What Is a Poet? Quotes

A poet is a man who puts up a ladder to a star and climbs it while playing a violin. ~Edmond de Goncourt

A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language. ~W.H. Auden

A poet is a flaming phoenix — burnt up with each and every poem. ~Terri Guillemets

A poet is a man who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times. ~Randall Jarrell

A poet is someone who stands outside in the rain hoping to be struck by lightning. ~James Dickey (1923–1997)

To be a poet is a condition rather than a profession. He requires whatever it needs to be completely his own master. ~Robert Graves, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art, 1946

The true poet is all the time a visionary and whether with friends or not, as much alone as a man on his death bed. ~W. B. Yeats

A poet is inmate, and warden, to his own mind. ~Terri Guillemets

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth. ~Jean Cocteau

The poet is a sensitive snail
wandering along the path of life
leaving a glittering trail of words.
~Terri Guillemets, “Inching along, leaving behind,” 2003

Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

All genuine poets are fervid politicians… Are there no politics in Hamlet? Is not Macbeth, is not the drama of Wallenstein, a sublime political treatise? Napoleon was a great poet, when, pointing to the pyramids, he said to his army, ‘Forty centuries look down upon us!’… All true and lasting poetry is rooted in the business of life. ~Ebenezer Elliott (1781–1849), Preface, Corn Law Rhymes, 1831

A poet is a lone wolf
      howling soul
      at impossible questions—
Poetry is the answer.
~Terri Guillemets