Poems Quotes

Poems Quotes by Eileen Myles, Ben Okri, Andrew Motion, Paul Auster, Tinie Tempah, Edward Hirsch and many others.

Poetry from the bottom up is an act of selection: you k

Poetry from the bottom up is an act of selection: you kind of feel your way through the crowds of poems. The good ones came forward a long time ago, and the bad ones fell away.
Eileen Myles
Artists and writers have to deal with the element that makes the real real and the dream real while you are dreaming it. That’s where stories and poems get their power.
Ben Okri
I wish I’d been better able to resist the sense of obligation to write some of the poems I did. It’s in the nature of commissioned work to be written too much from the side of your mind that knows what it’s doing, which dries up the poetry.
Andrew Motion
I started out in life as a poet; I was only writing poetry all through my 20s. It wasn’t until I was about 30 that I got serious about writing prose. While I was writing poems, I would often divert myself by reading detective novels; I liked them.
Paul Auster
People used to say poems were different to songs but I don’t think they are.
Tinie Tempah
The sole literary presence from my childhood was my grandfather, a Jewish immigrant from Latvia, who eccentrically copied poems into the backs of his books. After he died, when I was 8 years old, my grandmother gave his books away, and his poems were lost.
Edward Hirsch
I’ve thought of the last line of some poems for years and tried them out, It wouldn’t work because the last line was much too beautiful for the poem.
Howard Nemerov
I don’t think I’ve ever written a poem whose intention was just to be funny. I’ve written poems that start out funny and often shift into something more serious.
Billy Collins
I see poetry as a path toward new understanding and transformation, and so I’ve looked at specific poems I love, and at poetry’s gestures in the broadest sense, in an effort to feel and learn what they offer from the inside.
Jane Hirshfield
‘Swan,’ by Mary Oliver. Poems and prose. Reading from this book is as if visiting a very wise friend. There is wisdom and welcoming kindness on every page.
Jessye Norman
Each word bears its weight, so you have to read my poems quite slowly.
Anne Stevenson
I not only wanted to write when I was 7 and 8, but I sent stuff out when I was 7 and 8. I sent it out… and I couldn’t believe that they would turn down my poems about faithful dogs.
Judith Viorst
Since I was a small child, I was always writing either poems or plays… plays in which I had the starring part.
Francine Pascal
Look at Allen Ginsberg. In poems like ‘Kaddish’ and ‘Howl,’ you can hear a cantor between the lines. It’s fully alive, and I think that’s what’s missing in modern poetry. It’s too dry and cerebral.
Derek Walcott
The idea is to take the most ordinary things and make them extraordinary, as Gerard Manley Hopkins does in his poems.
Alfonso A. Ossorio
My poems getting published in Russia doesn’t make me feel in any fashion, to tell you the truth. I’m not trying to be coy, but it doesn’t tickle my ego.
Joseph Brodsky
Many years, I would publish four books – an anthology, a book of criticism, a new book of poems, a book of essays.
Donald Hall
I like connecting the abstract to the concrete. There’s a tension in that. I believe the reader or listener should be able to enter the poem as a participant. So I try to get past resolving poems.
Yusef Komunyakaa
Often it seems that there are writers who are their best selves on the page. That Seamus Heaney was as genuine and deeply admirable in person as in his poems was to me a gift, then as now.
Natasha Trethewey
I started out really young, when I was four, five, six, writing poems, before I could play an instrument. I was writing about things when I was eight or 10 years old that I hadn’t lived long enough to experience. That’s why I also believe in reincarnation, that we were put here with ideas to pass around.
Willie Nelson
Literature – novels, plays, and poems – can have an uncanny dual life, where they simultaneously represent something eternal and something historical, and this is often how they are taught in school.
Jane Smiley
At high school, instead of the weekly essay, I would write a poem, and the teacher accepted that. The impulse was one of laziness, I’m certain. Poems were shorter than essays.
Paul Muldoon
I have to thank my mother for this. When I was a little boy she used to teach me poems. I would go in church and tell the poems in church for the Easter program, and again for Mother’s Day and any occasion she felt would fit. I was very energetic with delivery at that time as a boy, so it stuck with me.
Rudy Ray Moore
When I was one day old, I learned how to read. When I was two days old, I started to write. By the time I was three, I had finished 212 short stories, 38 novels, 730 poems, and one very funny limerick, all before breakfast.
Jon Scieszka
Civic poetry is public poetry. It is political poetry. It is about the hard stuff of life: money, crime, gender, corporate excess, racial injustice. It gives expression not just to our rites but also to our problems and even our values; these poems are not about rustic vacations.
Alissa Quart
In the United States, in poetry workshops, it’s now quite a thing to make graduate students learn poems by heart.
Seamus Heaney
No poems can please for long or live that are written by water drinkers.
Even when I was in school, I was doing papers and writing poems; I always had an edge to my delivery. It was never conscious, but it was more so my organic way of thinking about things.
Amanda Seales
Writing wasn’t just a form of expression. It was a form of pathology by embarking on spoken word over and over and over again and reciting my poems.
Amanda Gorman
A discrete series is a series of terms each of which is empirically derived, each one of which is empirically true. And this is the reason for the fragmentary character of those poems.
George Oppen
I started off in England and very few people knew I was Australian. I mean, the clues were in the poems, but they didn’t read them very carefully, and so for years and years I was considered completely part of the English poetry scene.
Peter Porter
The most dazzling aspect of ‘Possession’ is Ms. Byatt’s canny invention of letters, poems and diaries from the 19th century.
Jay Parini
I write poems, I meditate. I don’t live up to people’s expectations. I don’t do the conventional cool things – I know I am the coolest person.
Kangana Ran
Keats writes better about poems than anybody I’ve ever read. The things that he says about what he wants his own poems to be are the ideals that I share.
Andrew Motion
The poets who have written the best poems about war seem to be the poets whose countries have experienced an invasion or vicious dictatorships.
Billy Collins
I hadn’t published a book of poetry in over a decade because I’ve been very ill. As I got better and started to write, I said, ‘Wow, even as an old woman, I could have a selected book of poems.’
Ntozake Shange
I was shy at school, but not at home. We had a boiler that had tiles around it, so if my sister and I got new shoes we’d do a little tap dance on the tiles. I also wrote poems but would read them from behind a curtain.
Sarah Millican
Like so many aspiring writers who still have boxes of things they’ve written in their parents’ houses, I filled notebooks with half-finished poems and stories and first paragraphs of novels that never got written.
Ally Carter
I wrote poems. That is my work. I am convinced… I believe that what I wrote will be useful to people not only now but in future generations.
Joseph Brodsky
I have to make myself write, sometimes. In the space between poems, you somehow forget how to do it, where to begin. It was good to be task – based for a while. I just came downstairs each day, picked the one I was going to do that day, and wrote.
Simon Armitage
I think a good story can do as much as a novel; not the exact same thing, of course, but just as much artistically. They’re different beasts, but to tackle an expansive country like the United States, you’re either going to write a big novel, or go in to various points on the map and write stories or poems.
David Means
I have a little tiny Emily Dickinson so big that I carry in my pocket everywhere. And you just read three poems of Emily. She is so brave. She is so strong. She is such a sexy, passionate, little woman. I feel better.
Maurice Sendak
Poems that come swiftly are usually the ones that you keep.
Seamus Heaney
I was in Paris at an English-language bookstore. I picked up a volume of Dickinson’s poetry. I came back to my hotel, read 2,000 of her poems and immediately began composing in my head. I wrote down the melodies even before I got to a piano.
Gordon Getty
When American poet Alice Notley was very young, she used to sit in front of the radio and just listen. When she got older, she began to hear words and songs in her head everywhere she went – songs she loved, like ‘Begin the Beguine’ by Cole Porter, and her own words that sometimes tumbled out into poems.
Elizabeth Flock
All that I’ve done in my life thus far, all the poems and all the pictures, are not so much an intermingling of my life with art but a divine accident.
Gerard Malanga
In a long poem or a sequence of poems, you’re trying to formalize your obsessions and give them a shape and a name. The key is to realize if the connections you are making are ones with resonance.
Kevin Young
The first glimpse that we have of the notions which the Greeks possessed of the shape and the inhabitants of the earth is afforded by the poems passing under the name of Homer.
Joseph Jacobs
When I ventured into writing at the age of 17, I wanted to be a good and successful writer. I just wanted to write good stuff – poems, prose, stories, essays, everything.
Ruskin Bond
Well, it’s a badge of honour for any self-respecting poet to be criticized by Auberon Waugh. But in a lot of ways my poems are very conventional, and it’s no big deal for me to write a poem in either free verse or strict form; modern poets can, and do, do both.
Andrew Motion
Love, like poems, knows no boundaries. Religions, race, distance not even age can restrict someone from falling in love.
Shweta Basu Prasad
You see, the patience of an audience is very short, particularly with a non-entity. You’re an intruder, and you must make them laugh within three or four seconds. My poems fit the requirements, and I’m always thinking up new ones.
Nipsey Russell
It seems like I’ve been writing since birth! I started writing poems before I got to school. I wrote the class musical in first grade – both words and music. It was about a bunch of vegetables who got together in a salad. I played the chief carrot!
Jane Yolen
People who attack biography choose as their models vulgar and offensive biography. You could equally attack novels or poems by choosing bad poems or novels.
Claire Tomalin
Rhyme is a mnemonic device, an aid to the memory. And some poems are themselves mnemonics, that is to say, the whole purpose of the poem is to enable us to remember some information.
James Fenton
Once I planned to write a book of poems entirely about the things in my pocket. But I found it would be too long; and the age of the great epics is past.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
I would like to talk about poems like I talk about football.
Frank Skinner
I began writing poems when I was about eight, with a heavy assist from my mother. She read me Arthur Waley’s translations and Whitman and Robinson Jeffers, who have been lifelong influences on me. My father read Keats to me, and then he read more Keats while I was lying on the sofa struggling with asthma.
Carolyn Kizer
The best public poems aren’t necessarily those that go at the subject like a bull at a gate.
Andrew Motion
When I was a young man, I understood that poetry was two things – it was difficult to understand, but you could understand that the poet was miserable. So for a while there, I wrote poems that were hard to understand, even by me, but gave off whiffs of misery.
Billy Collins
I always wrote little things when I was younger. My first opus was a book of poems put down in a spiral notebook at five or six, handsomely accompanied by crayon illustrations.
Nicole Krauss
Everybody has ideas. The vital question is, what do you do with them? My rock musician sons shape their ideas into music. My sister takes her ideas and fashions them into poems. My brother uses his ideas to help him understand science. I take my ideas and turn them into stories.
The poems were the only thing I wrote that was not for everyone else. Then my editors at Penguin, who were also friends and had seen several of them, aggressively urged me to do a book. Editors can be aggressive, especially after drinks. That’s how ‘Beyond This Dark House’ appeared.
Guy Gavriel Kay
The years rolled their brutal course down the hill of time. Still poor, my clothes still smelling of the horse barn, still writing those doubtful poems where too much emotion clashed with too many words.
Paul Engle
My first collection of poems was published by Bloodaxe Books, which was then a very new imprint.
Helen Dunmore
The first poems I knew were nursery rhymes, and before I could read them for myself, I had come to love just the words of them, the words alone.
Dylan Thomas
It’s hard to write haiku. I write long, silly Indian poems.
Jack Kerouac
My first book was an adult novel, ‘Down Among the Gods,’ published by Virago, and I’ve written poems as well, a slim volume of poetry.
Kate Thompson
I believe in rooting poems in actual places, even if you move into some other extraordinary realm.
Edward Hirsch
I can’t understand these chaps who go round American universities explaining how they write poems: It’s like going round explaining how you sleep with your wife.
Philip Larkin
Some of us have been thinking and talking too long without doing anything. Poems are perfect; picketing, sometimes, is better.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
I like poems you can tack all over with a hammer and there are no hollow places.
John Ashbery
Though my poems are about evenly split between traditionally formal work that uses rhyme and meter and classical structure, and work that is freer, I feel that the music of language remains at the core of it all. Sound, rhythm, repetition, compression – these elements of my poetry are also elements of my prose.
Floyd Skloot
Imagination makes us aware of limitless possibilities. How many of us haven’t pondered the concept of infinity or imagined the possibility of time travel? In one of her poems, Emily Bronte likens imagination to a constant companion, but I prefer to think of it as a built-in entertainment system.
Alexandra Adornetto
The Hollywood movies are more like novels, and the kinds of films I make are more like poems.
Stan Brakhage
Favorite poems are like favorite children. We definitely have them but we never tell as the others would have their feelings hurt.
Nikki Giovanni
Poems, unlike songs, are written to be read and, thus, come equipped with their own rhythms and melodies; they’re self-contained entities, the whole shebang.
Jonathan Miles
The more I read my poems, the more I find out about them. I still read them with the same passion I felt when I wrote them as a young man.
Linton Kwesi Johnson
My earlier poems were sadder than my poems are today, perhaps because I wrote them in confusion or when I was unhappy. But I am not a melancholy person, quite the contrary, no one enjoys laughing more than I do.
Anne Stevenson
John Updike’s first published book was a collection of poems.
Jonathan Galassi
If someone is alone reading my poems, I hope it would be like reading someone’s notebook. A record. Of a place, beauty, difficulty. A familiar daily struggle.
Fanny Howe
For ‘King Cole’s American Salvage,’ I rode around in the wrecker with a local driver and watched him deal with customers and hook up the cars. I watched the guy who tore apart the cars in the junkyard. I also wrote poems about those guys. I loved hanging around the yard.
Bonnie Jo Campbell
Most of the time, comparing printed song lyrics with poems is like comparing recipes with food: that’s to say, patently unfair.
Jonathan Miles
Before I was ever a poet, my father was writing poems about me, so it was a turning of the tables when I became a poet and started answering, speaking back to his poems in ways that I had not before.
Natasha Trethewey
In history class, I wrote a poem, ‘The Royalists and the Roundheads.’ I would write poems about driftwood in art class and little stories about the sun, moon, and stars in science class. Since not many kids were writing in class, I got away with it.
Judith Viorst
Many poets write books. They’ll tell you: Well, I’ve got my next book, but there are two poems I need to write, one about x, one about y. This is a wonder to me.
Sharon Olds
My poems tend to have rhetorical structures; what I mean by that is they tend to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. There tends to be an opening, as if you were reading the opening chapter of a novel. They sound like I’m initiating something, or I’m making a move.
Billy Collins
When we started reading books to Raffi, I included some Russian ones. A friend had handed down a beautiful book of Daniil Kharms poems for children; they were not nonsense verse, but they were pretty close, and Raffi enjoyed them.
Keith Gessen
As a reader, coming to my reading as a writer immersed in fairytales, I can’t help but notice in so many stories, plays, poems that I read, the sort of breadcrumbs of fairytale techniques, so I’m very excited when I notice that.
Kate Bernheimer
I really like Pat Parker. I really like Audre Lorde. I read a lot of the Beats when I was younger, so Diane di Prima, Gary Snyder. I’ve been discovering a lot more modern poems as well.
Arlo Parks
I’ve reached a point in life where it would be easy to let down my guard and write simple imagistic poems. But I don’t want to write poems that aren’t necessary. I want to write poems that matter, that have an interesting point of view.
Maxine Kumin
I had always written. I had written stories and poems. Then I started writing plays.
Lena Dunham
Southern poets are still writing narrative poems, poems in forms, dramatic poems.
Robert Morgan
There’s one of my new poems actually – is a good example of where my poetry has ended up. My earlier river poetry was more like a cross between Shelley and Dylan Thomas.
Robert Adamson
In 1971, when I was 29, I wrote my first volume of poetry. I am a poet, and I have published four books of my poems.
Tony Buzan
My first book of poems was published privately in 1949. That was my mother. The book was ’25 Poems.’ It cost 200 dollars.
Derek Walcott
Often I find that poems predict what I’m going to do later in my own writing, and often I find that poems predict my life. So I think poetry is the most intense expression of feeling that we have.
Erica Jong
One of the most famous poems I know by Maya Angelou is not ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,’ it’s the other one, ‘Still I Rise.’
Chi Chi DeVayne
I think the first little jolt I got was reading Gerard Manley Hopkins – I liked other poems… but Hopkins was kind of electric for me – he changed the rules with speech, and the whole intensity of the language was there and so on.
Seamus Heaney
I’ve always wanted to write poems and nothing else.
Mary Oliver
Only truthful hands write true poems. I cannot see any basic difference between a handshake and a poem.
Paul Celan
I always wrote poems when I was a little girl, and I loved hip hop music, and I kind of just started writing poems over beats, and that’s when I started rapping.
Chanel West Coast
As a child, what captivated me was reading the poems myself and realizing that there was a world without material substance which was nevertheless as alive as any other.
Mary Oliver
After I’d produced about two dozen pen and ink drawings, one evening I decided that they needed poems to accompany them. I still have no idea where that notion came from, but it took me about two hours to produce verses for these creatures.
Jack Prelutsky
My earliest poems sing of the absolute necessity of allowing love to invade and pervade one’s life. That can make the miracle happen in reality. Try it.
James Broughton
I grew up in New York City. In elementary school, I was a charter member of the Scribble Scrabble Club, and in high school, my poems were published in an anthology of student poetry.
Gail Carson Levine
It’s difficult to learn poems off by heart that don’t rhyme.
Seamus Heaney
I want to write poems which are very emotional, but I would have some hesitation in saying I want to write poems which are sentimental.
Andrew Motion
The interesting thing is that you don’t often meet a poet who doesn’t have a sense of humour, and some of them do keep it out of their poems because they’re afraid of being seen as light versifiers.
Wendy Cope
Even though I was a reluctant reader in junior high and high school, I found myself writing poems in the back of class.
Matt de la Pena
Poems in a way are spells against death. They are milestones, to see where you were then from where you are now. To perpetuate your feelings, to establish them. If you have in any way touched the central heart of mankind’s feelings, you’ll survive.
Richard Eberhart
I usually do at least a dozen drafts and progressively make more-conscious decisions. Because I’ve always believed stories are closer to poems than novels, I spend a lot of time on the story’s larger rhythms, such as sentence and paragraph length, placement of flashbacks and dialogue.
Ron Rash
I’m terrified of switching the computer on because there are so many poems.
Roger McGough
Pretty much the day I stopped being laureate, the poems that had been few and far between came back to me, like birds in the evening nesting in a tree.
Andrew Motion
The best books of our times have included the three mature volumes of Philip Larkin. They’re very short books of poems, and very carefully arranged.
Robert Morgan
All poems say the same thing, and each poem is unique. Each part reproduces the others, and each part is different.
Octavio Paz
We read Robert Browning’s poetry. Here we needed no guidance from the professor: the poems themselves were enough.
Carl Sandburg
Writers must… take care of the sensibility that houses the possibility of poems.
Mary Oliver
I like poems that are little games.
Peter Davison
Throughout his career, W.G. Sebald wrote poems that were strikingly similar to his prose. His tone, in both genres, was always understated but possessed of a mournful grandeur.
Teju Cole
The historical legacy of ‘The Best American Poetry’ is they’ve had very few editors who were not white. They’ve had very few instances where they’ve selected poems by non-white poets.
Jenny Zhang
Poems, novels – these things belong to the nation, to the culture, and the people.
Joseph Brodsky
Poems are endlessly renewable resources. Whatever you bring to them, at whatever stage of life, gets mirrored back, refracted, reread in new ways.
Jonathan Galassi
The only difference between me and others is that they think they can change something with cute little poems, nice cards or embracing trees and being nice to little lapdogs.
Henry Rollins
I am a guest of the French language. My poems in French are born of my interaction with the French language, which is not the same as that of a French poet.
Tahar Ben Jelloun
Heartbreak was the impetus to me writing poems and music in the first place. Over the years, I had my heart broken so badly that if I didn’t find a way to get all the pain out, I was going to lose my mind. I was crazy! Like, wanting to slash tires and smash car windows. Crazy! I was so hurt that I had to write.
Jill Scott
I really just love reading. It’s my favorite thing, performing my poems live. Reading by reading, I just kind of follow my nose.
Eileen Myles
The poets, therefore, however much they adorned the gods in their poems, and amplified their exploits with the highest praises, yet very frequently confess that all things are held together and governed by one spirit or mind.
I came from a home full of the sounds of my parents performing poems or playing recordings of Robert Graves, WB Yeats and Dylan Thomas.
Michael Rosen
My poems are always about my life in one way or another.
Jonathan Galassi
I didn’t think about whether I was writing poems. I was thinking. And the more I was thinking, the more there was I didn’t understand.
David Antin
What I wanted to do was use literature and different kinds of stories and poems as a springboard, tapping into the creativity of our teens – I wanted teenagers to come up with their own creative responses to literature – using books themselves as a starting point.
Malorie Blackman
My poems tend to be more celebratory and lyrical, and the novels so far pretty dark. Poetry doesn’t seem to me to be an appropriate tool for exploring that.
John Burnside
I want to just go to places where writers don’t usually go, where people like me don’t usually show up, and say, ‘Here are some poems. Do they speak to you? What do you hear in them?’
Tracy K. Smith
I admire Ginsberg as a poet, despite the fact that he seems not to know when he is being good and when he is bad. But he will last, or at least those poems will last.
Leslie Fiedler
Poems mesmerized me, and I felt better when I was writing them, or trying to – more in touch with something deep and dark within myself.
Edward Hirsch
I have learned so much from working with other poets, travelling and reading with them, spending days discussing poems in progress. There is the sense that we are all, as writers, part of something which is more powerful than any of us.
Helen Dunmore
I always knew that I was tremendously creative. I recited love poems, I wrote stories and I got excellent grades in every subject, except for maths.
I like the machinery of poems, especially when they have human warmth.
Edward Hirsch
I would come to understand there is no poem separable from its source. I began to see that poems are not just an individual florescence. They are also a vast root system growing down into ideas and understandings. Almost unbidden, they tap into the history and evolution of art and language.
Eavan Boland
People called me Cilla when I was little because I was always singing and writing poems.
Nicola Roberts
When I was in fourth grade, I started writing a lot of poetry, and eventually, someone in the church was like, ‘You should switch this over to rapping.’ I went home and did that – started putting my poems over rap.
My childhood was all about going to church, singing in church. And later on, after I got a little older, my mother taught me how to do poems for Easter and Mother’s Day, recitals and so on. I got attached to that, so as I got older and older, I began to recite poetry.
Rudy Ray Moore
Poems evolve. I don’t feel like I choose them; they just come to me.
Kevin Young
You litter poems with too much learning when you’re younger.
Tony Harrison
The idea of a pseudonym had been flitting around my brain for a long time, along with its cognate, disappearance. In the 1980s, I published some poems under a pen name in a literary magazine to see what it would feel like. It was fun. It was even a little thrilling.
Michael Redhill
I think poems belong as much in the news pages as the literary pages. A lot of people throw aside the literary pages! Whereas everybody looks at the news section.
Tony Harrison
I don’t expect you’ll hear me writing any poems to the greater glory of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
Robert Penn Warren
I like poems that are complex.
Peter Davison
My poems – I don’t even like the sound of that, in a way. Not that anyone else wrote them. But we know that only people who are really close to us care about our personal experience.
Sharon Olds
I started out writing poems before I figured to put melodies to them and play the guitar. Somewhere, there’s a book out there on all those early songs and poems. I hope no one ever finds it. I don’t think it’s my finest work.
Willie Nelson
It may be said that poems are in one way like icebergs: only about a third of their bulk appears above the surface of the page.
Howard Nemerov
Poems, for me, begin as a social engagement. I want to establish a kind of sociability or even hospitality at the beginning of a poem. The title and the first few lines are a kind of welcome mat where I am inviting the reader inside.
Billy Collins
If I were to die thinking that I’d written three poems that people might read after me, I would feel that I hadn’t lived in vain. Great poets might expect the whole body of their work, but most of us – well, I would settle for a handful.
Andrew Motion
The first thing I tried to do in the months after losing my mother was to write a poem. I found myself turning to poetry in the way so many people do – to make sense of losses. And I wrote pretty bad poems about it. But it did feel that the poem was the only place that could hold this grief.
Natasha Trethewey
Most poets are young simply because they have not been caught up. Show me an old poet, and I’ll show you, more often than not, either a madman or a master… it’s when you begin to lie to yourself in a poem in order simply to make a poem that you fail. That is why I do not rework poems.
Charles Bukowski
I find a lot of poetry very disappointing, but I do have poets that I go back to. One book of poetry that I’d like to mention is ‘The Exchange’ by Sophie Cabot Black. Her poems are difficult without being too difficult.
Billy Collins
I learn a lot about my poems when I read them by the way people respond to them.
Mary Oliver
I’ve been interested in LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka’s work for quite a while. My first introduction to LeRoi Jones was when my mother used to read me the ‘Dead Lecturer’ poems when I was a kid.
Rashid Johnson
I studied poetry in college and for a year in an MFA program. As time went on, my poems got more and more complicated. What I was really trying to do was tell stories.
Jennifer McMahon
I really liked writing rhyming poems and plays.
KT Tunstall
My poems always begin with a metaphor, but my way into the metaphor may be a word, an image, even a sound. And I rarely know the nature of the metaphor when I begin to write, but there is an attentiveness that a writer develops, a sudden alertness that is much like the feel of a fish brushing against a hook.
Stephen Dobyns
When I go to the shore, I take along the poems of Pablo Neruda. I suppose it’s because the poems are simultaneously lush and ripe and kind of lazy, yet throbbing with life – like summer itself.
Tom Robbins
If I were assigned poems I suppose I’d write more of them but it is entirely voluntary and for the most part ignored in the market sense of the word so the language to me is most intimate, most important, most sublime and most satisfying when it gets done.
Thomas Lynch
Don’t be too harsh to these poems until they’re typed. I always think typescript lends some sort of certainty: at least, if the things are bad then, they appear to be bad with conviction.
Dylan Thomas
Of the individual poems, some are more lyric and some are more descriptive or narrative. Each poem is fixed in a moment. All those moments written or read together take on the movement and architecture of a narrative.
Marilyn Hacker
One of my graduate school professors, to whom I started sending poems when I started writing again after a 10-year hiatus, suggested I prepare a book manuscript which he could send to publishers for me.
Marilyn Nelson
I’ve not been a prolific poet, and it always seemed to me to be a bad idea to feel that you had to produce in order to get… credits. Production of a collection of poems every three years or every five years, or whatever, looks good, on paper. But it might not be good; it might be writing on a kind of automatic pilot.
James Fenton
I have always thought of poems as stepping stones in one’s own sense of oneself. Every now and again, you write a poem that gives you self-respect and steadies your going a little bit farther out in the stream. At the same time, you have to conjure the next stepping stone because the stream, we hope, keeps flowing.
Seamus Heaney
I’m a great believer in poetry out of the classroom, in public places, on subways, trains, on cocktail napkins. I’d rather have my poems on the subway than around the seminar table at an MFA program.
Billy Collins
I play with language a great deal in my poems, and I enjoy that. I try to condense language, that is, I try to express complicated but I hope real emotions as simply as possible. But that doesn’t mean the poems are simple, just that they are as truthful as I can make them.
Anne Stevenson
I think of something quite different from a snapshot. I know of a lot of poems, some very fine ones, that are like snapshots, but I’m more interested in poetry that is like an endless film, long stories, things that weave together many different strands, like a big piece of cloth, not like a photograph.
Robert Bringhurst
By the age of nine, I had a thorough knowledge of contemporary Polish literature as well as of foreign literature in Polish translation, and I began to write poems in honour of a lady of thirty years. Naturally, she knew nothing about them.
Wladyslaw Reymont
I used to get in trouble a lot in school because I would write very naughty stories and poems in class.
However, I began to submit poems to British magazines, and some were accepted. It was a great moment to see my first poems published. It felt like entering a tradition.
Helen Dunmore
Poems are ideally suited, in some ways, to social media because they pack so much meaning into so little language.
Michelle Dean
You don’t help people in your poems. I’ve been trying to help people all my life – that’s my trouble.
Charles Olson
I have a vast ‘bone pile’ of stillborn or abandoned poems along with jottings and wisps from the great beyond that I tend to scan. Sometimes that leads somewhere, and sometimes the Muse is just on sabbatical.
Maxine Kumin
My horizon on humanity is enlarged by reading the writers of poems, seeing a painting, listening to some music, some opera, which has nothing at all to do with a volatile human condition or struggle or whatever. It enriches me as a human being.
Wole Soyinka
Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.
Virginia Woolf
Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.
Rainer Maria Rilke
In other words the pictures are in a kind of relationship with each other which is touching only at points rather than pictures being illustrations of poems or poems extrapolations of the pictures.
Peter Porter
I liked the kid who wrote me that he had to do a term paper on a modern poet and he was doing me because, though they say you have to read poems twice, he found he could handle mine in one try.
Howard Nemerov
I was taught that poems don’t end, they just kind of stop. There’s never an ending to a poem; it’s a continuation for later. When I write, I write for me, and I write in poetic form.
I was writing notes, but not composing poems. The Hunter began to develop out of this fragmented process.
George Murray
I write… sonnets… and writing sonnets is boring. You have to find rhymes; you have to write hendecasyllables; so after a while, I get bored and my drawer is overflowing with unfinished short poems.
Italo Calvino
Garrison Keillor read several of my poems on ‘The Writer’s Almanac’ and I’ve heard from listeners nationally and internationally. That’s one of the great gifts of email.
Ellen Bass
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
I am a writer… I am a genius of a writer; I have it in me. I am writing the best poems of my life; they will make my name.
Sylvia Plath
When I was a kid, a pickleball hit me in the back of the head, and I had memory problems. I was in a boarding school and the nuns gave me poems to remember to try and get the memory going again.
C. C. H. Pounder
My poems… the ones that start out as jokes become these big ponderous things and the ones that start out ponderous devolve into jokes.
Jess Walter
In all the poems I’ve written I’ve not really engaged in politics, and when I’ve found myself moving in that direction I’ve always stopped myself.
Simon Armitage
I like Beethoven, especially the poems.
Ringo Starr
A lot of my activity in the theatre, and even in writing poems, was a kind of retrospective aggro on the English teacher who wouldn’t allow me to read poetry aloud.
Tony Harrison
The reason a poet is a poet is to write poems, not to advertise himself as a poet.
Yehuda Amichai
I’m very aware of the presence of a reader, and that probably is a reaction against a lot of poems that I do read which seem oblivious to my presence as a reader.
Billy Collins
I used to carry about with me a German map-case filled with poems.
John C. Hawkes
How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.
Robert Penn Warren
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
Poems are a form of music, and language just happens to be our instrument – language and breath.
Terrance Hayes
I believed in fictional characters as if they were a part of real life. Poetry was important, too. My parents had memorized poems from their days attending school in New York City and loved reciting them. We all enjoyed listening to these poems and to music as well.
Alice McDermott
My father read poetry to me, encouraged me to memorize poems. But the writing of it was quite a different thing.
C. K. Williams
Yes, I do often write poems from the mind, but I hope I don’t ignore feelings and emotions.
Anne Stevenson
There’s so much to think about when you’re becoming an adult, and there’s so many great poems about that apprehension and excitement.
Caroline Kennedy
There are certain functions that a writer has to do. In a time of crisis, it is great to have heroic poems, as it was in the Irish Revolution. It’s great to have great songs, because people need something to sing when they are marching. That’s OK, but it should be on the side. It’s not the ultimate thing.
Derek Walcott
Why does one always ask a writer why they stopped? I am sure everyone finds in any drawer a few dear poems.
Peter Bichsel
I love my funny poems, but I’d rather break your heart. And if I can do both in the same poem, that’s the best.
James Tate
I think of my poems as personal and public at the same time. You could say they serve as psychological overlays. One fits on top of the other, and hopefully there’s an ongoing evolution of clarity.
Yusef Komunyakaa
I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.
Virginia Woolf
Attempts to put my poems to music have had disastrous results in all cases. And the poem, if it’s written with the ear, already has been set to its own verbal music as it was composed.
Billy Collins
I write almost everything, actually. Songs, poems, stories. And stories out of every genre, too.
Jackie Evancho
Short stories and poems are an intense burst of emotions.
I still read Donne, particularly his love poems.
Carol Ann Duffy
During the Gulf War, I remember two little third grade girls saying to me – after I read them some poems by writers in Iraq – ‘You know, we never thought about there being children in Iraq before.’ And I thought, ‘Well those poems did their job, because now they’ll think about everything a little bit differently.’
Naomi Shihab Nye
These poems, with all their crudities, doubts, and confusions, are written for the love of Man and in praise of God, and I’d be a damn’ fool if they weren’t.
Dylan Thomas
Poems are perfect for something to listen to while you’re walking around because they don’t take very long.
Billy Collins
Literary generations come and go, and each generation passeth away and is heard of no more. In the end, simply the making itself – of poems and stories and essays – delivers the only reward a writer can be sure of. And, perhaps, the only one that matters.
Michael Dirda
There’s not too much difference between writing a picture book and writing a collection of a hundred poems or so, except that the bigger books take a lot longer to do.
Jack Prelutsky
My wife, Keisha, came home once, and I had these violinists playing for her, and I’d prepared dinner for her, and I write poems. She’s pretty amazing, so I like to celebrate that. She’s really taught me how to celebrate life; that’s something I’ve learned.
Forest Whitaker
When somebody’s in love with you, they think it’s amazing you’ve written them a poem, and when they don’t love you anymore, they hate those poems. They wish those poems would go away.
Eileen Myles
Sometimes I write quickly, sometimes I spend several weeks on a single poem. I would really love for readers not to be able to guess which of the poems took so much work!
Wislawa Szymborska
I’ve always thought my poems told stories.
Douglas Dunn
I’ve said what I’m prepared to say in my poems, and then journalists think that you’re going to tell them a whole lot more.
Wendy Cope
You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems and suffer and understand, for all that is life.
Jiddu Krishnamurti
I wrote two poems about the ’81 uprisings: ‘Di Great Insohreckshan’ and ‘Mekin Histri.’ I wrote those two poems from the perspective of those who had taken part in the Brixton riots. The tone of the poem is celebratory because I wanted to capture the mood of exhilaration felt by black people at the time.
Linton Kwesi Johnson
I don’t want my poems to be sentimental, though I do acknowledge that sentiment is probably rather under-reported in a lot of people’s feelings a lot of the time.
Andrew Motion
No one will ever know how many novels, poems, analyses, confessions, sufferings and joys have been piled up on this continent called Love, without it ever having turned out to be totally investigated.
Heinrich Boll
I have these rhyme-based ideas because I love Julia Donaldson. ‘The Snail and the Whale’ is one of the most beautiful poems, and I feel like I could do that.
Tim Minchin
I have hundreds of poems memorized. Mostly by others, but also my own. I use the poems when I lead retreats for management groups on topics like creating teams, or coming up with a more entrepreneurial system, or creating more excitement.
David Whyte
I learned to play guitar at a young age and converted poems and stuff that I had written to songs.
Gregory Harrison
The Christopher Robin who appears in so many of the poems is not always me. This was where my name, so totally useless to me personally, came into its own: it was a wonderful name for writing poetry round.
Christopher Robin Milne
Sometimes, for me, lyrics are derived from poems that I’m working on, and they kind of cross back and forth between the two.
Lee Ranaldo
I think of myself as a writer who photographs. Images, for me, can be considered poems, short stories or essays. And I’ve always thought the best place for my photographs was inside books of my own creation.
Sam Abell
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
My favorite poets may not be your bread and butter. I have more favorite poems than favorite poets.
Rita Dove
‘A collected poems’ is either a gravestone or a testimonial to survival.
Al Purdy
A blend of fact and fiction has been used in various forms since the dawn of creative writing, starting with sagas and epic poems.
Antony Beevor
I don’t write poems. I don’t give flowers to girls… yet.
Rico Rodriguez
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
A lot of young poets today, from what I’ve heard and experienced, can’t get their heads past George W. Bush, and I’ve heard so many poems about this democracy and this era of politics that I’m kind of bored by it.
Amber Tamblyn
In 1977, I wrote a series of poems about a character, Black Bart, a former cattle rustler-turned-alchemist. A good friend, Claude Purdy, who is a stage director, suggested I turn the poems into a play.
August Wilson
I started writing when I was in school. I wrote essays and in my teen years I used to write sorrowful sad stories and poems as you do at the age.
Sudha Murty
I’ve always felt that poetry was particularly erotic, more than prose was… I say that you read poems not with your eyes and not with your ears, but with your mouth. You taste it.
Donald Hall
With fiction, I tend to get to my desk and start writing. Poetry I write in my head, often while walking, so that my poems have an organic quality, hopefully.
John Burnside
One Christmas I had no money, and so I went home and just, like, wrote a poem; I mean, I didn’t write them, but I just handed out poems as Christmas presents. Like, ‘Here’s a Pablo Neruda poem that really made me think of you.’
June Diane Raphael
I had written here and there about my mother in my poems. There are poems for her in my first and second books.
Tracy K. Smith
The way a small child might dream of visiting Disneyland, I dreamed of writing books. Never did I think my poems would become that.
Rupi Kaur
Since the age of 11, I have loved writing poems and fragments from my life.
Niki de St. Phalle
As far as I was concerned, it was the absence of women in the poetic tradition which allowed women in the poems to be simplified. The voice of a woman poet would, I was sure, have precluded such distortion. It did not exist.
Eavan Boland
I am increasingly attracted to restricting possibility in the poem by inflicting a form upon yourself. Once you impose some formal pattern on yourself, then the poem is pushing back. I think good poems are often the result of that kind of wrestling with the form.
Billy Collins
So many poems you go into and come up empty.
Maxine Kumin
Our poems will have failed if our readers are not brought by them beyond the poems.
Muriel Rukeyser
I would rather write poems than prose, any day, any place. Yet each has its own force.
Mary Oliver
I don’t think of poetry as a ‘rational’ activity but as an aural one. My poems usually begin with words or phrases which appeal more because of their sound than their meaning, and the movement and phrasing of a poem are very important to me.
Margaret Atwood
Hmmm. I think a lot of people can write poems that are howls of anguish. I think I’ve probably written such things and then torn them up.
John Fuller
I think my poems are slightly underrated by the word ‘accessible.’
Billy Collins
I think I felt at some point that I couldn’t understand poetry or that it was beyond me or it didn’t speak to my experience. I think that was because I hadn’t yet found the right poems to invite me in.
Natasha Trethewey
I’m happy to stick with my persona. There are themes of love lost and love regained, but the main themes of all poems are basically love and death, and that seems to be the message of poetry.
Billy Collins
I’m trying to make the poems as musical as I can – from the inception. So that whether they’re read on the page, or people read them aloud, or I read them aloud, the musicality will be kind of a given.
Amiri Baraka
We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words.
John Fowles
I tend to like poems that engage me – that is to say, which do not bore me.
Mark Strand
I started writing after the death of my grandfather – memories, poems, etc. It was very personal; for years I did not share my writing with anyone.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
If I weren’t musical, then I would have just published a book, you know? But I’m lucky enough to play piano, and so I use piano to convert my poems.
Benjamin Clementine
To realise belatedly that there are Swahili epic poems which rival their European equivalents for sweep and power has been exciting.
Giles Foden
I came from a very musical family, so I grew up singing karaoke with the family. My family said ‘do this’ and brought me to singing lessons. I had always been writing poems and songs.
Cassie Steele
I’m trying to write poems that involve beginning at a known place, and ending up at a slightly different place. I’m trying to take a little journey from one place to another, and it’s usually from a realistic place, to a place in the imagination.
Billy Collins
I started writing as a child. But I didn’t think of myself actually writing until I was in college. And I had gone to Africa as a sophomore or something – no, maybe junior – and wrote a book of poems. And that was my beginning. I published that book.
Alice Walker
Today the U.S. is farther from being nourished by poetry than it was a hundred years ago, when books of poems were best-sellers.
James Broughton
I like to read a lot of books and poems. Even though poems are short, I enjoy the emotions that come with them.
On July 26, 1916, I announced to all my friends in America that from now on I resolved to write no more poems in the classical language, and to begin my experiments in writing poetry in the so-called vulgar tongue of the people.
Hu Shih