10 Great Quotes about Poetry for National Poetry Day

For National Poetry Day 2014, here are our ten favourite quotes from writers, artists, and thinkers about poetry.

If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. – Emily Dickinson

The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot. – Salvador Dali

A poem begins with a lump in the throat. – Robert Frost

It is a part of the poet’s work to show each man what he sees but does not know he sees. – Edith Sitwell

To find beauty in ugliness is the province of the poet. – Thomas Hardy


There is no money in poetry, but then there is no poetry in money, either. – Robert Graves

A good poet is someone who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms to be struck by lightning 5 or 6 times. – Randall Jarrell

Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words. – Edgar Allan Poe

As a poet I would say everything should be able to come into a poem but I can’t put toothbrushes in a poem. I really can’t. – Sylvia Plath [PS: T. S. Eliot disagreed, and had already done so: see his ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night‘]

The prose writer drags meaning along with the rope. The poet makes it stand on end and hit you. – T. E. Hulme

Image: The ‘Annie’ Daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe, author unknown, public domain.


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  4. Toothbrushes perhaps, but no sausage rolls. Might have to ask Robert Adamson about that one.

  5. Reblogged this on Book Geeks Anonymous and commented:
    What can I say? I’ve been on a kick about poetry lately.

  6. That Robert Frost quote is just magical. I feel I need to repeat it to myself whenever I read a poem.

  7. I love the Frost comment

  8. The Sitwell is the one which resonates the most for me. And its what I mean when I define any writer as having what I call ‘poetic sensibilities’ It’s what I most want to find in novels, as well as poetry – the ability to make me SEE but did not know I was seeing.

    That one and the Dali . The idiot cliche writer is also what I most DON’T want to see in a novel!

  9. From the Imagist’s Manifesto! To employ the exact word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.

  10. Pingback: 10 Great Quotations about Poetry for National Poetry Day | Andrew's View of the Week

  11. These are great – love the Frost quote and Dali

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  13. Reblogged this on whentherainechoed and commented:
    poetry is pure absolution indeed!

  14. words made worthy of poetry.

  15. I love that quote from Thomas Hardy but the one from Sylvia Plath made me smile so much.