"I began the way nearly everybody I ever heard of - I began writing poetry. And I find that to be quite usual with writers, their trying their hand at poetry."
"All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling."Shelby Foote on Oscar Wilde
"A poet can survive everything but a misprint."Shelby Foote on Oscar Wilde
"Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things."Shelby Foote on T. S. Eliot
"Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words."Shelby Foote on Robert Frost
"A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness."Shelby Foote on Robert Frost
"I think making mistakes and discovering them for yourself is of great value, but to have someone else to point out your mistakes is a shortcut of the process."
"I used to write sonnets and various things, and moved from there into writing prose, which, incidentally, is a lot more interesting than poetry, including the rhythms of prose."
"I'm crazy about Grant: his character, his nature, his science in fighting and everything else. But I don't like the idea that he never accepted the blame for anything, always found someone else to blame for any mistake that was ever made, including blaming Prentiss for Shiloh."
"I think that everything you do helps you to write if you're a writer. Adversity and success both contribute largely to making you what you are. If you don't experience either one of those, you're being deprived of something."
"And I'm a slow writer: five, six hundred words is a good day. That's the reason it took me 20 years to write those million and a half words of the Civil War."