A. R. Ammons Quotes

Archie Randolph Ammons (February 18, 1926 – February 25, 2001) was an American poet who won the annual National Book Award for Poetry in 1973 and 1993

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A. R. Ammons


Is it not careless to become too local when there are four hundred billion stars in our galaxy alone.

A. R. Ammons


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.

A. R. Ammons


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.

A. R. Ammons


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.'

A. R. Ammons


Definition, rationality, and structure are ways of seeing, but they become prisons when they blank out other ways of seeing.

A. R. Ammons


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.

A. R. Ammons


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.

A. R. Ammons


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.

A. R. Ammons


A poem generated by its own laws may be unrealized and bad in terms of so-called objective principles of taste, judgement, deduction.

A. R. Ammons


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.

A. R. Ammons


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.

A. R. Ammons


Questions structure and, so, to some extent predetermine answers.

A. R. Ammons


Anything looked at closely becomes wonderful.

A. R. Ammons


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.

A. R. Ammons


Once every five hundred years or so, a summary statement about poetry comes along that we can't imagine ourselves living without.

A. R. Ammons