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Flavorwire for Your Monday: ‘20 Poets on the Meaning of Poetry’

By Harriet Staff

Cooler

Hopefully your Monday morning co-workers aren’t giving you grief for all those readings that you said you attended this weekend, but if they are: rest assured that the folks at Flavorwire have got your back—in addition to—well, you know—us! That’s right, just in time for that Monday morning workplace existential crisis, we bring you—Flavorwire’s20 Poets on the Meaning of Poetry”!

Ahem. DRUMROLL PLEASE!

Emily Dickinson

“If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?”

From Carl Sandburg’s “Tentative (First Model): Definitions of Poetry”:

1. Poetry is a projection across silence of cadences arranged to break that silence with definite intentions of echoes, syllables, wave lengths.

2. Poetry is an art practised with the terribly plastic material of human language.

3. Poetry is the report of a nuance between two moments, when people say, ‘Listen!’ and ‘Did you see it’ ‘Did you hear it? What was it?’

4. Poetry is the tracing of the trajectories of a finite sound to the infinite points of its echoes.

5. Poetry is a sequence of dots and dashes, spelling depths, crypts, cross-lights, and moon wisps.

6. Poetry is a puppet-show, where riders of skyrockets and divers of sea fathoms gossip about the sixth sense and the fourth dimension.

7. Poetry is a plan for a slit in the face of a bronze fountain goat and the path of fresh drinking water.

8. Poetry is a slipknot tightened around a time-beat of one thought, two thoughts, and a last interweaving thought there is not yet a number for.

9. Poetry is an echo asking a shadow dancer to be a partner.

10. Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly

John Cage

“There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.”

Kahlil Gibran

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

Edith Sitwell

“Poetry is the deification of reality.”

Marianne Moore

“Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.”

Theodore Roethke

“You must believe: a poem is a holy thing — a good poem, that is.”

“The poem, even a short time after being written, seems no miracle; unwritten, it seems something beyond the capacity of the gods.”

James K. Baxter

“The poem is a plank laid over the lion’s den.”

Annoint thyself “Poet,” Poet! Rejuvination and more at Flavorwire.

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Posted in Poetry News on Monday, September 9th, 2013 by Harriet Staff.