Writing Wednesday: 10 Great Writers on the Power of Poetry

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Every April is National Poetry Month here in North America, but the lessons learned from the poets among us can apply every day of the year. From Rumi to Dickinson, nearly every person who has put pencil to paper has mused on the very nature of doing so.

What can we learn from the great poets who have come before us? Think on these words from ten writers who have made poetry their lives’ work and be inspired in your own creative endeavours!

1) Rumi

Poetry can be dangerous, especially beautiful poetry, because it gives the illusion of having had the experience without actually going through it.

2) William Wordsworth

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

3) Lucille Clifton

I think that we’re beginning to remember that the first poets didn’t come out of a classroom, that poetry began when somebody walked off of a savanna or out of a cave and looked up at the sky with wonder and said, “Ahhh.” That was the first poem.

4) W.H. Auden

A poet must never make a statement simply because it sounds poetically exciting; he must also believe it to be true.

5) Bashō

In my view a good poem is one in which the form of the verse and the joining of its parts seems light as a shallow river flowing over its sandy bed.

6) Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.

7) Percy Bysshe Shelley

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

8) Vanna Bonta

The true poem rests between the words.

9) Leonard Cohen

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.

10) Emily Dickinson

If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.

What is your inspiration for writing poetry?

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