Poetry: Feelings & Emotions

Poetry is emotion put into measure. ~Thomas Hardy

“I have often wondered if poets feel what they write — whether Swinburne, for instance, ever felt the weight of a dead cold thing within him here,” slightly touching the region of his heart, “and realized that he had to drag that corpse of unburied love with him everywhere — even to the grave, and beyond — O God! — beyond the grave!” ~Marie Corelli, A Romance of Two Worlds, “Chapter IX: An Electric Shock,” 1886

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

It’s a poet’s lot not to feel as others do, and to feel what they do, in all its strangeness, more deeply. ~Barbara VanDenburgh, “‘A Quiet Passion’ haunting, beautiful look at Emily Dickinson’s heart,” The Arizona Republic, May 2017

[Poetry] feeds on the purest substance of the sentiments of the soul. It quenches its thirst with a nectar that has no dregs. ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847)

[T]he office of poetry is not to make us think accurately, but feel truly. ~Frederick W. Robertson, lecture delivered before the Members of the Mechanics’ Institution, February 1852

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—a soul in which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling flashes back as a new organ of knowledge. One may have that condition by fits only. ~George Eliot

[P]oetry is the natural language of excited feeling. ~Frederick W. Robertson, lecture delivered before the Members of the Mechanics’ Institution, February 1852

And there is pleasure in the utterance
Of pleasant images in pleasant words,
Melting like melody into the ear…
It is joy ineffable to dwell upon lines
That register our feelings, and portray,
In colors always fresh and ever new,
Emotions that were sanctified, and loved,
As something far too tender, and too pure,
For forms so frail and fading…
~James G. Percival (1795–1856), “Love of Study,” c.1822

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, Tradition and the Individual Talent, 1919

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words. ~Robert Frost

Poetry has eternally inked itself on my mind,
the pen of the universe writes in my heart,
the harp of emotion plays chords in my soul.
~Terri Guillemets, “Sunday breakfast & morning view,” 2015

All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling. ~Oscar Wilde