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I Write – Poets – All[1]

If you want to be a Writer ­– Write[2]

Write in ordinary Ink on ordinary Paper[3]

Who casts to Write a Living line, must Sweat[4]

Between my fingers and my thumb the Squat Pen rests – I’ll Dig with it[5]

I spend hours and days Pounding out disconnected Sentences for the sheer Love of Words[6]

The Poet sits and Dreams and Dreams – he scans his Verse, he probes his Themes[7]

Bring nib to Page and pen to Life with Urgency and

Patience, word by word, with Abandon and Care[8]

All my Books Blur into the word: “Write”[9]

To Mark the Paper is the Decisive act[10]


The Air is full of Thoughts and things to Say[11]

Poem: like a Bird falls from indifferent Air, Sky[12]

I have no real choice regarding the Impulse of my

Poems, and only have to Wait, in Meditative Expectancy[13]

Wait, fountain pen ready: the Lines will Whir round you like Drunken Moths[14]

I go out into the Poem the way I go out into the Snow – it Falls on my Shoulders[15]

The voice of the Poem comes straight from a Human body, in the middle of an ordinary Day[16]

Writing is the Permeable Edge between Inward Meditation and Outward Connectivity[17]

Pen stopped, tip to page for an instant – as if Purpose is Ribbed, Striated[18]

New Verses are born at the Hazard of Chance or Inspiration, one word

Leading to another and each finding, in its turn, its Rhythm and Place[19]

Noises from the Depth become Voices when they Find in certain

Perforated Surfaces the Conditions of their Articulation[20]


He Twists in the Urgency of Telling[21]

He is Bursting with what he has to Say[22]

What Annuities of hours and Comfortable Blood he

Burns – to get his words a Bare Honoring in their ears[23]

To transfer to paper the Interminable Restless Monologue[24]

Poetry is not a Luxury – it is a Vital Necessity to our existence[25]

I write Poetry because it is the Pocket of Air trapped in our Overturned Boat[26]

He can tune out the Crock of Shit of being Alive so long as he is Scribbling, head down[27]

The Aching point of Poetry Free to Roam – Free, at least, to Dream[28]

Writing is an act of Silencing a Creature flapping about within me:

On the page the Monster becomes something Different, Released

From the Recesses within me and Free to Unsettle another mind[29]

Out of the Abundance of the Heart – the Mouth Speaketh[30]


In every word I Utter there shall be Vision[31]

The Symphonies rise, a Glory out of Darkness – and the

Poets, the Crazy poets cry out: “a Terrible Beauty is Born”[32]

My words Trickle down from a Wound that I have no intention to Heal[33]

And on all the shores of the world a Fiercer Iambic verse to be Fed from my Being[34]

A Poet must Say the Unsayable – must not remain Silent on occasions when all are

Silent – and who must therefore be Careful not to Talk about things that All talk about[35]

His Books tell me his Thoughts, his Music tells me his Longings – his Poetry tells me his Secrets[36]

You come upon it as an Artist should: with Rich-Eyed Passion and a Straining Heart[37]

Don’t Tell me what I think I want to Hear – Show me what Only You can Show me[38]

True Poetry is what does not pretend to be Poetry – it is in the

Dogged Drafts of a few Maniacs seeking the New Encounter[39]

Poetry can come from Anything with the stuff of Rev-

Elation in it – just don’t let your Poems be Ordinary[40]


Poets have No Biographies[41]

I am Born a Poet –­ that is my Nature & Vocation[42]

Whoever Listens to us – will Forget their own Life[43]

Nothing is Required of me more than Being and Creating[44]

The Impossible is that he should be Anything but an Artist[45]

For such Happiness of being a Writer, I would be ready to En-

Dure Poverty, Disappointment, & the Dislike of those around me[46]

To be a Poet and a Man means to be a Forest without Trees[47]

The World is a Magic Book – and we are its Sentences[48]

We still keep House in a living Tenement of Words[49]

The Poet is always a Debtor to the Universe[50]


Speak from your Particular Birth in History[51]

Come Writers and Critics who Prophesize with your Pen,

And Keep your Eyes Wide – the Chance won’t Come Again[52]

All I do is Observe and take Notes – trying to put things down in

Ways that are as Powerful, as Simple, and as Direct as I Feel them[53]

I don’t want my Poems to be Hard – Unless the Truth is, If there is a Truth[54]

The Wise man Penetrates the verbal curtain, Sees and Knows and Feels the Life process –

The Great Writer is the Wise man who feels compelled to Translate the Message into Words[55]

The Best Poems are not the ones in which the Poet tries hard to give form to a Theory or a Truth, but

The ones in which the poet’s Temperament, his capacity for Love, his Sincerity, find Expression[56]

I and mine do not convince by Arguments, Similes, Rhymes – we Convince by our Presence[57]

This Race and this Country and this Life produced me – I shall Express myself as I Am[58]

It’s my Duty to be Attentive – I am Needed by things[59]

Breathe-in Experience – Breathe-out Poetry[60]


An Immense man speaks Immense Words[61]

Good Writers, even if they show every Variety of

Human Depravity – are still Good Human-Beings[62]

Virtue Lies in the Hectic Response to Creative Wonder[63]

To be a Poet is to have a Soul so quick to Discern that no shade of

Quality Escapes it – and so quick to Feel that Discernment is but a

Hand playing with finely ordered variety on the Chords of Emotion[64]

You must depend upon Affection, Reading, Knowledge, Skill – more of each than you have[65]

I resolve at once to become a Great Man – and to commence by becoming a Great Poet[66]

More writers Fail from lack of Character than from lack of Intelligence[67]

Those who possess Virtue will Inevitably have something to Say[68]

Literalists of the Imagination – Above Insolence or Triviality[69]

The difference between Poetry and Rhetoric is being

Ready to Kill Yourself – instead of your Children[70]


A Poem is the Emotion of having a Thought while

The Reader Waits Anxiously for the success of Dawn[71]

That is Poetry’s brief Spell of blue Light declaring: we are

Disappearing – there is Great Love here – there is Great Ruin[72]

Turn to the books of Poets in order to feel Life in all the Deep

And Undivided Sovereignty that cannot be Grasped Intentionally[73]

Poetry is a Vast and Flexible Art – not a Single Intelligence, but a

Pervasive, permanent desire to Reinvent each manner from Within[74]

Poetry is the Gnomic Utterance from which the Soul springs, Fluttering[75]

Things Vanish into the Shadows of each other and of themselves –

But with the Reflections of these Shadows, Poems return to Light[76]

Poetry is Mirrored image: Universe and its Reflections through

An Emulated concept – Nature’s Form and Life’s Affectations[77]

Poems are Porous constructs: Life Flows and Seeps in and out[78]

When I read good Poetry I forget to Breathe and my Body is

Suffused with something Unnamable … Purest of Pleasures[79]

The work of Art nearest to Life itself – it may be Breathed

From all Human Lips … Carved out of Human Life itself[80]


Poetry is a Shrine with no Temple[81]

My only Religion is Love of the work to be Created[82]

I take my books and Go – Living in the Shade of my

Heart – Weaving from my Verse’s silk a new Heaven[83]

The Poem does no “Good” to anyone, but it is a passing reminder, a Breath

From the Divine lips of Beauty – a Nightingale between two Worlds of Dust[84]

The Highest art is Poetry – because Words are Spirit at its most Refined – its Ultimate Matrix[85]

Let us Speak, let us Speak – since within us Speaks Divine thought: the Soul’s Unbodied Speech[86]

Humans are only Happy and Content when they are most like God – Creating Art[87]

By Scene, by Sentence, something is Rendered back into Life – back to the Gods[88]

They introduce their Sacred Song – and Waken Raptures High[89]

The Poet leaves his song Half Sung, or Finishes it Be-

Yond the scope of mortal ears – in a Celestial Choir[90]


Everlasting Dictates Crowd his Tongue[91]

The task of the Poet is to make Clear to himself, and

Thereby to others – the Temporal and Eternal Questions[92]

The poet places Language Beyond the reach of Time – or, more accurate-

Ly, the poet approaches Language as if it were a Place, an Assembly Point,

Where time has no Finality, where time itself is Encompassed and Contained[93]

Blessed be the Art that can Immortalize, the art that Baffles Time’s Tyrannic claim to Quench it[94]

Charged by Eternity to himself at last, the Poet – with the Bare Blade of his Mind[95]

The Poet shares the Vantage point of God – and the Verdict of Eternity[96]

Each Sentence that you make has to be Complete and is for All Time[97]

Read Aloud to me Immortal Page conceived in Mortal Mind[98]

Everlasting: the Poets Endless Rhyme[99]

Little Infinite Poem[100]

[1] Emily Dickinson,I Reckon – When I Count at All

[2] Epictetus

[3] Wislawa Szymborska tr. Grazyna Drabik & Austin Flint, Hunger Camp at Jaslo

[4] Ben Johnson, To the Memory of My Beloved Master, William Shakespeare

[5] Seamus Heaney, Digging

[6] Richard Wright, Black Boy

[7] Raymond Garfield Dandridge, The Poet

[8] Daniel Scott Tysdal, A MAD Fold-In Poem

[9] Edmond Jabès tr. Rosemarie Waldrop, Notebook II

[10] George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

[11] Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

[12] Philip Whalen, Poem

[13] Carolyn Forché, Introduction to Against Forgetting

[14] Primo Levi tr. Ruth Feldman & Brian Swann, A Profession

[15] Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginning

[16] Katie Peterson, Fragility and Repetition: On the Poetry of Robert Lowell

[17] Ann Lauterbach, Task: To Open

[18] Rae Armantrout, Are

[19] Ousmane Sembène, God’s Bits of Wood

[20] Gilles Deleuze tr. Mark Lester & Charles Stivale, The Simulacrum and Ancient Philosophy

[21] William Golding, Lord of the Flies

[22] Homer tr. Samuel Butler, The Odyssey

[23] Ted Hughes, The Martyrdom of Bishop Farrar

[24] George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

[25] Audre Lorde, Poetry Is Not a Luxury

[26] Whitney Olson, Contributor’s Notes in Rattle #74

[27] Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake

[28] Zoe Hazen, Ode to Existentialism

[29] Mya De La Rosa, Rattle Young Poet’s Anthology Contributor’s Notes

[30] Matthew 12:34 (King James)

[31] Sophocles tr. Theodore Howard Banks, Oedipus at Colonus

[32] Ursula K. Le Guin, Paradise Lost

[33] Simon and Garfunkel, Blessed

[34] Saint-John Perse tr. Denis Devlin, Exile

[35] Hannah Arendt, Men in Dark Times

[36] Gilda Klausner, The Poet – Adam

[37] Gwendolyn Brooks, The Egg Boiler

[38] Michael Bazzett, It’s Not You, It’s Me

[39] Francis Ponge tr. Beth Archer, The Silent World Is Our Only Homeland

[40] Tom Schulman, Dead Poets Society

[41] Nicanor Parra tr. Miller Williams, Sentences

[42] Ralph Waldo Emerson, quoted by James Miller in Examined Lives

[43] Ghassan Zaqtan tr. Fady Joudah, In Praise of Exile

[44] Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy

[45] Henry James, The Tree of Knowledge

[46] Anton Chekhov tr. Constance Garnett, The Sea-Gull

[47] Vladimir Holan tr. C. G. Hanzlicek & Dana Habova, To the Enemies

[48] Charles Wright,Buffalo Yoga

[49] Anne Stevenson, Elegy: in Coherent Light

[50] Vladimir Mayakovsky tr. Ruth Herschberger & Marina Prychodko, A Talk With a Tax Collector

[51] John Ceely, Jon Reilly

[52] Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin’

[53] Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower

[54] William Matthews, A Poetry Reading at West Point

[55] Timothy Leary, Introduction to The Journey to the East

[56] Hermann Hesse tr. Richard & Clara Winston, Magister Ludi

[57] Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road

[58] James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

[59] Frank O’Hara, Meditations in an Emergency

[60] Muriel Rukeyser, Poem Out of Childhood

[61] Douglas Adams, Life, The Universe and Everything

[62] Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

[63] D.H. Lawrence, quoted by Denise Levertov in Three Meditations

[64] George Eliot, Middlemarch

[65] Wendell Berry, How to Be a Poet (To Remind Myself)

[66] Edgar Allan Poe, The Literary Life of Thingum Bob, Esq.

[67] Ezra Pound, quoted by Philip Whalen in My Songs Induce Prophetic Dreams

[68] Confucius tr. Edward Slingerland, Analects 14.4

[69] Marianne Moore, Poetry (1919)

[70] Audrey Lorde, Power

[71] Robert Frost, The Constant Symbol

[72] Joanna Klink, Island States (Night-Shining)

[73] Walter Benjamin tr. Sebastian Truskolaski, The Morning of the Empress

[74] Dana Gioia, Disappearing Ink

[75] Joyce Carol Oates, Poetry Is the Gnomic Utterance from which the Soul Springs, Fluttering

[76] Inger Christenson tr. Susanna Nied, Silk, the Universe, Language, the Heart

[77] Helen Nencka, Poetry

[78] Paul Celan tr. Pierre Joris, Microliths

[79] Roxane Gay, Losing It

[80] Henry David Thoreau, Walden

[81] Martin Heidegger

[82] Henri Matisse

[83] Adonis tr. Samuel Hazo, Elegy for the Time at Hand

[84] E.M. Forster, A Passage to India

[85] Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince

[86] C.P. Cavafy tr. Rae Dalven, The Word and Silence

[87] Vera S. Flandorf, In the Image of God

[88] Denise Levertov, The Novel

[89] John Milton, Paradise Lost

[90] Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Artist of the Beautiful

[91] Samuel Johnson, The Vanity of Human Wishes

[92] Ibsen, quoted by Denise Levertov in Three Meditations

[93] John Berger, And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos

[94] William Cowper, The Poplar Field

[95] Stéphanie Mallarmé tr. Richard Wilbur, The Tomb of Edgar Allan Poe

[96] Peter Bondanella, Introduction to The Inferno

[97] Shundo Aoyama tr. Patricia Dai-En Bennage, Zen Seeds

[98] Edna St. Vincent Millay, Portrait

[99] Stevie Wonder, If It’s By Magic

[100] Federico García Lorca tr. Robert Bly, Little Infinite Poem

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