World Poetry Day 2016

A selection of articles and quotes celebrating the art of poetry

Sylvia Plath on life and writing


Representing Wallace Stevens through art

Marissa Grunes (The Paris Review) discusses her mother’s memorization of Stevens’ ‘Sunday Morning’

wallace-stevens-Diane-Szczepaniak-sunday-morning-essay3When “Sunday Morning” was first published in the November 1915 issue of Poetry, just over a hundred years ago, Wallace Stevens was thirty-six; the poem was one of his first major publications. He’d recently moved to the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, where he would spend the rest of his life insuring people against the hazards of sudden change. His professional and poetic lives converged on that fact: everything changes.

A spiritual meditation for a secular era, “Sunday Morning” glows with the ripe colors of late summer and early autumn, brief arc segments of the seasonal cycle whose rhythms Stevens celebrates. [Read More]


“Do anything, but let it produce joy.”

— Walt Whitman


T. S. Eliot on poetry and communication


Explore the Emily Dickinson Archive

Casey N. Cep visits an online repository of Dickinson’s work

Emily Dickinson published only ten poems. Printed in various newspapers, her verses all appeared anonymously. It was not some failure of contemporary taste but her own decision that kept the rest of her poetry private. Dickinson wrote in one poem that “Publication—is the Auction / Of the Mind of Man—” and indeed she seems to have felt there was something crass, even violative about fixing one’s words in a particular arrangement of type, surrendering them for a price. [Read More]


W. H. Auden on the ambiguity of poetry


“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.”

— Charles Darwin


Margaret Atwood on the power of language


“There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it”

— Gustave Flaubert


Langston Hughes on literature and life


“Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.”

— Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Gwendolyn Brooks defines poetry


“Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry.”

— Jack Kerouac


Allen Ginsberg on the freedom of poetry


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