10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing By Stephen Dobyns

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“One writes a poem when one is so taken up by an emotional concept that one is unable to remain silent.”

“Writing is a job, a craft, and you learn it by trying to write every day and by facing the page with humility and gall. And you have to love to read books, all kinds of books, good books. You are not looking for anything in particular; you are just letting stuff seep in.”

“I write poems to find out why I write them.”

“I can’t believe there is a poet who hasn’t eagerly put down a word one day, only to erase it the next day deciding it was sheer lunacy. It’s part of the process of selection.”

“Many of my poems try to use a comic element to reach a place that isn’t comic at all. The comic element works as a surprise. It is unexpected and energizing.”

“My poems always begin with a metaphor, but my way into the metaphor may be a word, an image, even a sound. And I rarely know the nature of the metaphor when I begin to write, but there is an attentiveness that a writer develops, a sudden alertness that is much like the feel of a fish brushing against a hook.”

“A poem is a window that hangs between two or more human beings who otherwise live in darkened rooms.”

“For the past thirty years or so, much American poetry has been marked by an earnestness that rejects the comic. This has nothing to do with seriousness. The comic can be very serious. The trouble with the earnest is that it seeks to be commended. It seeks to be praised for its intention more than for what it is saying.”

“Poetry is a craft that one learns over a long period of time. But you only learn it if certain gifts are there to begin with – an imagination, the ability to make metaphor, a sense of language and rhythm and sound. intelligence, passion, curiosity, a great deal of empathy, and a fire in the belly.”

“Poetry… creates a metaphor, which enables the reader to experience what you have experienced with a kind of specificity and depth that is not possible in casual language, partly because the form also communicates the information.”

— Stephen Dobyns