We’ve been thinking around poet Meena Alexander’s incredible address to the Yale political Union, in i beg your pardon she refers to Shelley’s 1821 essay, A Defence the Poetry. The English poet’s work-related famously stated, “Poets space the unacknowledged legislators that the world.” Alexander concludes: “The poem is an development that exists in spite of history… In a time the violence, the job of poetry is in some method to reconcile united state to our world and also to enable us a measure up of tenderness and grace v which to exist… Poetry’s job is to reconcile united state to the people — not to accept it at challenge value or to assent to points that room wrong, yet to convey one in a larger sense, come return us in love, the province of the imagination, to the scope of ours mortal lives.” other poets have attempted to analyze “what is deep felt and is basically unsayable.” here are a couple of brief meanings of poetry by famed poets.

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Percy Bysshe Shelley

There room a couple of more choice snippets native Shelley’s 1821 essay, A Defence of Poetry , the articulated the essence of poetry:

“Poetry is undoubtedly something divine. The is at once the centre and also circumference the knowledge; that is the which comprehends every science, and also that to which every science must be referred. That is in ~ the same time the root and blossom that all various other systems that thought; the is the from which every spring, and that which adorns all; and also that which, if blighted, denies the fruit and also the seed, and also withholds indigenous the barren people the nourishment and the sequence of the scions that the tree that life. It is the perfect and consummate surface and also bloom of all things; it is together the odor and also the color of the increased to the texture of the aspects which write it, as the form and splendor of unfaded beauty come the tricks of anatomy and also corruption.”

“Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and also best minds.”

“Poetry, in a general sense, may be characterized to be ‘the expression the the imagination’: and also poetry is connate with the beginning of man.”

“Poetry is a mirror which renders beautiful that which is distorted.”

“Poetry is a knife of lightning, ever before unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would certainly contain it.”

“All high city is infinite; it is as the first acorn, which included all oaks potentially.”


Emily Dickinson

“If I check out a book it provides my totality body so cold no fire ever can heat me I know that is poetry. If i feel physically as if the optimal of mine head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These space the only method I know it. Is there any other way?”

Robert Frost

“Poetry is once an feel has found its thought and the believed has discovered words.”

“Poetry is what gets lost in translation.”

Salvatore Quasimodo

“Poetry is the revelation the a feeling that the poet believes come be internal and personal which the leader recognizes as his own.”

Edgar Allan Poe

“I would define, in brief, the city of words together the Rhythmical development of Beauty. Its sole arbiter is taste. With the intellect or with the conscience, it has actually only collateral relations. Unless incidentally, it has no issue whatever either v duty or with truth.”

Mary Oliver

“Poetry no a profession, that a method of life. It’s an north basket; you put your life right into it and make something the end of that.”


T.S. Eliot

“Poetry is no a turning loose of emotion, however an escape indigenous emotion; it is no the expression that personality, however an escape indigenous personality. But, of course, just those who have actually personality and also emotions know what it method to want to escape from this things.”

William Wordsworth

“I have said that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: the takes its beginning from feeling recollected in tranquillity: the emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquillity progressively disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the topic of contemplation, is slowly produced, and also does itself in reality exist in the mind.”

Philip Larkin

“As a guiding rule I believe that every poem have to be its very own sole freshly produced universe, and therefore have actually no belief n ‘tradition’ or a typical myth-kitty or casual allusions in poems to other poems or poets, which last I uncover unpleasantly favor the speak of literary understrappers letting you check out they understand the right people.”

Matthew Arnold

“Poetry is in ~ bottom a criticism of life; the the greatness the a poet lies in his powerful and beautiful application of ideas to life — come the question: just how to live.”

Dylan Thomas

“Poetry is what in a poem provides you laugh, cry, prickle, it is in silent, makes your toe pond twinkle, renders you desire to carry out this or the or nothing, renders you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and also suffering is forever shared and also forever all your own.”


From Carl Sandburg’s “Tentative (First Model): interpretations of Poetry”:

1. City is a projection across silence of cadences i ordered it to break that silence through definite intentions that echoes, syllables, tide lengths.

2. Poetry is an arts practised with the dreadful plastic material of human language.

3. City is the report that a nuance in between two moments, when world say, ‘Listen!’ and ‘Did you see it’ ‘Did friend hear it? What to be it?’

4. City is the tracing of the trajectories the a limited sound to the infinite points of its echoes.

5. City is a sequence of dots and also dashes, assignment depths, crypts, cross-lights, and moon wisps.

6. City is a puppet-show, wherein riders the skyrockets and also divers the sea fathoms gossip around the 6th sense and the 4th dimension.

7. City is a arrangement for a slit in the face of a bronze fountain goat and the path of fresh drinking water.

8. Poetry is a slipknot tightened about a time-beat of one thought, two thoughts, and a last interweaving believed there is no yet a number for.

9. City is one echo questioning a shadow dancer to be a partner.

10. Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to paris the air.

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Read the rest, here.


John Cage

“There is poetry as shortly as us realize that us possess nothing.”

Kahlil Gibran

“Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and also wonder, v a dash that the dictionary.”

William Hazlitt

“Poetry is all the is precious remembering in life.”

“The light of poetry is not just a straight but also a reflect light, that, if it shows us the object, throws a sparkling radiance ~ above all about it: the flame of the passions, interacted to the imagination, reveals to us, just like a flash of lightning, the inmost recesses the thought, and penetrates our whole being. Poetry represents creates chiefly as they indicate other forms; feelings, together they suggest develops or other feelings. City puts a spirit of life and motion right into the universe. It explains the flowing, not the fixed. The does not define the boundaries of sense, or analysis the distinctions of the understanding, but signifies the overabundance of the imagination past the really or ordinary impression of any object or feeling.”