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Theodore Roethke
Quotations



"Not a graceful mind - that's a mistake - but a mind of grace, an altogether different and higher thing."
- Describing Richard Wilbur

"Any fool can take a bad line out of a poem; it takes a real pro to throw out a good line"
 
"A too explicit elucidation in education destroys much of the pleasure of learning. There should be room for sly hinters, masters of suggestion."
 
"The damage of teaching: the constant contact with the undeveloped."
 
"Teach as an old fishing guide takes out a beginner."
 
"O Lord, may I never want to look good. O Jesus, may I always read it all: out loud and the very way it should be. May I never look at the other findings until I have come to my own true conclusions: May I care for the least of the young: and become aware of the one poem that each may have written; may I be aware of what each thing is, delighted with form, and wary of the false comparison; may I never use the word 'brilliant.'"
 
"I can't go on flying apart just for those who want the benefit of a few verbal kicks. My God, do you know what poems like that cost? They're not written vicariously: they come out of actual suffering, real madness."
 
"What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible."
 
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