Poetry Quotes: Blood & Veins

A vein of Poetry exists in the hearts of all men; no man is made altogether of Poetry. We are all poets when we read a poem as well. ~Thomas Carlyle, “The Hero as Poet,” lecture, 1840

If Rilke cut himself shaving, he would bleed poetry. ~Stephen Spender, about Rainer Maria Rilke

A poet rips his flesh on the thorn of language and bleeds raw ink onto paper petals. ~Terri Guillemets

There is a chord of poetry, I do believe, in all men; petrified and frozen up, it may be in too many, by the cold realities of this work-a-day world; yet, at times, that “touch of nature which makes the whole world kin,” shoots like the electric spark through their veins, and thaws and softens the hard and care-worn heart. ~J. M’Dermaid, “Burns as a Poet,” 1859

Poetry is ordinary language raised to the nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words. ~Paul Engle, New York Times, 1957 February 17th

Every poet would like, I fancy, to be able to think that he had some direct social utility…. to give an immediate compensation for the pains of turning blood into ink…. Poetry begins… with a savage beating a drum in a jungle… hyperbolically one might say that the poet is older than other human beings…. Poetry… may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate… ~T.S. Eliot, “The Use of Poetry,” 1932

The lamp you lighted in the olden time
Will show you my heart’s-blood beating through the rhyme:
A poet’s journal, writ in fire and tears…
Then slow deliverance, with the gaps of years…
~Bayard Taylor, “First Evening,” The Poet’s Journal, 1862

Many lyric poets have sensed a parallel between the rhythmic pulse of their blood and language in a poem, but it is of the essence of Kunitz’ art that the threshold that transforms blood to ink is not tongue or mouth, but wound… ~Gregory Orr, Stanley Kunitz: An Introduction to the Poetry, 1985

Sometimes the poet writes with fire; with blood
Sometimes; sometimes with blackest ink:
It matters not. God finds his mighty way
Into his verse…
~J.G. Holland, Kathrina: A Poem, “Part II: Love,” 1867

I bleed words;
Ink drops, and
Poetry merges—
Blackish-crimson
Autobiography
~Terri Guillemets

Is blood then so much more eloquent than ink? Does a pistol-shot ring farther than a poem? ~A Californian, anonymous open letter to poet Vera Fitch, 1910 October 29th, in Town Talk: The Pacific Weekly, San Francisco, 1910 November 12th, “Correspondence” [Written after Miss Fitch attempted suicide. “You came to New York to beard the lions of this brutal metropolis with a few frail songs in your hand and a great hope in your heart…. Yes, why should your little pistol bring you fame when your pen could not?” Because you “are just such a romantic victim as this unromantic Moloch of a city loves—to chew. You have brought it blood, and there is nothing it loves more than blood, unless it be beauty.” –tg]

Ink kisses
dripping crimson words
and with blood-red lips
leaves prints on her finest poetry.
~Terri Guillemets