Top 20 Poetry Quotations

Explore the meaning of poetry and the motivation of poets with this special collection of evocative quotations...

  • "A poet is someone who is astonished by everything."
    -- Anonymous

  • "Reality only reveals itself when it is illuminated by a ray of poetry."
    -- Georges Brague

  • "The poet doesn't invent. He listens. "
    --Jean Cocteau

  • " In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite."
    -- Paul Dirac

  • " Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood."
    -- T. S. Eliot

  • "The adventitious beauty of poetry may be felt in the greater delight with a verse given in a happy quotation than in the poem."
    -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • " There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it."
    -- Gustave Flaubert

  • "A poem begins with a lump in the throat. "
    --Robert Frost

  • " Poetry is the language in which man explores his own amazement."
    -- Christopher Fry

  • " There's no money in poetry, but there's no poetry in money, either."
    -- Robert Ranke Graves

  • " Poetry is to hold judgment on your soul."
    -- Henrik Ibsen

  • " When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses."
    -- John F. Kennedy

  • "Perhaps no person can be a poet, or can even enjoy poetry, without a certain unsoundness of mind."
    --Thomas Babington Macaulay

  • "The poem is the point at which our strength gave out. "
    --Richard Rosen

  • " Science is for those who learn; poetry, for those who know."
    -- Joseph Roux

  • "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. "
    --Percy Byshe Shelley

  • "Wanted: a needle swift enough to sew this poem into a blanket. "
    --Charles Simic

  • "A poem is never finished, only abandoned. "
    --Paul Valéry

  • " Poetry is the music of the soul, and, above all, of great and feeling souls."
    -- Voltaire

  • "Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge."
    -- William Wordsworth

    Resource Box - © Danielle Hollister (2004) is the Publisher of BellaOnline Quotations Zine - A free newsletter for quote lovers featuring more than 10,000 quotations in dozens of categories like - love, friendship, children, inspiration, success, wisdom, family, life, and many more. Read it online at - sp

    In The News:

    Sioux Falls Argus Leader

    Sidewalks a platform for poetry
    Sioux Falls Argus Leader
    Bev Oliver shows off the rubber mold Tuesday used to imprint a poem in the concrete sidewalk at Seventh Street and Summit Avenue as part of a project she led. TOP: Poem imprinted in the concrete as seen on Tuesday. (Photo: Photos by Elisha Page / Argus ...

    The Guardian

    Poetry Brothel puts the bawd in bard
    The Guardian
    She calls herself a poetry whore, and I have paid for her company. For the next 10 minutes or so, she will read me her verses, converse with me, entertain me. Between sheer curtains I can see several other transactions unfolding around us, hear stanzas ...

    Downtown Express

    Poetry in the souls of those who least expect it
    Downtown Express
    BY PUMA PERL | I couldn't be happier to report that the spirit of discovery is alive and well as demonstrated by the Rocky Presents shows, and that a new generation is learning that poetry lives on in the streets, and in the hearts and souls of those ...

    and more »

    NPR (blog)

    Book News: Remembering Poet Galway Kinnell, Whose Song Said Everything
    NPR (blog)
    When Galway Kinnell accepted the post of Vermont's State Poet in 1989, the honor didn't come without a bit of polite disagreement. No writer had occupied the post since Robert Frost more than 25 years earlier, and with the revival came also a desire ...
    Former state poet Galway Kinnell
    Galway Kinnell, Plain-Spoken Poet, Is Dead at 87New York Times
    Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Galway Kinnell Dies At 87Huffington Post
    ABC News -Los Angeles Times
    all 195 news articles »

    Prayer Through Poetry includes artistic elements
    Prayer Through Poetry featured an open mic where students connected through the poems that were shared. Through sharing an untitled song he wrote and listening to other students share, senior business major D.J. Cortez was able to navigate his own ...

    Poetry's ambassador
    Yadkin Ripple
    After engaging with contemporary poetry, Griffin said he decided he wanted to try writing some poetry of his own. He said the process was harder than he first imagined, but still something he thoroughly enjoys. He keeps a notebook with him all the time ...

    Unique poetry workshop offered Saturday
    Quad-Cities Online
    Mr. Dougherty recently performed at the Best American Poetry 2014 release party at The New School in New York City. His work was included in the most recent edition of the annual Best American Poetry anthology. In Saturday's workshop, students will ...

    and more »


    Handwritten Poetry From A 17-Year Old Tupac Surfaces
    Here's a good way to celebrate Throwback Thursday. Today Noisey has unearthed some previously unreleased handwritten poetry from the legendary Tupac, written before his rise to fame, when he was just 17-years old. The rapper's first manager (who is ...

    and more »

    Statesman Journal

    Art inspired by William Stafford's poetry on exhibit
    Statesman Journal
    Artists In Action, in cooperation with the Mid-Valley Poetry Society, will sponsor a multimedia exhibit of art inspired by William Stafford's poetry Nov. 5-22 at the Salem Arts Building, room 180, 155 Liberty St. NE. There will be a reception and ...
    William Stafford Favorite Poem Project

    all 2 news articles »

    Unique poetry workshop 'Inventing New Forms'
    Quad-Cities Online
    Acclaimed poet Sean Thomas Dougherty will be leading a poetry writing workshop called “Inventing New Forms,” on November 1st at the Midwest Writing Center from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Sean Thomas Dougherty recently performed as a featured poet at the Dodge ...

    Google News
  • Poetry ?Reborn? Emerges In Thriller Mystery Novel

    Since Mohamed Ali?then Cassius Clay?announced that he had written "The... Read More

    Two Poems: Black Poncho, and Spirits of de Copan [in English and Spanish]

    English Version12) Black Poncho(of Saint Cosme Hill, by Lima, Peru)Lost... Read More

    Burning Autumn Leaves [a poem in Spanish and English]

    Burning Autumn Leaves [1950s in St. Paul, Minnesota]My long steel... Read More

    Three Love Poems [all wicked]

    Advance: Mr. Dennis Siluk's poetry can have its fire-hearted twists:... Read More


    Do not be afraid to shine. This world needs what... Read More

    Whats A Prisoner to Do?

    What's a prisoner to do when justice fails and... Read More

    Contract of Death [Now: in SPANISH and English]

    Contract of DeathI heard today, the preacher say: "Daniel has... Read More

    Biography of Charlotte Bronte

    Charlotte Bronte (1816 ?1855) Novelist and Poet.Charlotte was the daughter... Read More

    Three Poems: Phantom of the Rocks; Lady from Lima & Bell Ringer of de Copan

    Phantom of the Rocks[Huancayo, Peru]Night falls deepUpon the traveler!Low, over... Read More

    Poetry and Popular Culture

    Is poetry too complicated for the average reader? Is it... Read More

    Satirical Poetry About Tony Blair

    All Hail.Is your hospital full of aliens, despite new cleaning... Read More

    Two Poems: San Jeronimo Brook & [in English and Spanish]

    Fair Andes! Thy arms reach highOf iron-woven solid stone Thu... Read More

    Birthday Messages


    A Ship to Remember

    Hammers. Timbers. Iron. Steel.They're laying down a mighty keel.As ant-like... Read More

    The Power of Eating Disorders

    I want to get closeI am afraid.Afraid of what... Read More

    The Crusader: A Search for the Virtue Inside (an excerpt of an Epic Poem)

    On through the darkness she searches the bones Seeking the... Read More

    Passion and Poetry, and Life

    Ironically, the passion that can neutralize the repulsion for difficulties... Read More

    Tale of the Brick Maker, of San Jeronimo, Peru [In English and Spanish]

    Tale of the Brick Maker, Of San Jerónimo, Peru... Read More

    Walt Whitman, Romance With a Stranger

    The concept of brief encounters, even romantic encounters, with a... Read More

    Chan Chan and The Gorriones (Two Poems in English and Spanish)

    The following two poems, one in English, the other in... Read More

    Spell of the Andes: (in English and Spanish)

    Note: written 4-15-05, while driving through the Andes of Peru,... Read More

    It Was Not Me

    It was not me as I am now. It was... Read More

    Mechanical Poetry

    Do you ever stare at the paper, waiting for poetic... Read More

    Writing Innovative Poetry

    Writing innovative poetry, the kind of poetry that reputable literary... Read More

    Song of the Great Zimbabwe, and Silver and Inca Blood [Poems and notes]

    "Song of the Great Zimbabwe"Across the African, winter's skyIn the... Read More