Poetry Quotes: Self & Soul

Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry. ~W.B. Yeats

The poet illuminates us by the flames in which his being passes away. ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847)

Poetry is an inky soulprint. ~Terri Guillemets

A poet’s autobiography is his poetry. Anything else is just a footnote. ~Yevgeny Yentushenko, The Sole Survivor, 1982

Each man carries within him the soul of a poet who died young. ~Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve

I don’t create poetry, I create myself, for me my poems are a way to me. ~Edith Södergran

The true poem is the poet’s mind. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The poet speaks to all men of that other life of theirs that they have smothered and forgotten. ~Edith Sitwell

When you really feel poetry, a new part of you happens, or an old part is renewed, with surprise and delight at being what it is. ~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

[P]oetry… the spontaneous fusion of hitherto unrelated words. Such things must take place in your own head, by your own chemistry. ~Marie Emilie Gilchrist (1893–1989), Writing Poetry: Suggestions for Young Writers, 1932

My chief aim is to make a poem. You make it for yourself firstly, and then if other people want to join in then there we are. ~R.S. Thomas (1913–2000)

Poetry treks through our souls and tells us in rhyme of the adventure. ~Terri Guillemets

You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you. ~Joseph Joubert

The first thing to understand about poetry is that it comes to you from outside you, in books or in words, but that for it to live, something from within you must come to it and meet it and complete it. Your response with your own mind and body and memory and emotions gives the poem its ability to work its magic; if you give to it, it will give to you, and give plenty. ~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

The poem is the point at which our strength gave out. ~Richard Rosen

Pressure cranks and presses Life, squeezing out essence of self, aromatic with bittersweet memories, pungent adversities, and the honey-musk of desire — the vapors hover over our inkpots, and if we pick up the feather it becomes our poetry. ~Terri Guillemets

Poetry — soul cartography.
~Terri Guillemets, “Treasure seeking you,” 2003

Poetry tosses my pen across
the vast tumbling seas of self,
intermittent sunshine glistening
off the spilt ink,—
storms breaking ideas & words
that sink then emerge
and sink again.
~Terri Guillemets, “Overboard poet,” 1992