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Quotations E--F







Cornelius Eady


I've always felt that poetry is the enemy of silence, but of course, in the right moments, silence can be useful. The trick is just trying to figure out when. And when I say silence, I suppose I actually meant erasure - poetry is a force against that, I think, or it should be.


What I love about drafts is the experimental nature of them. The draft is what you know about writing a poem running up against what you don't know about the subject. If you're lucky, you get to surprise yourself.


Amelia Earhart


You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky.


Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done.


Adventure is worthwhile in itself.


Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.


Meister Eckhart


Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.


Marian Wright Edelman 


We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.

Maria Edgeworth

It sometimes requires courage to fly from danger.

It is not so easy to do good as those who have never attempted it may imagine.

We may make our future by the best use of the present. There is no moment like the present.

Surely it is much more generous to forgive and remember, than to forgive and forget.

Nature knows best, and she says, roar!

Hope can produce the finest and most permanent springs of action.

Those who are animated by hope can perform what would seem impossibilities to those who are under the depressing influence of fear.


Thomas Edison


Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. 


Jennifer Egan


You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly . . .  Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.


Albert Einstein


Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.


The important thing is not to stop questioning.


The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.


Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.


Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know now and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there will ever be to know and understand.


A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.


Know where to find the information and how to use it—that’s the secret of success.


In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.


The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.


A person who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. 


We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.


The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.


The only way to escape the corruptible effect of praise is to go on working. 


Creativity is intelligence having fun.


George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)


There is a great deal of unmapped country within us which would have to be taken into account in an explanation of our gusts and storms.


It is never too late to be what you might have been.

My own experience and development deepen everyday my conviction that our moral progress may be measured by the degree in which we sympathize with individual suffering and individual joy.


Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.


What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?


It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.


Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.


What makes life dreary is the want of a motive.


It is always fatal to have music or poetry interrupted.


T.S. Eliot


Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.    


Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.


Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotion know what it means to want to escape from these.


Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.


Harlan Ellison


People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.


Ralph Waldo Emerson


All is riddle, and the key to a riddle is another riddle.    


The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

Poetry must be new as foam, and as old as the rock.


You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.


Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.


What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.


To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.


The earth laughs in flowers.


The man who has seen the rising moon break out of the clouds at midnight has been present like an archangel at the creation of light and of the world.


Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.


A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.


What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.


Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.


Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.


A painter told me that nobody could draw a tree without in some sort becoming a tree; or draw a child by studying the outlines of its form merely but by watching for a time his motions and plays, the painter enters into his nature and can then draw him at every 

attitude . . . 


Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.


That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do—not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased.


Paul Engle


Poetry is ordinary language raised to the Nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words. 




The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.




Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.


Louise Erdrich


Things which do not grow and change are dead things.


To sew is to pray. Men don't understand this. They see the whole but they don't see the stitches. They don't see the speech of the creator in the work of the needle.


Here I am, where I ought to be. A writer must have a place where he or she feels this, a place to love and be irritated with.


I tried out the unfamiliar syllables. They fit. They cracked in my ears like a fist through ice.


It didn't occur to me that my books would be widely read at all, and that enabled me to write anything I wanted to. And even once I realized that they were being read, I still wrote as if I were writing in secret. That's how one has to write anyway - in secret. 

Pamela Erens


Writers know all the good reasons for subjecting their work to a sharp trim. Early drafts are notorious for repetition, indirection and overdevelopment of the trivial.


Martín Espada


Never pretend to be a unicorn by sticking a plunger on your head.


Herein lies an important distinction: the most powerful poems of communal grief, for me, insist upon intimate, concrete, particular details, images, and narratives. Grief must have a human face; consolation must have a human voice. 


The poems of communal grief we write today offer alternative ways of thinking and feeling. If they are not consolatory to this generation, they may be to the next. Yet these poems must not be measured by whether they can stop a war or produce              some other specific result. Their impact on the world cannot be weighed or measured. Writing a poem of communal grief today, or any poem with social or political content, is paradoxically an act of faith. The poem flies into the air and becomes part of the atmosphere. 


Kevin Eubanks


Inspiration is one thing and you can't control it, but hard work is what keeps the ship moving. 


The worst part is doubt. When you doubt yourself, which we are taught to do, you get lost.

Farnaz Fatemi

Poetry is a space with vast permission for nuance. Communities--ecosystems, towns, metropolises--need nuance.

William Faulkner


Read, read, read. Read everything--trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.


The past is never dead. It’s not even past.


The only environment the artist needs is whatever peace, whatever solitude, and whatever pleasure he can get at not too high a cost.


It’s the most satisfying occupation man has discovered yet, because you never can quite do it as well as you want to, so there’s always something to wake up tomorrow morning to do.

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.


Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.


Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone. 


Harvey Fierstein


Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself.


F. Scott Fitzgerald


Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over.


Show me a hero, and I'll write you a tragedy.

Writers aren't exactly people . . . They're a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.


Begin with an individual, and before you know it you have created a type; begin with a type, and you find you have created—nothing.

Zelda Fitzgerald

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

She quietly expected great things to happen to her, and no doubt that’s one of the reasons why they did.

Kathy Flann

I feel that the second-person is close to first-person, at least how I use it. I think that when you’re mad at yourself, you talk to yourself in the second-person: “Oh, you dum-dum, why did you do that? You’re always late and you don’t do anything right” and that only happens in your head when you’re really upset about something. I have this idea that readers know at some level of their subconscious that the story is written the way that voice sounds in our heads and it will hit some emotional chord. It doesn’t work for every character and every situation. It has to be somebody desperate; I think of it as the self divided against the self. Any point of view has to fit the story you’re telling, but the second-person highlights this kind of character. Sometimes I’ll switch a story into second-person when I get stuck, because there is this imperative call for the character in this state to do something. It creates plot, and when I’ve moved past the roadblock, I’ll return to the original point of view.

Gustave Flaubert


There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it.


I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.


Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.


Of all lies, art is the least untrue.


It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creation.


Darnella Ford


Nothing can drive one closer to his own insanity than a haunting memory refusing its own death.


Anatole France


To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.


Anne Frank


I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.


Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.


Benjamin Franklin


Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.


If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.

The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all others, charity.

Betty Friedan

The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, is by creative work of her own. There is no other way.


Erich Fromm


Creativity requires courage to let go of certainty.


Robert Frost


No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.    


A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.


Poetry is what gets lost in translation.

Poetry is play. I’d even rather have you think of it as a sport.


Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting. 


Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.


Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat.


The best way out is always through.


To be a poet is a condition, not a profession.


Unless you are at home in the metaphor, you are not safe anywhere.


Carlos Fuentes


Writing is a struggle against silence. 


Margaret Fuller


Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.


If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.


Nature provides exceptions to every rule.


Alice Fulton


Each poet creates an expatriate space, a slightly skewed domain where things are freshly felt because they are freshly said.

Anguish is the universal language.

Much contemporary verse reads like failed short-short stories rather than failed poetry.

Emotion is the best mnemonic device.

I've learned that my readings of others' work often has little connection to their intentions. This doesn't mean that my response is wrong, and it doesn't make the author's views less right. Poets, like their poems, are "hopeful monsters."

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