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Quotations about Poetic License

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I lied about my weight on my poetic license. ~Terri Guillemets, "Abridged," 1989

Oh, of course I know that "ate" ain’t good etiquette in that place. It should be "eat." But "eat" don’t rhyme, and "ate" does. So I’m going to use it. And I can, anyhow. It’s poem license, and that’ll let you do anything. ~Eleanor H. Porter, Dawn, 1918  [a little altered –ღ tg]
         ["Supper's ready, supper's ready,
         Hurry up, or you'll be late,
         Then you'll sure be cross and heady
         If there's nothin' left to ate." —tg]

Poets are soldiers that liberate words from the steadfast possession of definition. ~Eli Khamarov  [a pseudonym, this philosopher's own nomenclative poetic license –ღ tg]

Grammar is a piano I play by ear... ~Joan Didion, "Why I Write," 1976

Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart. The interior is therefore rather dim and poetic. ~Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie, 1945

A novelist has a specific poetic license which also applies to his own life. ~Jerzy Kosinski (1933–1991), interview, Czesław Czapliński, Kosinski's Passions, translated from the Polish by Peter Obst, published in English by BIGnews, 2004

Two most important things in a writer's wallet:  library card and poetic license. ~Terri Guillemets

      "That's a very nice War Song — it's so peaceful and soothing," spake the Queen. "And now call the Poets from Freeland. This is the time for them to renew their licences, though I greatly fear that they have been taking so many liberties of late that any licence I can give them will prove superfluous."
      "Superfluous! Superfluous! That is a good word," muttered the Zankiwank. "I wonder what it means?" Whereupon he went and asked Robin Goodfellow and all the other Fairies, but as nobody knew, it did not matter, and the Poets arriving at that moment he thought of a number and sat on a toadstool.
      Maude recognised several of the Poets who came to have their licences renewed — she had heard of "poetic licence" before, but never dreamed that one had to get the unwritten freedom from Fairyland. But so it was. Several of the Poets seemed to be exorbitant in their demands, and wanted to make their poems all licence, but this Titania would not consent to, so they went away singing, all in tune... ~S. J. Adair Fitz-Gerald, The Zankiwank & The Bletherwitch, 1896

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Original post date 2009 May 14
Revised 2017 Dec 5
Last saved 2020 Aug 30 Sun 19:29 PDT

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