J. D. McClatchy Quotes

No poem should be an urn to contain a meaning, but a net to catch what meanings float through the day.

The best criticism is the sort that tells you what you already know but had been reluctant to accuse yourself of.

A poem needs disguises. It needs secrets. It thrives on the tension between what is said and not said; it prefers the oblique, the implied, the ironic, the suggestive; when it speaks, it wants you to lean forward a little to overhear; it wants you to understand things only years later.

At least since Darwin’s day, we have known that all of us originally emerged from the sea. That fact may account for our abiding fascination with it, our longing to return there, whether to sail the main or merely contemplate its restless enormity.

Novelists want to flood, poets want to distill.

I prefer formal techniques, and use sonnets and rhyme, any manner of scheme to give a shape and order-of feeling as well as argument-to a poem. But all my life, I’ve also been a person who’s made his bed in the morning and picks up the bath mat. That’s what I mean by temperament. Whether genetic or acquired, I have a disposition to arrangements. One is born with this, as if with blue eyes or a weak heart. Do you think Allen Ginsberg ever put the cap back on his toothpaste?

To shelter and to hide, they have resigned themselves.