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A Poetry Handbook

Mary Oliver

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.”

“The poet must not only write the poem but must scrutinize the world intensely, or anyway that part of the world he or she has taken for subject. If the poem is thin, it is likely so not because the poet does not know enough words, but because he or she has not stood long enough among the flowers--has not seen them in any fresh, exciting, and valid way.”

“I cherish two sentences and keep them close to my desk. The first is by Flaubert. I came upon it among Van Gough's letters. It says, simply, 'Talent is long patience, and originality an effort of will and of intense observation.”

“Invention hovers always a little above the rules.”

“The language of the poem is the language of particulars.”

“It is no use thinking that writing of poems – the actual writing – can accommodate itself to a social setting, even the most sympathetic social setting of a workshop composed of friends. It cannot. The work improves there and often the will to work gets valuable nourishment and ideas. But, for good reasons, the poem requires of the writer not society or instruction, but a patch of profound and unbroken solitude.”

“To be contemporary is to rise through the stack of the past, like the fire through the mountain. Only a heat so deeply and intelligently born can carry a new idea into the air.”

“The subjects that stir the heart are not so many, after all, and they do not change.”

“Poems must, of course, be written in emotional freedom. Moreover, poems are not language but the content of the language.”

“This I have always known - that if I did not live my life immersed in the one activity which suits me, and which also, to tell the truth, keeps me utterly happy and intrigued, I would come someday to bitter and mortal regret.”

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Book Keywords:

writing-life, poetry-life, poetry-quotes, writing-craft, writing, writing-tips, poetry, writing-advice, writing-quotes, writing-process

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