"Poetry, whose material is language, is perhaps the most human and least worldly of the arts, the one in which the end product remains closest to the thought that inspired it.... Of all things of thought, poetry is the closest to thought, and a poem is less a thing than any other work of art ..."
"Written poetry is worth reading once, and then should be destroyed. Let the dead poets make way for others. Then we might even come to see that it is our veneration for what has already been created, however beautiful and valid it may be, that petrifies us."
"Rhymes, meters, stanza forms, etc., are like servants. If the master is fair enough to win their affection and firm enough to command their respect, the result is an orderly happy household. If he is too tyrannical, they give notice; if he lacks authority, they become slovenly, impertinent, drunk and dishonest."
"I cannot accept the doctrine that in poetry there is a "suspension of belief." A poet must never make a statement simply because it is sounds poetically exciting; he must also believe it to be true."
"It was the misfortune of poetry, to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely; and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly, were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly."
"Printed prose is historically a most peculiar, almost an aberrant way of telling stories, and by far the most inherently anesthetic: It is the only medium of art I can think of which appeals directly to none of our five senses. The oral and folk tradition in narrative made use of verse or live-voice dynamics, embellished by gesture and expression--a kind of rudimentary theater--as do the best raconteurs of all times. Commonly there was musical accompaniment as well: a kind of one-man theater-of-mixed-means."
"Who among us has not, in moments of ambition, dreamt of the miracle of a form of poetic prose, musical but without rhythm and rhyme, both supple and staccato enough to adapt itself to the lyrical movements of our souls, the undulating movements of our reveries, and the convulsive movements of our consciences? This obsessive ideal springs above all from frequent contact with enormous cities, from the junction of their innumerable connections."
"There were two unpleasant surprises [about Washington]. One was the inertia of Congress, the length of time it takes to get a complicated piece of legislation through ... and the other was the irresponsibility of the press."