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Literature is a state of culture, poetry is a state of grace, before and after culture.
Poetry is a rich, full-bodied whistle, cracked ice crunching in pails, the night that numbs the leaf, the duel of two nightingales, the sweet pea that has run wild, Creation's tears in shoulder blades.

Doctor Zhivago
My idea of beauty is embodied not only in harmony but also in dissonance, for even dissonance can attain the precision of a poetic form. Whether we think of painting or sculpture or music, the aesthetic, moral, and critical problems are the same; and likes and dislikes are similar.

Speech at the Nobel Banquet, Stockholm, 1959
The world today seems allied with the side opposed to poetry. And for the world, the poet's very presence is an obstacle to be overcome. He must be annihilated. The force of poetry, on the other hand, fans out in every direction in organized societies; and if literary games escape the sensibilities of men everywhere, a poetic activity that is inspired by humanism does not.

Speech at the Nobel Banquet, Stockholm, 1959
Since even the philosophers are deserting the threshold of metaphysics, it is the poets's task to retrieve metaphysics; thus poetry, not philosophy, reveals itself as the true «daughter of wonder», according to the words of that ancient philosopher to whom it was most suspect.

Speech at the Nobel Banquet, 1960
If poetry is not, as has been said, «absolute reality», it comes very close to it, for poetry has a strong longing for, and a deep perception of, reality, situated as it is at that extreme limit of cooperation where the real seems to assume shape in the poem.

Speech at the Nobel Banquet, 1960
Every creation of the mind is first of all «poetic» in the proper sense of the word; and inasmuch as there exists an equivalence between the modes of sensibility and intellect, it is the same function that is exercised initially in the enterprises of the poet and the scientist.

Speech at the Nobel Banquet, 1960
Poetry allies itself with beauty - a supreme union - but never uses it as its ultimate goal or sole nourishment.

Speech at the Nobel Banquet, 196
Poetry is above all a way of life, of integral life. The poet existed among the cave men; he will exist among men of the atomic age, for he is an inherent part of man. Even religions have been born from the need for poetry, which is a spiritual need, and it is through the grace of poetry that the divine spark lives forever in the human flint.

Speech at the Nobel Banquet, 1960
Poetry has the charm of escaping from the vicious circle of custom.

Speech at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm, 1963
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