re all talented.  Desire and patience takes us where we want to go.”

—Russell Edson

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