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Style is not something applied. It is something that permeates. It is of the nature of that in which it is found, whether the poem, the manner of a god, the bearing of a man. It is not a dress.
Most students of literature can pick apart a metaphor or spot an ethnic stereotype, but not many of them can say things like: 'The poem's sardonic tone is curiously at odds with its plodding syntax.'
There are different gradations of personhood in different poems. Some of them seem far away from me and some up close, and the up-close ones generally don't say what I want them to say. And that's true of the persona in the poem who's lamenting this as a fact of a certain stage of life. But it's also true of me as me.
Every old poem is sacred.
There's a crystallization that goes on in a poem which the young man can bring off, but which the middle-aged man can't.
In a funny way, poems are suited to modern life. They're short, they're intense. Nobody has time to read a 700-page book. People read magazines, and a poem takes less time than an article.
Imagine writing a poem with a sweating, worried-looking boy handing you a different pencil at the end of every word. My golf, you may say, is no poem; nevertheless, I keep wanting it to be one.
I don't think of poetry as a 'rational' activity but as an aural one. My poems usually begin with words or phrases which appeal more because of their sound than their meaning, and the movement and phrasing of a poem are very important to me.
At the point where I'm trying to force something and it's not happening, and I'm getting frustrated with, say, writing a poem, I can go and pick up the brushes and start painting. At the point where the painting seems to not be going anywhere, I go and pick up the guitar.
Strictly speaking, the idea of a scientific poem is probably as nonsensical as that of a poetic science.
Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel
When I see great boxers, it's like reading a wonderful poem.
The poem is never complete in the mind. It emerges, and then it's like an act of unveiling. The unveiling is the longest and most difficult part of it.
Is there any purpose to translating poetry? A poem does not contain information of importance, like a signpost or a warning notice.
The experiment of poetry, as far as I am concerned, happens when the poem carries you beyond where you could have reasonably expected to go.
For me, a paragraph in a novel is a bit like a line in a poem. It has its own shape, its own music, its own integrity.
No poem is easily grasped; so why should any reader expect fast results?
I've never read a political poem that's accomplished anything. Poetry makes things happen, but rarely what the poet wants.
I can't tell you where a poem comes from, what it is, or what it is for: nor can any other man. The reason I can't tell you is that the purpose of a poem is to go past telling, to be recognised by burning.
A. R. Ammons
I'm writing a poem right now about a nose. I've always wanted to write a poem about a nose. But it's a ludicrous subject. That's why, when I was younger, I was afraid of something that didn't make a lot of sense. But now I'm not. I have nothing to worry about. It doesn't matter.
In working on a poem, I love to revise. Lots of younger poets don't enjoy this, but in the process of revision I discover things.
My best days do seem like a distillation of all that was best about school. Write a story! Paint a picture! Write a poem! Make a print!
If you read quickly to get through a poem to what it means, you have missed the body of the poem.
M. H. Abrams
The first line is the DNA of the poem; the rest of the poem is constructed out of that first line. A lot of it has to do with tone because tone is the key signature for the poem. The basis of trust for a reader used to be meter and end-rhyme.
The poem is not, as someone put it, deflective of entry. But the real question is, 'What happens to the reader once he or she gets inside the poem?' That's the real question for me, is getting the reader into the poem and then taking the reader somewhere, because I think of poetry as a kind of form of travel writing.
With several different kinds of poetry to choose from, a man would decide that he would like best to be an epic poet, and he would set out, in conscious determination, on an epic poem.
Every poem probably has sixty drafts behind it.
Leonardo da Vinci
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Image of the Moment
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
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