In the eyes of those who anxiously seek perfection, a work is never truly completed — a word that for them has no sense — but abandoned… ~Paul Valéry, “Au Sujet du Cimetière Marin,” 1933 [About his poem “The Cemetery by the Sea.” Translated from French. Credit & further information: Ralph Keyes, The Quote Verifier, 2006.
On revisions as a matter of principle, I agree with Valery: ‘A poem is never finished; it is only abandoned.’ ~W. H. Auden, Collected Shorter Poems, 1927–1957, Foreword, 1966
A poem is never finished, only abandoned. ~Paul Valéry, as paraphrased even further by W. H. Auden, in A Certain World: A Commonplace Book, 1970
Poetry is never abandoned, it is only remixed. ~James Schwartz
“Most poems are never finished,” (I was defensive). He sighed: “No, most poems are never started.” ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com, 2011 tweet