RSS

ee cummings’s Advice to Poets

04 May

A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feelings through words.
This may sound easy, but it isn't.
A lot of people think or believe or know they feel — but that's thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling — not knowing or believing or thinking.
Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you're a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you're nobody-but-yourself.
To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
As for expressing nobody-but-yourself in words, that means working just a little harder than anybody who isn't a poet can possibly imagine. Why? Because nothing is quite as easy as using words like somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all of the time – and whenever we do it, we are not poets.
If, at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and working and feeling, you find you've written one line of one poem, you'll be very lucky indeed.
And so my advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something easy, like learning how to blow up the world — unless you're not only willing, but glad, to feel and work and fight till you die.
Does this sound dismal? It isn't.
It's the most wonderful life on earth.
Or so I feel.

(Emphasis mine)

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 4, 2006 in Quotes

 

2 responses to “ee cummings’s Advice to Poets

  1. kay

    October 19, 2006 at 12:22 am

    where did you find this quote by Cummings?

     
  2. Just Mohit

    October 19, 2006 at 7:55 am

    Hi kay,

    I have no idea…i come across so much stuff…in books, on the net & from email forwards. I usually try & hat-tip/give credit to the source, but when I don’t, it’s likely to be an email fwd, a quote i read somewhere in a book or just something from my journal which i have maintained for the last 15 years!

     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: