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I can't tell you where a poem comes from,
by A. R. Ammons

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

Everything is discursive opinion instead of direct experience.
- A. R. Ammons

Once every five hundred years or so,
a summary statement about poetry comes along that we
can't imagine ourselves living without.
- A. R. Ammons

The poet exposes himself to the risk.
All that has been said about poetry,
all that he has learned about poetry,
is only a partial assurance.
- A. R. Ammons

 

There's something to be said in favor of working in
isolation in the real world.
- A. R. Ammons

Probably all the attention to poetry results in some value,
though the attention is more often directed to lesser than to greater values.
- A. R. Ammons

Questions structure and, so, to some extent predetermine answers.
- A. R. Ammons

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If we ask a vague question, such as,
'What is poetry?' we expect a vague answer,
such as, 'Poetry is the music of words,'
or 'Poetry is the linguistic correction of disorder.'
- A. R. Ammons

If the greatest god is the stillness all the motions add up to,
then we must ineluctably be included.
- A. R. Ammons

Each poem in becoming generates the laws by which it is generated:
extensions of the laws to other poems never completely take.
- A. R. Ammons

Is it not careless to become too local when there are
four hundred billion stars in our galaxy alone.
- A. R. Ammons

Only silence perfects silence.
- A. R. Ammons

I am grateful for - though I can't keep up with -
the flood of articles,
theses, and textbooks that mean to share insight concerning the nature of poetry.
- A. R. Ammons

Definition, rationality, and structure are ways of seeing,
but they become prisons when they blank out other ways of seeing.
- A. R. Ammons

For though we often need to be restored to the small,
concrete, limited, and certain, we as often need to
be reminded of the large,
vague, unlimited, unknown.
- A. R. Ammons

A poem generated by its own laws may be unrealized
and bad in terms of so-called objective principles of taste,
judgement, deduction.
- A. R. Ammons

Poetry leads us to the unstructured sources of our beings,
to the unknown, and returns us to our rational,
structured selves refreshed.
- A. R. Ammons

If a poem is each time new, then it is necessarily an act of discovery,
a chance taken, a chance that may lead to fulfillment or disaster.
- A. R. Ammons

You have your identity when you find out,
not what you can keep your mind on, but what you can't keep your mind off.
- A. R. Ammons

Anything looked at closely becomes wonderful.
- A. R. Ammons

I take the walk to be the externalization of an interior
seeking so that the analogy is first of all between
the external and the internal.
- A. R. Ammons

In nature there are few sharp lines.
- A. R. Ammons

Even if you walk exactly the same route each time -
as with a sonnet -
the events along the route cannot be imagined to be
the same from day to day,
as the poet's health, sight, his anticipations,
moods, fears, thoughts cannot be the same.
- A. R. Ammons

Besides the actual reading in class of many poems,
I would suggest you do two things: first,
while teaching everything you can and keeping free of it,
teach that poetry is a mode of discourse that differs from logical exposition.
- A. R. Ammons

I must stress here the point that I appreciate clarity,
order, meaning, structure, rationality:
they are necessary to whatever provisional stability we have,
and they can be the agents of gradual and successful change.
- A. R. Ammons

That's a wonderful change that's taken place,
and so most poetry today is published,
if not directly by the person, certainly by the enterprise of the poet himself,
working with his friends.
- A. R. Ammons

Tell your heart that the fear of suffering
is worse than the suffering itself.
- Paulo Coelho

Whatever you do, you need courage.
Whatever course you decide upon,
there is always someone to tell you
that you are wrong.
There are always difficulties arising
that tempt you to believe your critics are right.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person.
Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
- Oscar Wilde

We tell the real truth of our life
by the stories we repeatedly tell.
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Tell me what company thou keepst,
and I'll tell thee what thou art.
- Miguel de Cervantes

We tell lies, yet it is easy to show that lying is immoral.
- Epictetus

Intent is what can make a man succeed
when his thoughts tell him that he is defeated.
- Carlos Castaneda

I do myself a greater injury in lying
than I do him of whom I tell a lie.
- Michel de Montaigne

Always listen to the experts.
They'll tell you what can't be done and why.
Then do it.
- Robert Heinlein

I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie.
I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave.
And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.
- H.L. Mencken

Never tell people how to do things.
Tell them what to do and they will
surprise you with their ingenuity.
- George S. Patton

You don't need anybody to tell you
who you are or what you are.
You are what you are!
- John Lennon

Whenever you are asked if you can do a job,
tell 'em, Certainly I Can. -
and get busy and find out how to do it.
- Theodore Roosevelt

Never allow a person to tell you NO
who doesn't have the power to say YES.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Spend time every day listening to what your muse is trying to tell you.
- Saint Bartholomew

You have heard that it was said,
"Love your neighbor and hate your enemy."
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
- Matthew 5:43-44

You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers.
You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.
- Naguib Mahfouz

It's essential to tell the truth at all times.
This will reduce life's pain.
Lying distorts reality.
All forms of distorted thinking must be corrected.
- John Bradshaw

If I mayn't tell you what I feel,
what is the use of a friend?
- William Makepeace Thackeray

I used to tell my husband that,
if he could make me "understand" something,
it would be clear to all the other people in the country.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.
- Jonas Salk

No greater thing is created suddenly,
any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig.
If you tell me that you desire a fig,
I answer you that there must be time.
Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.
- Epictetus

It is a great confidence in a friend
to tell him your faults;
greater to tell him his.
- Benjamin Franklin

NO ONE has been granted the authority to tell me
how my life should be lived.
I answer only to myself and to Spirit.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

If I could tell the world just one thing
it would be we're all okay,
and not to worry cause worry is wasteful
and useless in times like these.
I won't be made useless.
I won't be idle with despair,
I will gather myself around my faith.
Light does the darkness most fear.
- Jewel

What is a friend? I will tell you ...
it is someone with whom you dare to be yourself.
- Frank Crane

The most interesting information comes from children,
for they tell all they know and then stop.
- Mark Twain

Tell me whom you live with,
and I will tell you who you are.
- Spanish Proverb

If you're going to tell people the truth,
be funny or they'll kill you.
- Billy Wilder

I take every opportunity to articulate to others
the ways that they have blessed and influenced me.
I hold sweet memories of making the opportunity
to thank teachers who have influenced me.
I encourage everyone to seize opportunities
to tell people who have made a gift of knowledge or influence.
- Mary Anne Radmacher

We tell lies when we are afraid...
afraid of what we don't know,
afraid of what others will think,
afraid of what will be found out about us.
But every time we tell a lie,
the thing that we fear grows stronger.
- Williams Tad

Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth
or burn down your house, you can never tell.
- Joan Crawford

You never can tell with bees.
- A. A. Milne (Winnie-The-Pooh)

Jesus preached more and taught more
about helping the poor and the sick and the hungry
than he did about heaven and hell.
Shouldn't that tell us something?
- John Grisham

Be smarter than other people, just don't tell them so.
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Tell me about a person's family, friends, and community,
and I'll tell you what his opinions are.
- Mark Twain
(paraphrase)

(Jesus on Love)
You have heard that it was said,
"Love your neighbor and hate your enemy."
But I tell you: Love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you.
- Matthew 5:43-44

People will, in a great degree,
and not without reason,
form their opinion of you upon
that which they have of your friends;
and there is a Spanish proverb
which says very justly,
"Tell me whom you live with,
and I will tell you who you are.
- Lord Chesterfield

The "stories" we choose to tell about our past
are never what a video camera would have recorded.
We can tell a sad story or a happy story,
and neither story is either
more accurate or "better" than the other story.
The difference is that one story causes us to suffer,
while the other brings us joy. I choose joy.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Moreover if your brother shall trespass against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
- Matthew 18:15

We take refuge in pride,
because we are afraid to tell the truth to ourselves.
- Kakuzo Okakura

Tell the truth, or someone will tell it for you.
- Stephanie Klein

Except in cases of necessity, which are rare,
leave your friend to learn
unpleasant things from his enemies;
they are ready enough to tell them.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

You can tell alot about a fellow's character by his
way of eating jellybeans.
- Ronald Reagan

If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
- Mark Twain


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- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

 


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