Poetry Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old poetry quotes, poetry sayings, and poetry proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


Poetry is a search for ways of communication; it must be conducted with openness, flexibility, and a constant readiness to listen.     

Fleur Adcock

I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty.

Edgar Allan Poe

Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away.     

Carl Sandburg

Poetry is an act of peace. Peace goes into the making of a poet as flour goes into the making of bread.

Pablo Neruda

Poetry is a life-cherishing force. And it requires a vision – a faith, to use an old fashioned term. Yes, indeed. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes, indeed.     

Mary Oliver

Poetry operates by raising our curiosity, engaging the mind by degrees to take an interest in the event, keeping that event suspended, and surprising at last with an unexpected catastrophe.     

Joshua Reynolds

Poetry should begin with emotion in the poet, and end with the same emotion in the reader. The poem is simply the instrument of transferance     

Philip Larkin

Poetry gives us permission. It reminds us that we are loved and we are human. Its rhythms are those of the heartbeat. Its rhymes lure us into remembering more than we ever imagine. It's a form of song, with a quieter tune.     

Molly Fisk

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 emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.     

T.S.Eliot

Poetry is the only life got, the only work done, the only pure product and free labor of man, performed only when he has put all the world under his feet, and conquered the last of his foes.

Henry David Thoreau

Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them.     

Charles Simic

Poetry is one of the destinies of speech... One would say that the poetic image, in its newness, opens a future to language.

Gaston Bachelard

The beauty of poetry is that the creation transcends the poet.     

Mahatma Gandhi

Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.     

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.     

Khalil Gibran

Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.

Plutarch

Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings.

W. H. Auden

Poetry,the language of the Imagination and the Passions, the oldest and most beauteous offspring of Literature.     

Frederick Hinde

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity.     

William Wordsworth

Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.     

Percy Shelley

Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.     

Salvatore Quasimodo

Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.

Plato

Poetry should... should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.     

John Keats

Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.

Edgar Allan Poe

Poetry's job is to discover wholeness and create wholeness, including the wholeness of the fragmentary and the broken.

Jane Hirschfield

Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one's soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject.

John Keats

Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.     

T. S. Eliot