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

Part of the spell of poetry is in the rhythm of language… Almost anything put into rhythm and rhyme is more memorable than the same thing said in prose. Why this is, no one knows completely, though the answer is surely rooted far down in the biology by means of which we exist; in the circulation of the blood that goes forth from the heart and comes back, and in the repetition of breathing. ~James Dickey, “How to enjoy poetry,” from the 1979–1988 Power of the Printed Word advertising campaign by Billings S. Fuess, Jr. at Ogilvy & Mather for International Paper Company

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