on poetry

September 12, 2022

“The Atlantic turned down 2 of my best poems — upset for I had wanted them to be so good that even people who didn’t like poetry would feel that this was real, was good. I must write desperately, now or never, putting my finest, my most secret self into them. I must build a monument against time. And all this must be done with no thought, no hope, of fame, of publication, but in the hope that something out of it, say 3 poems out of a hundred, will be worth something, will deserve to endure, will prove that my life was not useless.”
Marya Zaturenska
(September 12, 1902 – January 19, 1982)

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on poetry

September 1, 2022

“I’m not an extraordinary worker, I’m an extraordinary daydreamer. I exceed all my fantasies — even that of writing.”
Blaise Cendrars
(September 1, 1887 – January 21, 1961)

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on poetry

August 20, 2022


“The antagonism between the poet and the politician has generally been evident in all cultures.”
Salvatore Quasimodo
(August 20, 1901 – June 14, 1968)

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on poetry

August 5, 2022

“There are some brightnesses which are stationary and static, but a poem, like a bird, must fly.”
José Garcia Villa
(August 5, 1908 – February 7, 1997)

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on poetry

August 1, 2022


“For as long as I was trying not to write poems — and I spent years trying not to write them, and throwing my energy into dumb things — my life was having none of it. I was stuck. I was getting spiritual pushback. Everything I planned was being dashed to pieces, because I had work to do that I wasn’t doing. But when I started to write, things settled for me.”
Lorna Goodison
(b. August 1, 1947)

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on poetry

July 27, 2022

“There’s no posterity to write for. I’m writing now for mutated arthropods.”
Peter Reading
(July 27, 1946 – November 17, 2011)

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on poetry

July 5, 2022

“I often use outside material as part of my creative process: my M.O. is to begin with language or bits of information (story or ‘fact’) and see where it leads me. For these science-inspired poems I am most often led back to the human being where my own obsessions emerge — and often circle around the exploration of sexuality and yes, the monstrous.”
Kimiko Hahn
(b. July 5, 1955)

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on poetry

June 20, 2022

“I write something every day. It might be a line of a poem. It might be a line of a song. It might be a sentence of a lecture. It might be a response to a question. Each takes a long time. I have no facility with language. I work hard at every sentence. Including this one. I’m still working on it!”
Paul Muldoon
(b. June 20, 1951)

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on poetry

June 16, 2022

“I have forced myself to begin writing when I’ve been utterly exhausted, when I’ve felt my soul as thin as a playing card…and somehow the activity of writing changes everything.”
Joyce Carol Oates
(b. June 16, 1938)

on poetry

June 10, 2022

“In 2011, I keep hearing that poetry is irrelevant, and there certainly isn’t much market for it. That doesn’t scare me. Poetry, grounded in the perception of endings, enjambment, and disjunction, is both a defiance of authority and a deposit from a future yet to come.”
Susan Howe
(b. June 10, 1937)

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photo by Nina Subin
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