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A. R. Ammons quotes (26)

A poem generated by its own laws may be unrealized and bad in terms of so-called objective principles of taste, judgement, deduction.
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Anything looked at closely becomes wonderful.
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Besides the actual reading in class of many poems, I would suggest you do two things: first, while teaching everything you can and keeping free of it, teach that poetry is a mode of discourse that differs from logical exposition.
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Definition, rationality, and structure are ways of seeing, but they become prisons when they blank out other ways of seeing.
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Each poem in becoming generates the laws by which it is generated: extensions of the laws to other poems never completely take.
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Even if you walk exactly the same route each time - as with a sonnet - the events along the route cannot be imagined to be the same from day to day, as the poet's health, sight, his anticipations, moods, fears, thoughts cannot be the same.
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Everything is discursive opinion instead of direct experience.
A. R. Ammons   Category: Experience

For though we often need to be restored to the small, concrete, limited, and certain, we as often need to be reminded of the large, vague, unlimited, unknown.
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I am grateful for - though I can't keep up with - the flood of articles, theses, and textbooks that mean to share insight concerning the nature of poetry.
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I can't tell you where a poem comes from, what it is, or what it is for: nor can any other man. The reason I can't tell you is that the purpose of a poem is to go past telling, to be recognised by burning.
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I must stress here the point that I appreciate clarity, order, meaning, structure, rationality: they are necessary to whatever provisional stability we have, and they can be the agents of gradual and successful change.
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I take the walk to be the externalization of an interior seeking so that the analogy is first of all between the external and the internal.
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If a poem is each time new, then it is necessarily an act of discovery, a chance taken, a chance that may lead to fulfillment or disaster.
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If the greatest god is the stillness all the motions add up to, then we must ineluctably be included.
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If we ask a vague question, such as, 'What is poetry?' we expect a vague answer, such as, 'Poetry is the music of words,' or 'Poetry is the linguistic correction of disorder.'
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In nature there are few sharp lines.
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Is it not careless to become too local when there are four hundred billion stars in our galaxy alone.
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Once every five hundred years or so, a summary statement about poetry comes along that we can't imagine ourselves living without.
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Only silence perfects silence.
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Poetry leads us to the unstructured sources of our beings, to the unknown, and returns us to our rational, structured selves refreshed.
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Probably all the attention to poetry results in some value, though the attention is more often directed to lesser than to greater values.
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Questions structure and, so, to some extent predetermine answers.
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That's a wonderful change that's taken place, and so most poetry today is published, if not directly by the person, certainly by the enterprise of the poet himself, working with his friends.
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The poet exposes himself to the risk. All that has been said about poetry, all that he has learned about poetry, is only a partial assurance.
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There's something to be said in favor of working in isolation in the real world.
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You have your identity when you find out, not what you can keep your mind on, but what you can't keep your mind off.
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