10 Great Quotes about Poetry, Writing, and Art by Sonia Sanchez

“All poets, all writers are political. They either maintain the status quo, or they say, ‘Something’s wrong, let’s change it for the better.’”

“The poem is the dance of the page. When you give it out to an audience, it has got to be there, pulling up, getting ready to soar, dance, spread itself, do the magic that needs to be done, to capture them, to make them enter your arena, and they don’t get released until you are at the end of that poem, then you release them. That’s the power that you and that poem will have over an audience. You’ve got to understand that there’s music in those lines and in those words. There’s magic in them. But there’s also authority in there. There’s also a responsibility—that is a part of what I teach, the responsibility that you have when you give these words out in an auditorium, in the classroom, to the universe.”

“I write to keep in contact with our ancestors and to spread truth to people.”

“The joy of poetry is that it will wait for you. Novels don’t wait for you. Characters change. But poetry will wait. I think it’s the greatest art.”

“Poetry is subconscious conversation, it is as much the work of those who understand it and those who make it.”

“To me, poetry is many things. Poetry is life, it is water, it is earth, it is sound, it is music, it is language that allows us to stay alive. Poetry is ancient, it is new, it is old, it is current. Poetry is a baby’s smile when he or she is smiling at you. Poetry is a burp from a child who is well fed. Poetry is a kiss from your lover. Poetry is a handshake from comrades. Poetry is a hug. But most of all, poetry is a language that says, ‘stay alive, do not die on me, do not move away from life.’ Because poetry is life, and it keeps people alive.”

“Art… reacts to or reflects the culture it springs from.”

“What I’m trying to do is to tell young people that I teach them how to breathe before I teach the haiku. That one breath, that one breath, because the haiku keeps you alive. It keeps you going. If you learn how to breath the haiku, you learn how to breathe. If you learn how to breathe, you’re much healthier.”

“I probably have not killed anyone in America because I write, I’ve maintained good controls over myself by writing.”

“What is the beauty of the haiku is that it is not simplistic. The beauty of the haiku I just said is very complex. It reaches all the complexities of our life on this Earth. Peace – that’s a very complex idea, peace, so we can’t get it as human beings.”

—Sonia Sanchez