Creativity Quotes & Poetry

For more than forty years, we've been collecting quotes and poetry that support the practice of process art. We're happy to have this space to share some of our favorites with you.

The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.

David Foster Wallace
  • Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.

    Pema Chodron
  • The Real Work
    It may be that when we no longer know what to do
    we have come to our real work,
    and that when we no longer know which way to go
    we have come to our real journey.
    The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
    The impeded stream is the one that sings.
    Wendell Berry
  • If you want to surrender to creativity, surrender to creation.

    Judith Orloff
  • Art is what we call . . . the thing an artist does. It's not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters, what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human. Art is not in the  . . . eye of the beholder. It's in the soul of the artist.

    Seth Godiin
  • The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself.

    Alan Alda
  • People only get really interesting when they start to rattle the bars of their cages.

    Alain de Botton
  • You simply cannot learn and know at the same time, and this is a frustration all artists must bear.

    Mary Ruefle
  • But just when the worst bears down you find a pretty bubble in your soup at noon, and outside at work a bird says, "Hi!" Slowly the sun creeps along the floor; it is coming your way. It touches your shoe. 

    William Stafford
  • There may be intention but it’s easily abandoned when what started as a ladder becomes a torch or what started as a swimming pool becomes a camp fire and what started out as a lifeguard becomes a caveman.

    Lynda Barry
  • Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
    Don't claim them. Feel the artistry
    Moving through.
    And be silent.

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  • Not I, not anyone else, can travel that road
    for you,
    You must travel it for yourself.
    It is not far, it is within reach,
    perhaps you have been on it since you were
    born and did not know.

    Walt Whitman
  • Let mystery have its place in you; do not be always turning up your whole soil with the ploughshare of self examination, but leave a little fallow corner in your heart ready for any seed the winds may bring.

    Henri Frederic Amiel
  • Find meaning or don't find meaning but "steal" some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self.

    Albert Camus
  • Maybe happiness is this: not feeling like you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else. - Isaac Asimov

    Isaac Asimov
  • Try and be a sheet of paper with nothing on it.

  • Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and nights.
    But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge.
    You would know in words that which you have always
    known in thought . . .
    Say not, “ I have found the truth,” but rather,
    “I have found a truth.”
    Say not, “I have found the path of the soul.”
    Say rather, “I have met the soul walking upon my path.”
    For the soul walks upon all paths.

    Kahlil Gibran
  • He who does not really feel himself lost, is lost without remission; that is to say, he never finds himself, never comes up against his own reality.

    José Ortega y Gasset
  • We exist as phantom, monster, miracle, each a theme park all one's own, and mainly unknowable in the end, not just to others, but to ourselves as well.

    Diane Ackerman
  • Prospective Immigrants Please Note

    Either you will go
    through this door
    or you will not go through.

    If you go through
    there is always the risk
    of remembering your name.

    Things look at you doubly
    and you must look back
    and let them happen.

    If you do not go through
    it is possible
    to live worthily

    to maintain your attitudes
    to hold your positions
    to die bravely

    But much will blind you,
    much will evade you,
    at what cost who knows?

    The door itself makes no promises
    It is only a door.

    Adrienne Rich