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Poetry is life distilled. ...
by Gwendolyn Brooks

Poetry is life distilled.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

Art hurts.
Art urges voyages - and it is easier to stay at home.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

Very early in life I became fascinated with the wonders language can achieve.
And I began playing with words.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

I felt that I had to write.
Even if I had never been published, I knew that I would go on writing,
enjoying it and experiencing the challenge.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

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I am a writer perhaps because I am not a talker.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

Look at what's happening in this world.
Every day there's something exciting or disturbing to write about.
With all that's going on, how could I stop?
- Gwendolyn Brooks

Don't let anyone call you a minority if you're black
or Hispanic or belong to some other ethnic group.
You're not less than anybody else.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

 

A writer should get as much education as possible,
but just going to school is not enough;
if it were,
all owners of doctorates would be inspired writers.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

Exhaust the little moment.
Soon it dies.
And be it gash or gold it will not come Again in this identical guise.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

What I'm fighting for now in my work...
for an expression relevant to all manner of blacks,
poems I could take into a tavern, into the street,
into the halls of a housing project.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

When you love a man, he becomes more than a body.
His physical limbs expand, and his outline recedes,
vanishes.
He is rich and sweet and right.
He is part of the world, the atmosphere,
the blue sky and the blue water.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

When you use the term minority or minorities in reference to people,
you're telling them that they're less than somebody else.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

We are each other's magnitude and bond.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

I've always thought of myself as a reporter.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

First fight.
Then fiddle.
- Gwendolyn Brooks

If a man is called to be a street sweeper,
he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,
or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.
He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts
of heaven and earth will pause to say,
here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Youth, large, lusty, loving -
Youth, full of grace, force, fascination.
Do you know that Old Age may come after you
with equal grace, force, fascination?
- Walt Whitman

The River of Life has no meaning, no good, no bad,
no better, no worse, no love, no hate, no fear, no anger, no joy.
The River of Life has no judgment, no expectation.
The River of Life just IS. There is nothing to do.
There is nothing to say.
There is nothing to think.
There is nothing to feel.
The River just flows. The River is the source of all nourishment -
the source of all obstacles.
The River is the source of all life - the source of all death.
The River is the source of all joy - and the source of all sorrow.
Yet the River has no joy - and the River has no sorrow.
The River is just the River.
One can flow harmoniously with the River -
or one can struggle fearfully against the River -
and the River just flows.
One can accept the River - or one can deny the River -
and the River just flows.
One can worship the River of Life - or one can curse the River of Life -
and the River just flows. There is nothing to do - and the River flows.
There is nothing to say - and the River flows.
There is nothing to think - and the River flows.
There is nothing to feel - and the River flows.
The River flows - and all else is our drama.
The River flows - and all else is our invention.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

The River of Life has no judgments.
The River flows with no concept of good and bad - right and wrong.
The fields and dreams of men may be nourished by the River of Life,
or flooded and covered with silt, and the River just flows.
Men may catch fish and live on the River of Life,
or they may founder in a storm and drown, and the River just flows.
The River of Life is timeless.
It is not unchanging, but it is timeless,
and it changes in its own time.
The River of Life knows no obstacles.
The River can cut through solid rock - in its own time.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

The River of Life flows without emotion.
The River surges. The River quiets.
The River overflows its banks. The River dries to a trickle.
The River swirls and storms. The River becomes calm.
The River runs clear. The River runs dark with silt.
The River is indifferent to what benefit
or what harm is caused by its water.
The River is the River, and that is all there is to it.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Poetry is ordinary language raised to the Nth power.
Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions,
all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.
- Paul Engle

Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.
- Rita Dove

Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life.
- William Hazlitt

Poetry should...
should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts,
and appear almost a remembrance.
- John Keats

He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet,
though he has never written a line in all his life.
- George Sand

Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley

A poet's autobiography is his poetry.
Anything else is just a footnote.
- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

One merit of poetry few persons will deny:
it says more and in fewer words than prose.
- Voltaire

You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you.
- Joseph Joubert

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.
- T. S. Eliot

Any healthy man can go without food for two days -
but not without poetry.
- Charles Baudelaire

Poetry is the opening and closing of a door,
leaving those who look through to guess about what
is seen during the moment.
- Carl Sandburg

There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.
- John Cage

Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.
- Edgar Allan Poe

Poetry: the best words in the best order.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and
the thought has found words.
- Robert Frost

Everything one invents is true, you may be perfectly sure of that.
Poetry is as precise as geometry.
- Gustave Flaubert

Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet
believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.
- Salvatore Quasimodo

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.
- Novalis

To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one.
- John Ruskin

Sometimes poetry is inspired by the conversation entered
into by reading other poems.
- John Barton

Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.
- Carl Sandburg

Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.
- Plato

Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder,
with a dash of the dictionary.
- Khalil Gibran

Even when poetry has a meaning, as it usually has,
it may be inadvisable to draw it out...
Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure.
- A. E. Housman

Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.
- Carl Sandburg

Poetry is just the evidence of life.
If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
- Leonard Cohen

Poetry is an orphan of silence.
The words never quite equal the experience behind them.
- Charles Simic

Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings,
and making music with them.
- Dennis Gabor

Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.
- Marianne Moore

Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.
- Plutarch

Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
- Thomas Gray

There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money,
either.
- Robert Graves

Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry.
- Muriel Rukeyser

Poetry is what gets lost in translation.
- Robert Frost

All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.
- Oscar Wilde

The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.
- Gilbert K. Chesterton

A poem begins as a lump in the throat,
a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.
- Robert Frost

To have great poets, there must be great audiences.
- Walt Whitman

Children and lunatics cut the Gordian knot which the
poet spends his life patiently trying to untie.
- Jean Cocteau

I was reading the dictionary.
I thought it was a poem about everything.
- Steven Wright

A poem is true if it hangs together.
Information points to something else.
A poem points to nothing but itself.
- E. M. Forster

Pain is filtered in a poem so that it becomes finally,
in the end, pleasure.
- Mark Strand

A poet's work is to name the unnameable,
to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments,
shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.
- Salman Rushdie

I sometimes talk about the making of a poem within the poem.
- Howard Nemerov

Each memorable verse of a true poet has two or three
times the written content.
- Alfred de Musset

The novel is born of disillusionment;
the poem,
of despair.
- Jose Bergamin

You don't have to suffer to be a poet;
adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.
- John Ciardi

You don't make a poem with ideas, but with words.
- Stephane Mallarme

A poem can have an impact, but you can't expect an
audience to understand all the nuances.
- Douglas Dunn

A poem might be defined as thinking about feelings -
about human feelings and frailties.
- Anne Stevenson


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- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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