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Boris Pasternak

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It is no longer possible for lyric poetry to express the immensity of our experience. Life has grown too cumbersome, too complicated. We have acquired values which are best expressed in prose.
Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series (1963) edited by George Plimpton.

Boris Pasternak

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Verse no longer stands at the centre of communicative discourse. It is no longer, as it was from Homer to Milton, the natural repository of knowledge and traditional sentiment. It no longer gives to society its main record of past grandeur or its natural setting for prophecy, as it did in Virgil and Dante. Verse has grown private. It is a special language which the individual poet insinuates, by force of personal genius, into the awareness of his contemporaries, persuading to learn and perhaps hand on his own uses of words. Poetry has become essentially lyric that is to say, it is the poetry of private vision rather than of public or of national occasion.

George Steiner

Poetry is I say essentially a vocabulary just as prose is essentially not. And what is the vocabulary of which poetry absolutely is. It is a vocabulary based on the noun as prose is essentially and determinately and vigorously not based on the noun. Poetry is concerned with using with abusing, with losing with wanting with denying with avoiding with adoring with replacing the noun. It is doing that always doing that, doing that doing nothing but that. Poetry is doing nothing but using losing refusing and pleasing and betraying and caressing nouns. That is what poetry does, that is what poetry has to do no matter what kind of poetry it is. And there are a great many kinds of poetry. So that is poetry really loving the name of anything and that is not prose.

Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein, in her work, has always been possessed by the intellectual passion for exactitude in the description of the inner and outer reality. She has reproduced simplification by this concentration, and as a result the destruction of associational emotion in poetry and prose. She knows that beauty, music, decoration, the result of emotion should never be the cause, even events should never be the cause of emotion nor should they be the material of poetry or prose. Nor should emotion itself be the cause of poetry and prose. They should consist of an exact reproduction of either an outer or inner reality.

Gertrude Stein

Prose and poetry are different in construction. You can lie back and read prose, and you can read it fast.Poetry on the other hand, requires a different kind of attention and concentration ... the effect it has on the ear and the imagination.

Michael (poet) Schmidt

Poetry is a double-edged sword. You learn to use language at its most intense - but this is far too intense for prose fiction. I've been teaching myself to progressively strip the 'poetry' away - the bulk of The Architect is told in very simple prose.

John Scott
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