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

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

I like poems that are little games.
- Peter Davison

Every so often I find some poems that are too good
for the readers of The Atlantic because they are a
little too involved with the nature of poetry,
as such.
- Peter Davison

Frost is the most sophisticated of poets.
- Peter Davison

 

But there is some way in which poets believe that and this is dangerous,
too believe that their calling gives them a certain freedom.
A certain freedom to live in a free way.
- Peter Davison

Poetry should be able to reach everybody,
and it should be able to appeal to all levels of understanding.
- Peter Davison

It is a way we reassess our past.
We can do that in poetry in ways we can't do in prose.
- Peter Davison

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There are so many things that poetry is about,
one of which is memory.
- Peter Davison

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

If I were brave enough to say so, I'd like to think
that I had written some poems that people are not going to forget.
- Peter Davison

I think poetry has lost an awful lot of its muscle
because nobody knows any.
Nobody has to memorize poetry.
- Peter Davison

But for me, being an editor I've been an editor of
all kinds of books being an editor of poetry has been
the way in which I could give a crucial part of my
time to what I love most.
- Peter Davison

The more poetry you have in the head,
the more poetry you will understand because you will
be getting to the roots of what it is that makes people write poetry at all.
- Peter Davison

I would like to be proud of having written some poems that will be remembered,
but I will never know whether I will have any reason to be proud of that.
- Peter Davison

Poetry is composing for the breath.
- Peter Davison

It is very difficult for people to come in contact
with their own emotions and their own sensibilities.
- Peter Davison

And there are a lot more people reading poetry,
but there are not so many people reading an individual poet.
- Peter Davison

Poetry was invented as an mnemonic device to enable
people to remember their prayers.
- Peter Davison

The reason one writes poems is so that your poem will be remembered.
- Peter Davison

In my youth, I found that I was quite often inspired
and pushed forward by what I read.
- Peter Davison

I just think that some version of the past in our culture
is going to rise up and become dominant.
- Peter Davison

I like poems that are complex.
- Peter Davison

For instance, it's a little better now than it was two or three years ago,
but something like 70% of the poems I receive seem
to be written in the present indicative.
- Peter Davison

The problem, for me, with the writing programs is that
they produce a terrible uniformity of product.
- Peter Davison

But poetry is my life.
Poetry is what matters to me.
- Peter Davison

My friends never talk to me about my poetry because
they're embarrassed that I write it or they're embarrassed
by what I write about which are not such extraordinarily terrifying things,
but they are the state of human existence.
- Peter Davison

The relation between a poet and audience is really insignificant.
What matters is the poet is hearing something that he is broadcasting.
And whether there is anybody with a receiver isn't the reason he does it.
He hopes there is somebody receiving it.
- Peter Davison

Dealing with poetry is a daunting task,
simply because the reason one does it as an editor
at all is because one is constantly coming to terms
with one's own understanding of how to understand the world.
- Peter Davison

They need to learn poetry.
They don't need to learn about poetry.
They don't need to be told how to interpret poetry.
They don't need to be told how to understand poetry.
They need to learn it.
- Peter Davison

People are talking about the Internet as though it
is going to change the world.
It's not going to change the world.
It's not going to change the way we think,
and it's not going to change the way we feel.
- Peter Davison

In order to understand what they need to understand,
in order to write what they write, they have to be free.
And yet, they aren't ever free.
They are not free because they are not free of the
constrictions their art puts on them.
- Peter Davison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Money is everywhere but so is poetry.
What we lack are the poets.
- Federico Fellini

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

Lyrics have to be underwritten.
That's why poets generally make poor lyric writers
because the language is too rich.
You get drowned in it.
- Stephen Sondheim

It's easy to understand why the most beautiful poems
about England in the spring were written by poets living in Italy at the time.
- Philip Dunne

I've had trouble with criticism, I guess.
It's hard to know what role criticism plays in either
encouraging poets or in getting other people to read them.
- Kenneth Koch

I hate the whole race.
There is no believing a word they say,
your professional poets, I mean there never existed
a more worthless set than Byron and his friends for example.
- Arthur Wellesley

Poets are always ahead of things in a certain way,
their sense of language and their vision.
- Jim Jarmusch

My sisters were going out with artists and poets,
and eventually it was the creative world which attracted me.
- Luc Ferrari

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

Obviously one of the things that poets from Northern Ireland and beyond -
had to try to make sense of was what was happening
on a day-to-day political level.
- Paul Muldoon

Written poetry is worth reading once,
and then should be destroyed.
Let the dead poets make way for others.
- Antonin Artaud

Anthropologists are a connecting link between poets and scientists;
though their field-work among primitive peoples has
often made them forget the language of science.
- Robert Graves

One of my favorite poets, Neruda, writes close to the bone.
Though I know only a little Spanish,
I like to compare the Spanish and English lines and
see how the translator worked.
- Anita Diament

Another one of the old poets, whose name has escaped my memory at present,
called Truth the daughter of Time.
- Aulus Gellius

Poets, like friends to whom you are in debt,
you hate.
- William Wycherley

All kids, when they go to school, are pretty good artists
and dancers and singers and poets.
All that gets buried, basically through being educated,
or brainwashed.
- William Wiley

Language ought to be the joint creation of poets and manual workers.
- George Orwell

It is Homer who has chiefly taught other poets the
art of telling lies skillfully.
- Aristotle

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

Homer has taught all other poets the art of telling lies skillfully.
- Aristotle

All that a critic, as critic, can give poets is the
deadly encouragement that never ceases to remind them
of how heavy their inheritance is.
- Harold Bloom

The poets' scrolls will outlive the monuments of stone.
Genius survives; all else is claimed by death.
- Edmund Spenser

But are not the dreams of poets and the tales of travellers notoriously false?
- H. P. Lovecraft

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

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

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

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

Poets wish to profit or to please.
- Horace

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

Poets write the words you have heard before but in a new sequence.
- Brian Harris

While I don't satisfy my curiosity about the way I work,
I'm terribly curious about the way other poets work.
But I would think that's true about many of us.
- Thom Gunn

I think of poets as outlaw visionaries in a way.
- Jim Jarmusch


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