There is poetry as soon as we realize we possess nothing.
To write well about the elegant world you have to know it and experience it to the depths of your being… what matters is not whether you love it or hate it, but only to be quite clear about your position regarding it.
Success consists in felicity of verbal expression, which every so often may result from a quick flash of inspiration but as a rule involves a patient search . . . for the sentence in which every word is unalterable.
Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise.
To me, revision is a liberation. I get to let go of control for this one thing in my life. I am happiest when I have to disassemble and
reconstruct a poem because that means I'm not limited by my mental map. Instead, I gleefully entangle in the wayfinding. Ahh, what a relief such slowing down is!
We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the music the words make.
Writing stopped being fun when I discovered the difference between good writing and bad and, even more terrifying, the difference between it and true art. And after that, the whip came down.
Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.
A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.
If you can’t be a poet, be the poem.
If prose is a house, poetry is a man on fire running quite fast through it.
Words bounce. Words, if you let them, will do what they want to do and what they have to do.
Desire is no light thing.
I think a poem, when it works, is an action of the mind captured on a page, and the reader, when he engages it, has to enter into that action. And so his mind repeats that action and travels again through the action, but it is a movement of yourself through a thought, through an activity of thinking, so by the time you get to the end you’re different than you were at the beginning and you feel that difference.
Given the initial talent … writing is largely a matter of application and hard work, of writing and rewriting endlessly, until you are satisfied that you have said what you want to say as clearly and simply as possible. For me, that usually means many, many revisions.
George Washington Carver
When you can do a common thing in an uncommon way; you will command the attention of the world.
I think that if you shake the tree, you ought to be around when the fruit falls to pick it up.
There are two ways for a painter: the broad and easy one or the narrow and hard one.
Women should be someone and not something.
There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.
The test of one’s decency is how much of a fight one can put up after one has stopped caring, and after one has found out that one can never please the people they wanted to please.
The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is.
The heart of another is a dark forest, always, no matter how close it has been to one's own.
It’s so foolish to live (which is always trouble enough) and not to save your soul. It’s so foolish to lose your real pleasures for the supposed pleasures of the chase—or the stock exchange.
Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.
There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.
That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great.
Only a soul full of despair can ever attain serenity and, to be in despair, you must have loved a good deal and still love the world.
The single fact of existing is already a true happiness.
I'm not an extraordinary worker, I'm an extraordinary daydreamer. I exceed all my fantasies—even that of writing.
Writing is a noble privilege compared with the lot of most people, who live like parts of a machine, who live only to keep the gears of society pointlessly turning.
Writing is to descend like a miner to the depths of the mine with a lamp on your forehead, a light whose dubious brightness falsifies everything, whose wick is in permanent danger of explosion, whose blinking illumination in the coal dust exhausts and corrodes your eyes.
Great art picks up where nature ends.
There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony. There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time.
Guilt is perhaps the most painful companion of death.
In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.
Success is most often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable.
The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.
Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.
You live but once; you might as well be amusing.
I wrestled with my ancestors to let me claim hold of my life.
I question my own talent and ability to make creative work every single day.
As I published books, I realized, that's not really what I want. I don't care about the books as much anymore. I just want to write poetry.
I am always reading, always, and tons of things at once. I wouldn't say I'm a voracious reader, though. I never finish books that fast, because I'm always reading so many things at once.
William Ellergy Channing
Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage.
Imagination means nothing without doing.
If I have any message at all for young writers it is this: Healing laughter is in order. A writer either weeps or praises. Look up and praise. The world has need of it.
Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.
It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.
Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.
Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.
The aim of good prose words is to mean what they say. The aim of good poetical words is to mean what they do not say.
The artistic temperament is a disease that afflicts amateurs.
There is only one thing that it requires real courage to say, and that is a truism.
Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.
You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.
Tremendous amounts of talent are lost to our society just because that talent wears a skirt.
We must reject not only the stereotypes that others have of us bust also those we have of ourselves.
If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.
Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation.
The best use of imagination is creativity. The worst use of imagination is anxiety.
If you are going through hell, keep going.
It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.
Poetry lies its way to the truth.
Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.
I think that were beginning to remember that the first poets didn’t come out of a classroom, that poetry began when somebody walked off of a savanna or out of a cave and looked up at the sky with wonder and said, “Ahhh.” That was the first poem.
What they call you is one thing. What you answer to is something else.
I don’t write out of what I know; I write out of what I wonder. I think most artists create art in order to explore, not to give the answers. Poetry and art are not about answers to me, they are about questions.
We cannot create what we cannot imagine.
Poetry is a matter of life, not just a matter of language.
People wish to be poets more than they wish to write poetry, and that’s a mistake. One
should wish to celebrate more than one wishes to be celebrated.
Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.
Lie naked on the table, and let them cut. Criticism is surgery, and humility is the anesthetic that allows you to tolerate it. In the end, the process will make you a stronger, more flexible, and truly creative writer. It will replace attitude with genuine confidence, and empty arrogance with artistry.
The distance between dreams and reality is discipline.
The cutting of the gem has to be finished before you can see whether it shines.
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
It’s all about the mystery of art. I can’t think of one piece I have ever created that does not have some hidden message. There are . . . moments where I do not realize until I am finished that there are all kinds of symbolic images in my work.
Tell them that as soon as I can walk I’m going to fly.
If I can create the minimum of my plans and desires, there shall be no regrets.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Poetry: the best words in the best order.
Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests.
Works of imagination should be written in very plain language; the more purely imaginative they are the more necessary it is to be plain.
A lack of money, if it be relative, and a lack of comfort can be endured if one is sustained by pride. But not the need to be astounded.
Be happy. It's one way of being wise.
You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.
What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner.
I love my past, I love my present. I am not ashamed of what I have had, and I am not sad because I no longer have it.
Total absence of humor renders life impossible.
The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
Better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self.
All creative art is magic, is evocation of the unseen in forms persuasive, enlightening, familiar and surprising, for the edification of mankind.
The path to your success is not as fixed and inflexible as you think.
I just try to approach every opportunity on stage, as if it’s my first time and my last time.
You can do anything you want, even if you are being told negative things. Stay strong and find motivation.
Every time I dance, I'm trying to prove myself to myself.
More often than we realize, people see in us what we don't see in ourselves.
You have to be the one promoting yourself. If you don't think that you're worthy, you're never going to make it.
Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.