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Poets have to be sensitive to their audience,
by 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

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

 

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

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

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

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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 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

Who is the ideal reader? God only knows.
- 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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I feel very connected to poets across the country.
- 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

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

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

Reading should be a repeat performance.
- 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

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

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

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

Nobody has ever measured, not even poets,
how much the heart can hold.
- Zelda Fitzgerald

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

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

Poets are soldiers that liberate words from the steadfast
possession of definition.
- Eli Khamarov

Sucking the marrow out of life
doesn't mean choking on the bone.
- Robin Williams as John Keating
in the 1989 movie Dead Poets Society

We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words.
- John Fowles

Poets have said that the reason to have children is
to give yourself immortality.
Immortality? Now that I have five children,
my only hope is that they are all out of the house before I die.
- Bill Cosby

Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley

At the age of 18 all young poets are sure they will be dead at 21 -
of old age.
- Marguerite Young

I do not think men have more talent.
There are a great many women in the arts;
novelists,
painters, sculptors, poets-but the proportion is far
lower in the field of song writing.
- Dorothy Fields

Poets are people who can still see the world through the eyes of children.
- Alphonse Daudet

Poets lose half the praise they should have got,
Could it be known what they discreetly blot.
- Edmund Waller

I defer to all these other American poets who,
for some reason, I both envy and admire.
- Charles Olson

I was at a benefit for some imprisoned students in
the '60s at San Francisco State,
and there were lots of poets reading for the benefit:
one was Elizabeth Bishop.
- Thom Gunn

Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is
bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables.
Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.
- Thomas Aquinas

Children can write poetry and then, unless they're poets,
they stop when reach puberty.
- Dennis Potter

In our period, they say there is free speech.
They say there is no penalty for poets,
There is no penalty for writing poems.
They say this.
This is the penalty.
- Muriel Rukeyser

Southern poets are still writing narrative poems,
poems in forms, dramatic poems.
- Robert Morgan

Many men of science and poets have in their own manner,
by various ways and means, and aided by others,
sought unceasingly to create a more tolerable world for everyone.
- Eyvind Johnson

Of course poets have morals and manners of their own,
and custom is no argument with them.
- Thomas Hardy

A lot of poets too live on the margins of social acceptance,
they certainly aren't in it for the money.
William Blake - only his first book was legitimately published.
- Jim Jarmusch

Poets are the sense, philosophers the intelligence of humanity.
- Samuel Beckett

Poets that lasting marble seek Must come in Latin or in Greek.
- Edmund Waller

The most important thing for poets to do is to write as little as possible.
- T. S. Eliot

The trouble with the performance poets is that they
don't seem to have read anything.
So there is not a real sense of the poetic tradition in their work.
- Peter Davison

I've been influenced by poets as diverse as Dylan Thomas,
Lewis Carroll, and Edgar Allan Poe.
- Jack Prelutsky

We have to raise the consciousness; the only way poets
can change the world is to raise the consciousness of the general populace.
- Lawrence Ferlinghetti

As soon as war is declared it will be impossible to hold the poets back.
Rhyme is still the most effective drum.
- Jean Giraudoux

Poets and heroes are of the same race,
the latter do what the former conceive.
- Alphonse de Lamartine

Modern poets talk against business, poor things,
but all of us write for money.
Beginners are subjected to trial by market.
- Robert Frost

If poets were realistic, they wouldn't be poets.
- Peter Davison

Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars -
mere globs of gas atoms.
I, too, can see the stars on a desert night,
and feel them.
But do I see less or more?
- Richard P. Feynman

America may have great poets and novelists,
but she never will have more than one necromancer.
- Rebecca H. Davis

Nations are born in the hearts of poets,
they prosper and die in the hands of politicians.
- Muhammad Iqbal

In every age poets and social reformers have tried
to stimulate the people of their own time to a nobler
life by enchanting stories of the virtues of the heroes of old.
- Alfred Marshall

Most poets, like most people, try hard to be like someone
they admire or they are possessed with an image of what they ought to be.
- James Broughton

Saints have no moderation, nor do poets,
just exuberance.
- Anne Sexton

Poets yearn, of course, to be published,
read, and understood, but they do little,
if anything, to set themselves above the common herd and the daily grind.
- Wislawa Szymborska

Though I may deny poets their monopoly on inspiration,
I still place them in a select group of Fortune's darlings.
- Wislawa Szymborska


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