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Keats Quotes

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"John Keats / John Keats / John / Please put your scarf on." - J D Salinger

"I shall not live much longer than did Keats." - Aubrey Beardsley

"I want to read Keats and Wordsworth, Hemingway, George Orwell." - Aravind Adiga

"Once I worshipped Keats for dying young. Now I think it's braver to die old." - Erica Jong

"Keats spoke for all time when he said, A thing of beauty is a joy forever." - William Makepeace Thackeray

"Byron and Shelley and Keats Were a trio of lyrical treats." - Dorothy Parker

"Keats longed for fame, but longed above all to deserve it." - James Russell Lowell

"For awhile after you quit Keats all other poetry seems to be only whistling or humming." - F Scott Fitzgerald

"Shelley and Keats were the last English poets who were at all up to date in their chemical knowledge." - John B S Haldane

"I am a genius who has written poems that will survive with the best of Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Keats" - Irving Layton

"Who killed John Keats?' 'I,' said the Quarterly, So savage and Tartarly; ' 'Twas one of my feats." - Lord Byron

"Who killed John Keats? I, says the Quarterly, So savage and Tartarly; 'Twas one of my feats." - Lord Byron

"I am a genius who has written poems that will survive with the best of Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Keats." - Irving Layton

"Who would not spout the family teapot in order to talk with Keats for an hour about poetry, or with Jane Austen about the art of fiction?" - Virginia Woolf

"To like Keats is a test of fitness for understanding poetry, just as to like Shakespeare is a test of general mental capacity." - George Gissing

"With "poets dead and gone" as Keats says in "Mermaid Tavern" they are alive and talking to us and us to them." - Gregory Orr

"When I read Andrew Motion's biography, I wept. It's something about the purity of the story and how fresh it was because of the love letters Keats wrote." - Jane Campion

"I do think better of womankind than to suppose they care whether Mister John Keats five feet high likes them or not." - John Keats

"Keats himself spoke about how Shakespeare was capable of erasing himself completely from the characters he had created. As an actor, that is what I'm trying to do." - Ben Whishaw

"As for how criticism of Keats' poetry relates to criticism of my own work, I'll leave that for others to decide." - Jane Campion

"If people connect me with the Romantics in general, they probably connect me most with Keats. But Wordsworth is the poet I admire above all others." - Andrew Motion

"Do you know what would hold me together on a battlefield? The sense that I was perpetuating the language in which Keats and the rest of them wrote!" - Wilfred Owen

"Only those of our poets who kept solidly to the Shakespearean tradition achieved any measure of success. But Keats was the last great exponent of that tradition, and we all know how thin, how lacking in charm, the copies of Keats have become." - Amy Lowell

"It's been such a deep and amazing journey for me, getting close to John Keats, and also I love Shelley and Byron. I mean, the thing about the Romantic poets is that they've got the epitaph of romantic posthumously. They all died really young, and Keats, the youngest of them all." - Jane Campion

"There's no artist in this world that doesn't enjoy the dream that if they have bad reviews now, the story of Keats can redeem them, in their fantasy or imagination, in the future. I think Keats' poem 'Endymion' is a really difficult poem, and I'm not surprised that a lot of people pulled it apart in a way." - Jane Campion

"This is why it is good to remember: if you want to get high, don't drink whiskey; read Shakespeare, Tennyson, Keats, Neruda, Hopkins, Millay, Whitman, aloud and let your body sing." - Natalie

"Descendants of pigeons once fed by Keats, Byron, George Sand, Chopin and many other famous lovers are still being fed, and the sudden sound when they all rise together, frightened away, is like the sound of giant sails flapping." - Anais Nin

"This is why it is good to remember: if you want to get high, do' drink whiskey; read Shakespeare, Tennyson, Keats, Neruda, Hopkins, Millay, Whitman, aloud and let your body sing." - Natalie

"John Keats, who was kill'd off by one critique, Just as he really promis'd something great... 'Tis strange the mind, that very fiery particle, Should let itself be snuffed out by an article." - Lord Byron

"You see how even an illness can be romanticized. Tuberculosis got the treatment: Keats, the Lady of the Camellias, the foggy dew, and so on. We must make romantic literature out of cancer - can you imagine that?" - Peter Greenaway

"Keats, it must be remembered, was a sensualist. His poems ... reveal him as a man not altogether free from the vulgarities of sensualism, as well as one who was able to transmute it into perfect literature." - Robert Wilson Lynd

"Women don't want all that. Women just want a partner who is considerate and attentive, who will spoon with them while reciting Keats, and feed them organic yogurt by candlelight on a seaside cliff at sunset." - Stephen Colbert

"If you want to study writing, read Dickens. That's how to study writing, or Faulkner, or D.H. Lawrence, or John Keats. They can teach you everything you need to know about writing." - Shelby Foote

"We learned in the university to consider Wordsworth and Keats as Romantics. They were only a generation apart, but Wordsworth didn't even read Keats's book when he gave him a copy." - Thom Gunn

"Writers collect stories of rituals: John Cheever putting on a jacket and tie to go down to the basement, where he kept a desk near the boiler room. Keats buttoning up his clean white shirt to write in, after work." - Mona Simpson

"I lost many literary battles the day I read 'Their Eyes Were Watching God.' I had to concede that occasionally aphorisms have their power. I had to give up the idea that Keats had a monopoly on the lyrical." - Zadie Smith

"Keats writes better about poems than anybody I've ever read. The things that he says about what he wants his own poems to be are the ideals that I share." - Andrew Motion

"You know who my gods are, who I believe in fervently? Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson - she's probably the top - Mozart, Shakespeare, Keats. These are wonderful gods who have gotten me through the narrow straits of life." - Maurice Sendak

"I can get very philosophical and ask the questions Keats was asking as a young guy. What are we here for? What's a soul? What's it all about? What is thinking about, imagination?" - Jane Campion

"This is why it is good to remember: if you want to get high, don't drink whiskey; read Shakespeare, Tennyson, Keats, Neruda, Hopkins, Millay, Whitman, aloud and let your body sing." - Natalie

"I believe strongly in what John Keats called negative capability: the trait or practice that allows a poet to remain in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason. For Keats, William Shakespeare exemplified negative capability, and I do think it's extraordinary that for all the thousands of pages Shakespeare left behind, we really don't know much about Shakespeare's own personality or opinions." - James Arthur

"All my early books are written as if I were Indian. In England, I had started writing as if I were English; now I write as if I were American. You take other peoples backgrounds and characters; Keats called it negative capability." - Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

"I don't know if I call myself a poet or not. I would like to, but I'm not really qualified to make that decision, because I come in on such a back door, that I don't know what a Robert Frost or a [John] Keats or a T.S. Eliot would really think of my stuff." - Bob Dylan

"Culture is like the sum of special knowledge that accumulates in any large united family and is the common property of all its members. When we of the great Culture Family meet, we exchange reminiscences about Grandfather Homer, and that awful old Dr. Johnson, and Aunt Sappho, and poor Johnny Keats." - Aldous Huxley

"The sad fact is that I love Dickens and Donne and Keats and Eliot and Forster and Conrad and Fitzgerald and Kafka and Wilde and Orwell and Waugh and Marvell and Greene and Sterne and Shakespeare and Webster and Swift and Yeats and Joyce and Hardy, really, really love them. It's just that they don't love me back." - David Nicholls

"The sad fact is that I love Dickens and Donne and Keats and Eliot and Forster and Conrad and Fitzgerald and Kafka and Wilde and Orwell and Waugh and Marvell and Greene and Sterne and Shakespeare and Webster and Swift and Yeats and Joyce and Hardy, really, really love them. It's just that they do' love me back." - David Nicholls

"What I deeply want... is for Rumi to become vitally present for readers, part of what John Keats called our soul-making, that process that is both collective and uniquely individual, that happens outside time and space and inside, that is the ocean we all inhabit and each singular droplet-self." - Coleman Barks

"I did ... learn an important distinction in graduate school: a speculation about who had syphilis when is gossip if it's about your friends, a plot element if it's about a character in a novel, and scholarship if it's about John Keats." - Margaret Atwood

"As a former English major, I am a sitting duck for Gift Books, and in the past few years I've gotten Dickens, Thackeray, Smollet, Richardson, Emerson, Keats, Boswell and the Brontes, all of them Great, none of them ever read by me, all of them now on a shelf, looking at me and making me feel guilty." - Garrison Keillor

"I think for me in terms of this kind of dichotomy you have to hold the sense of negative capability in your mind - which is Keats line about being able to hold two different ideas 'without any irritable reach after fact or reason.'" - Anne Waldman

"Make a list of all the lovers you've ever had. Warren Lasher Ed "Rubberhead" Catapano Charles Deats or Keats Alfonse Tuck it in your pocket. Leave it lying around, conspicuously. Somehow you lose it. Make "mislaid" jokes to yourself. Make another list." - Lorrie Moore

"I attended school regularly for three years. I learned to read and write. 'Lamb's Tales' from Shakespeare was my favourite reading matter. I stole, by finding, Palgrave's 'Golden Treasury.' These two books, and the 'Everyman' edition of John Keats, were my proudest and dearest possessions, my greatest wealth." - Peter Abrahams

"On a summer night it can be lovely to sit around outside with friends after dinner and, yes, read poetry to each other. Keats and Yeats will never let you down, but it's differently exciting to read the work of poets who are still walking around out there." - Michael Cunningham

"When Keats says: 'Axioms in philosophy are not axioms until they are proved upon our pulses', what he means is that we don't necessarily believe what a poem is saying if it comes out and tells us in an absolutely head-on, in-your-face way; we only believe it to be true if we feel it to be true." - Andrew Motion

"Eight years ago, I was drawn into Keats's world by Andrew Motion's biography. Soon I was reading back and forth between Keats's letters and his poems. The letters were fresh, intimate and irreverent, as though he were present and speaking. The Keats spell went very deep for me." - Jane Campion

"All my early books are written as if I were Indian. In England, I had started writing as if I were English; now I write as if I were American. You take other people's backgrounds and characters; Keats called it negative capability." - Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

"We have to find a way to not refuse to see where we are, what we are doing, and yet we must still live. And making sure to live - to go through life not around it - was always hard. Making sure to be in the vale of soul - making - as John Keats put it. Now it's insanely hard." - Jorie Graham

"The interpretations of science do not give us this intimate sense of objects as the interpretations of poetry give it; they appeal to a limited faculty, and not to the whole man. It is not Linnaeus or Cavendish or Cuvier who gives us the true sense of animals, or water, or plants, who seizes their secret for us, who makes us participate in their life; it is Shakspeare [sic] ... Wordsworth ... Keats ... Chateaubriand ... Senancour." - Matthew Arnold

"Jenny Offill's Dept. of Speculation resembles no book I've read before. If I tell you that it's funny, and moving, and true; that it's as compact and mysterious as a neutron; that it tells a profound story of love and parenthood while invoking (among others) Keats, Kafka, Einstein, Russian cosmonauts, and advice for the housewife of 1896, will you please simply believe me, and read it?" - Michael Cunningham

"Truth and Beauty (perhaps Keats was wrong in identifying them: perhaps they have the relation of Wit and Humour, or Rain and Rainbow) are of interest only to hungry people. There are several kinds of hunger. If Socrates, Spinoza, and Santayana had had free access to a midnight icebox we would never have heard of them. Shall I be ashamed of my little mewing truths?... I ask to be forgiven: they are such tiny ones." - Christopher Morley

"We have chosen to write the biography of our disease because we love it platonically - as Amy Lowell loved Keats - and have sought its acquaintance wherever we could find it. And in this growing intimacy we have become increasingly impressed with the influence that this and other infectious diseases, which span - in their protoplasmic continuities - the entire history of mankind, have had upon the fates of men." - Hans Zinsser

"I don't spend time thinking about an aesthetic out of which I create or an ideal toward which my body of work is heading. It's amazing, when I read interviews with other poets, to see how articulately they discuss their own writing, as if they were sharing long-held theories on the work of Pope or Keats. I'm happy enough that I've poured the best of myself into the poems themselves." - Albert Goldbarth

"When I started this song I was still thirty-three The age that Mozart died and sweet Jesus was set free Keats and Shelley too soon finished, Charley Parker would be And I fantasized some tragedy'd be soon curtailing me Well just today I had my birthday I made it thirty-four Mere mortal, not immortal, not star-crossed anymore I've got this problem with my aging I no longer can ignore A tame and toothless tabby can't produce a lion's roar." - Harry Chapin

"I am not a religious person, nor do I have any regrets. The war took care of that for me. You know, I was brought up strictly kosher, but I - it made no sense to me. It made no sense to me what was happening. So nothing of it means anything to me. Nothing. Except these few little trivial things that are related to being Jewish. ... You know who my gods are, who I believe in fervently? Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson - she's probably the top - Mozart, Shakespeare, Keats. These are wonderful gods who have gotten me through the narrow straits of life." - Maurice Sendak

"Literary history and the present are dark with silences . . . I have had special need to learn all I could of this over the years, myself so nearly remaining mute and having to let writing die over and over again in me. These are not natural silences-what Keats called agonie ennuyeuse (the tedious agony)-that necessary time for renewal, lying fallow, gestation, in the natural cycle of creation. The silences I speak of here are unnatural: the unnatural thwarting of what struggles to come into being, but cannot." - Tillie Olsen

"Keats mourned that the rainbow, which as a boy had been for him a magic thing, had lost its glory because the physicists had found it resulted merely from the refraction of the sunlight by the raindrops. Yet knowledge of its causation could not spoil the rainbow for me. I am sure that it is not given to man to be omniscient. There will always be something left to know, something to excite the imagination of the poet and those attuned to the great world in which they live (p. 64)" - Robert Frost

"Have not Manet and Monet, Cezanne and Matisse, rendered to painting something of the same service which Keats and Shelley gave to poetry after the solemn and ceremonious literary perfections of the eighteenth century? They have brought back to the pictorial art a new draught of joie de vivre; and the beauty of their work is instinct with gaiety, and floats in sparkling air. I do not expect these masters would particularly appreciate my defence, but I must avow an increasing attraction to their work." - Winston Churchill

"I think of myself primarily as a reader, then also a writer, but that's more or less irrelevant. I think I'm a good reader, I'm a good reader in many languages, especially in English, since poetry came to me through the English language, initially through my father's love of Swinburn, of Tennyson, and also of Keats, Shelley and so on - not through my native tongue, not through Spanish. It came to me as a kind of spell. I didn't understand it, but I felt it." - Jorge Luis Borges

"No theory changes what it is a theory about. Nothing is changed because we look at it, talk about it, or analyze it in a new way. Keats drank confusion to Newton for analyzing the rainbow, but the rainbow remained as beautiful as ever and became for many even more beautiful. Man has not changed because we look at him, talk about him, and analyze him scientifically. ... What does change is our chance of doing something about the subject of a theory. Newton's analysis of the light in a rainbow was a step in the direction of the laser." - B F Skinner

"Great lecturers seldom hesitate to use dramatic tricks to enshrine their precepts in the minds of their audiences, and at Yale perhaps Chauncey B. Tinker was the most noted. To read one of his lectures was like reading a monologue of the great actress Ruth Draper-you missed the main point. You missed the drop in his voice as he approached the death in Rome of the tubercular Keats; you missed the shaking tone in which he described the poet's agony for the absent Fanny with him his love had never been consummated; you missed the grim silence of the end." - Louis Auchincloss

"Vanish. Pass into nothingness: the Keats line that frightened her. Fade as the blue nights fade, go as the brightness goes. Go back into the blue. I myself placed her ashes in the wall. I myself saw the cathedral doors locked at six. I know what it is I am now experiencing. I know what the frailty is, I know what the fear is. The fear is not for what is lost. What is lost is already in the wall. What is lost is already behind the locked doors. The fear is for what is still to be lost. You may see nothing still to be lost. Yet there is no day in her life on which I do not see her." - Joan Didion

"And this love of definite conception, this clearness of vision, this artistic sense of limit, is the characteristic of all great work and poetry; of the vision of Homer as of the vision of Dante, of Keats and William Morris as of Chaucer and Theocritus. It lies at the base of all noble, realistic and romantic work as opposed to the colourless and empty abstractions of our own eighteenth-century poets and of the classical dramatists of France, or of the vague spiritualities of the German sentimental school: opposed, too, to that spirit of transcendentalism which also was root and flower itself of the great Revolution, underlying the impassioned contemplation of Wordsworth and giving wings and fire to the eagle- like flight of Shelley, and which in the sphere of philosophy, though displaced by the materialism and positiveness of our day, bequeathed two great schools of thought, the school of Newman to Oxford, the school of Emerson to America. Yet is this spirit of transcendentalism alien to the spirit of art. For the artist can accept no sphere of life in exchange for life itself. For him there is no escape from the bondage of the earth: there is not even the desire of escape. He is indeed the only true realist: symbolism, which is the essence of the transcendental spirit, is alien to him. The metaphysical mind of Asia will create for itself the monstrous, many-breasted idol of Ephesus, but to the Greek, pure artist, that work is most instinct with spiritual life which conforms most clearly to the perfect facts of physical life." - Oscar Wilde



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Keats, John Keats Poetry,