James Fenton - Quotes

There are 55 quotes by James Fenton at 95quotes.com. Find your favorite quotations and top quotes by James Fenton from this hand-picked collection about time, beauty. Feel free to share these quotes and sayings on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr & Twitter or any of your favorite social networking sites.

One does not become a guru by accident. ---->>>

The lullaby is the spell whereby the mother attempts to transform herself back from an ogre to a saint. ---->>>

English poetry begins whenever we decide to say the modern English language begins, and it extends as far as we decide to say that the English language extends. ---->>>

I've not been a prolific poet, and it always seemed to me to be a bad idea to feel that you had to produce in order to get... credits. Production of a collection of poems every three years or every five years, or whatever, looks good, on paper. But it might not be good; it might be writing on a kind of automatic pilot. ---->>>

My feeling is that poetry will wither on the vine if you don't regularly come back to the simplest fundamentals of the poem: rhythm, rhyme, simple subjects - love, death, war. ---->>>

Some of my educated Filipino friends were aspiring poets, but their aspirations were all in the direction of the United States. They had no desire to learn from the bardic tradition that continued in the barrios. Their ideal would have been to write something that would get them to Iowa, where they would study creative writing. ---->>>

Considering the wealth of poetic drama that has come down to us from the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, it is surprising that so little of any value has been added since. ---->>>

For poets today or in any age, the choice is not between freedom on the one hand and abstruse French forms on the other. The choice is between the nullity and vanity of our first efforts, and the developing of a sense of idiom, form, structure, metre, rhythm, line - all the fundamental characteristics of this verbal art. ---->>>

Modernism in other arts brought extreme difficulty. In poetry, the characteristic difficulty imported under the name of modernism was obscurity. But obscurity could just as easily be a quality of metrical as of free verse.

Modernism in other arts brought extreme difficulty. In poetry, the characteristic difficulty imported under the name of modernism was obscurity. But obscurity could just as easily be a quality of metrical as of free verse.

Some people think that English poetry begins with the Anglo-Saxons. I don't, because I can't accept that there is any continuity between the traditions of Anglo-Saxon poetry and those established in English poetry by the time of, say, Shakespeare. And anyway, Anglo-Saxon is a different language, which has to be learned.

Some people think that English poetry begins with the Anglo-Saxons. I don't, because I can't accept that there is any continuity between the traditions of Anglo-Saxon poetry and those established in English poetry by the time of, say, Shakespeare. And anyway, Anglo-Saxon is a different language, which has to be learned.

The basic rhymes in English are masculine, which is to say that the last syllable of the line is stressed: 'lane' rhymes with 'pain,' but it also rhymes with 'urbane' since the last syllable of 'urbane' is stressed. 'Lane' does not rhyme with 'methane.' ---->>>

When we study Shakespeare on the page, for academic purposes, we may require all kinds of help. Generally, we read him in modern spelling and with modern punctuation, and with notes. But any poetry that is performed - from song lyric to tragic speech - must make its point, as it were, without reference back.

When we study Shakespeare on the page, for academic purposes, we may require all kinds of help. Generally, we read him in modern spelling and with modern punctuation, and with notes. But any poetry that is performed - from song lyric to tragic speech - must make its point, as it were, without reference back.

Writing for the page is only one form of writing for the eye. Wherever solemn inscriptions are put up in public places, there is a sense that the site and the occasion demand a form of writing which goes beyond plain informative prose. Each word is so valued that the letters forming it are seen as objects of solemn beauty.

Writing for the page is only one form of writing for the eye. Wherever solemn inscriptions are put up in public places, there is a sense that the site and the occasion demand a form of writing which goes beyond plain informative prose. Each word is so valued that the letters forming it are seen as objects of solemn beauty.

Free verse seemed democratic because it offered freedom of access to writers. And those who disdained free verse would always be open to accusations of elitism, mandarinism. Open form was like common ground on which all might graze their cattle - it was not to be closed in by usurping landlords. ---->>>

Metrics are not a device for restraining the mad, any more than 'open form' or free verse is a prairie where a man can do all kinds of manly things in a state of wholesome unrestrictedness. ---->>>

Composers need words, but they do not necessarily need poetry. The Russian composer, Aleksandr Mossolov, who chose texts from newspaper small ads, had a good point to make. With revolutionary music, any text can be set to work. ---->>>

Imitation, if it is not forgery, is a fine thing. It stems from a generous impulse, and a realistic sense of what can and cannot be done. ---->>>

A glance at the history of European poetry is enough to inform us that rhyme itself is not indispensable. Latin poetry in the classical age had no use for it, and the kind of Latin poetry that does rhyme - as for instance the medieval 'Carmina Burana' - tends to be somewhat crude stuff in comparison with the classical verse that doesn't. ---->>>

The voice is raised, and that is where poetry begins. And even today, in the prolonged aftermath of modernism, in places where 'open form' or free verse is the orthodoxy, you will find a memory of that raising of the voice in the term 'heightened speech.' ---->>>

Poetry carries its history within it, and it is oral in origin. Its transmission was oral. Its transmission today is still in part oral, because we become acquainted with poetry through nursery rhymes, which we hear before we can read.

Poetry carries its history within it, and it is oral in origin. Its transmission was oral. Its transmission today is still in part oral, because we become acquainted with poetry through nursery rhymes, which we hear before we can read.

I don't see that a single line can constitute a stanza, although it can constitute a whole poem. ---->>>

The Mormon mission to Africa, as to other dark-skinned parts of the world, was for a long time hobbled by the racism of the movement's scripture. ---->>>

A poem with grandly conceived and executed stanzas, such as one of Keats's odes, should be like an enfilade of rooms in a palace: one proceeds, with eager anticipation, from room to room. ---->>>

An aria in an opera - Handel's 'Ombra mai fu,' for example - gets along with an incredibly small number of words and ideas and a large amount of variation and repetition. That's the beauty of it. It's not taxing to the listener's intelligence because if you haven't heard it the first time round, it'll come around again.

An aria in an opera - Handel's 'Ombra mai fu,' for example - gets along with an incredibly small number of words and ideas and a large amount of variation and repetition. That's the beauty of it. It's not taxing to the listener's intelligence because if you haven't heard it the first time round, it'll come around again.

Generally speaking, rhyme is the marker for the end of a line. The first rhyme-word is like a challenge thrown down, which the poem itself has to respond to. ---->>>

If you're writing a song, you have to write something that can be understood serially. When you're reading a poem that's written for the page, your eye can skip up and down. You can see the thing whole. But you're not going to see the thing whole in the song. You're going to hear it in series, and you can't skip back. ---->>>

In song the same rule applies as in dramatic verse: the meaning must yield itself, or yield itself sufficiently to arouse the attention and interest, in real time. ---->>>

In the writing of poetry we never know anything for sure. We will never know if we have 'trained' or 'practised' enough. We will never be able to say that we have reached grade eight, or that we have left the grades behind and are now embarked on an advanced training. ---->>>

'Love' is so short of perfect rhymes that convention allows half-rhymes like 'move.' The alternative is a plague of doves, or a kind of poem in which the poet addresses his adored both as 'love' and as 'guv' - a perfectly decent solution once, but only once, in a while. ---->>>

Lyric poetry is, of course, musical in origin. I do know that what happened to poetry in the twentieth century was that it began to be written for the page. When it's a question of typography, why not? Poets have done beautiful things with typography - Apollinaire's 'Calligrammes,' that sort of thing. ---->>>

No poet is required to write in stanzas, or indeed in regular forms at all. Coleridge's 'Dejection: An Ode' has a rhyme scheme and sequence of long and short lines that goes without regular pattern, following the mood and whim of the poet. Such a form is known as an irregular ode. ---->>>

The iambic line, with its characteristic forward movement from short to long, or light to heavy, or unstressed to stressed, is the quintessential measure of English verse. ---->>>

The Italian word 'stanza' means 'a room', and a room is a good way to conceive of a stanza. A room, generally speaking, is sufficient for its own purposes, but it does not constitute a house. A stanza has the same sense of containment, without being complete or independent. ---->>>

Hearing that the same men who brought us 'South Park' were mounting a musical to be called 'The Book of Mormon,' we were tempted to turn away, as from an inevitable massacre. ---->>>

The term 'epitaph' itself means 'something to be spoken at a burial or engraved upon a tomb.' When an epitaph is a poem written for a tomb, and appears in a book, we are aware that we are not reading it in its proper form: we are reading a reproduction. The original of the epitaph is the tomb itself, with its words cut into the stone. ---->>>

There is no objection to the proposal: in order to learn to be a poet, I shall try to write a sonnet. But the thing you must try to write, when you do so, is a real sonnet, and not a practice sonnet. ---->>>

This is what rhyme does. In a couplet, the first rhyme is like a question to which the second rhyme is an answer. The first rhyme leaves something in the air, some unanswered business. In most quatrains, space is created between the rhyme that poses the question and the rhyme that gives the answer - it is like a pleasure deferred. ---->>>

Working alone on a poem, a poet is of all artists the most free. The poem can be written with a modicum of technology, and can be published, in most cases, quite cheaply. ---->>>

Great poetry does not have to be technically intricate. ---->>>

At somewhere around 10 syllables, the English poetic line is at its most relaxed and manageable. ---->>>

I prefer writing in the mornings, so to that extent I have a routine. I do reading and other things in the afternoon. ---->>>

In rap, as in most popular lyrics, a very low standard is set for rhyme; but this was not always the case with popular music. ---->>>

Nobody really knows whether they are a poet. I knew I was interested from the age of 15. ---->>>

One problem we face comes from the lack of any agreed sense of how we should be working to train ourselves to write poetry. ---->>>

Poetry carries its history within it, and it is oral in origin. Its transmission was oral. ---->>>

A cabaret song has got to be written - for the middle voice, ideally - because you've got to hear the wit of the words. And a cabaret song gives the singer room to act, more even than an opera singer. ---->>>

The 1960s was a period when writers in the West began to be aware of the extraordinary eloquence and popular attraction of the Russian poets such as Yevtushenko and Voznesensky - oppositional figures who could draw crowds. The Russian poets recited from memory as a matter of course. ---->>>

A really interesting and happy time was when I first went to Florence as a student and studied Italian. I was living in a pensione on an allowance of £40 a month, which was princely. I did a lot of work and enjoyed myself immensely. ---->>>

At four lines, with the quatrain, we reach the basic stanza form familiar from a whole range of English poetic practice. This is the length of the ballad stanza, the verse of a hymn, and innumerable other kinds of verse. ---->>>

In my opinion, it is easier to avoid iambic rhythms, when writing in syllabics, if you create a line or pattern of lines using odd numbers of syllables. ---->>>

Rhyme is a mnemonic device, an aid to the memory. And some poems are themselves mnemonics, that is to say, the whole purpose of the poem is to enable us to remember some information. ---->>>

Sometimes I have thought that a song should look disappointing on the page - a little thin, perhaps, a little repetitive, or a little on the obvious side, or a mixture of all of these things. ---->>>

The iambic pentameter owes its pre-eminence in English poetry to its genius for variation. Good blank verse does not sound like a series of identically measured lines. It sounds like a series of subtle variations on the same theme. ---->>>

What I want, when I write a poem, is no more than this: that it be preserved in some published form so that, in principle, someone, somewhere, will be able to find it and read it. That is all I need, as a poet, and that is the beauty, the luxury of my position. My lyric is mine and remains mine. Nobody can ruin it. ---->>>

'What is this', and 'How is this done?' are the first two questions to ask of any work of art. The second question immediately illuminates the first, but it often doesn't get asked. Perhaps it sounds too technical. Perhaps it sounds pedestrian. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: British
Born: 04-25, 1949
Birthplace: Lincoln, England
Die:
Occupation: Poet
Website:

James Martin Fenton FRSL FRSA (born 25 April 1949, Lincoln) is an English poet, journalist and literary critic. He is a former Oxford Professor of Poetry.(wikipedia)