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Ralph Waldo Emerson

If the imagination intoxicates the poet, it is not inactive in other men [or women]. The metamorphosis excites in the beholder an emotion of joy. The use of symbols has a certain power of emancipation and exhilaration for all men. We seem to be touched by a wand which makes us dance and run about… Continue reading Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Rainer Maria Rilke

It is also good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation…. Loving does not at first… Continue reading Rainer Maria Rilke

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Federico García Lorca

Angel and muse come from without; the angel gives radiance, the muse gives precepts … On the other hand, the duende has to be roused in the very cells of the blood. — Federico García Lorca, from “Theory and Function of the Duende,” trans. J. L. Gilli, 1933, Toward the Open Field: Poets on the… Continue reading Federico García Lorca

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Percy Bysshe Shelley

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. — Percy Bysshe Shelley, from “A Defence of Poetry,” 1820, Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry 1800-1950, ed. Melissa Kwasny (Wesleyan University Press, 2004)

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Theodore Roethke

The resonant, the orotund, the rounding of The round full phrases sounding like far sighs, As if an ancient hill has found a motion Long remembered, never brought to action … — Theodore Roethke, from “Words for Young Writers,” On Poetry & Craft (Copper Canyon Press, 2001)

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Harlan Ellison

It is not merely enough to love literature if one wishes to spend one’s life as a writer. It is a dangerous undertaking on the most primitive level. For, it seems to me, the act of writing with serious intent involves enormous personal risk. It entails the ongoing courage for self-discovery. It means one will… Continue reading Harlan Ellison

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