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Poetry is but another form of inquiry into the nature of phenomena,
by John Barton

Poetry is but another form of inquiry into the nature of phenomena,
using with its own unique procedures and tools.
- John Barton

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

No poem is easily grasped; so why should any reader expect fast results?
- John Barton

The poet must decide not to impose his feelings in
order to write without sentimentality.
- John Barton

 

I would not say I chose to write long poems on a conscious level.
The long poem has been a relative constant.
- John Barton

I feel very connected to poets across the country.
- John Barton

I became intrigued with colour theory.
The absurd pronouncements of the Colour Institute,
a group that decides what colours are hot each year or season,
amused me.
- John Barton

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Most victims of my autobiographical verse are either far too polite,
remarkably understanding unaware that I have written poems about them.
- John Barton

The community of poets I belong to is not as close as it used to be,
if only for the fact that our lives have become busier:
jobs,
children, and the like.
- John Barton

In the past, poetry came in the form of spells and
chants used to effect change.
- John Barton

The point of an experiment is not to arrive at a predetermined end point,
to prove or disprove anything, but to deliver a poem
that reveals much about the process taken.
- John Barton

I have become intrigued with the combining of seemingly
unrelated ideas or images,
or the drawing upon the many, sometimes dissimilar,
meanings a word might have.
- John Barton

Reading should be a repeat performance.
- John Barton

I find it exhausting to administer a magazine without an office or paid staff.
- John Barton

Poets can't resist the dramatic pull of their lives
and so inevitably write autobiographical verse.
- John Barton

I have always been very obsessed with time.
Time's passage makes us all very vulnerable and because
we all experience it in our own way,
it can make us feel very alone.
- John Barton

A literary journal is intended to connect writer with reader;
the role of the editor is to mediate.
- John Barton

If poetry alters the way in which the reader views the world,
then it has had its desired effect.
- John Barton

The reader's challenge is to replicate the experiment
by reading the poem and to draw their own conclusions.
- John Barton

Some readers allow their prejudices to blind them.
A good reader knows how to disregard inappropriate responses.
- John Barton

I sometimes like to tinker with poems that have failed,
ones that I have sent aside.
Even years afterward, I will revisit them if there
is something about them that I cannot give up on.
- John Barton

Writing can sometimes be exploitative.
I like to take a few steps of remove in order to respect
the privacy of the subject.
If readers make the link, they have engaged with the poem.
- John Barton

I consider a poem to be a kind of experiment where
a number of elements are brought together under test
conditions to see how they will interact to create meaning or relevance.
- John Barton

I have been told by a member of the board of one of
Canada's most prominent literary magazines that a submission
of mine once caused a great deal of controversy.
- John Barton

An experienced reader uses the poem as an agent of inquiry.
This makes poetry very exciting, unstable,
and interactive.
- John Barton

To me many short poems read and write like beginnings
that simply whet my appetite;
I want to get over that.
- John Barton

Who is the ideal reader? God only knows.
- John Barton

You can never step into the same book twice,
because you are different each time you read it.
- John Barton

We are comfortable with the fact that we cannot know
personally what happened in the world before we were born,
yet we are uncomfortable with the notion that we will
stop engaging with time at some point in the future.
- John Barton

My obsession with time informs my poetry so completely
it is hard for me to summarize it.
We want time to pass, for new things to happen to us,
we want to hold on to certain moments,
we don't want our lives to end.
- John Barton

Poets have to be sensitive to their audience,
but it does not mean that they censor themselves.
I realise my audience is diverse.
Some will read with empathy and curiosity while others will take offense.
- John Barton

The experiment of the poem is mostly intuitive.
I write the first draft, pulling in the various elements that interest me,
in the hope that their being combined will lead to some kind of insight.
- John Barton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.
- Oscar Wilde

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

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

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

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.
- Novalis

Poetry is what gets lost in translation.
- Robert Frost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.
- Plato

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

 


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