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Marianne Moore

  • Your energies have wrought / Stout continents of thought.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "That Harp You Play So Well," in Harriet Monroe, ed., Poetry ()
  • Your thorns are the best part of you.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Roses Only," Selected Poems ()
  • I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle. / Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in / it after all, a place for the genuine.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Poetry" (1921), Selected Poems ()
  • Nor till the poets among us can be / 'literalists of / the imagination' — above / insolence and triviality and can present / for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, / shall we have / it.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Poetry" (1921), Selected Poems ()
  • ... we / do not admire what / we cannot understand ...

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Poetry" (1921), Selected Poems ()
  • There is a great amount of poetry in unconscious / fastidiousness.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Critics and Connoisseurs," Selected Poems ()
  • When one is frank, one's very presence is a compliment.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Peter" (1924), Selected Poems ()
  • ... it is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing ...

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "A Grave" (1924), Selected Poems ()
  • ... the sea is a collector, quick to return a rapacious look.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "A Grave" (1924), Selected Poems ()
  • ... one detects creative power by its capacity to conquer one's detachment.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "The Labors of Hercules," Selected Poems ()
  • ... When you take my time, you take something I had meant to use ...

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "People's Surroundings," Selected Poems ()
  • The passion for setting people right is in itself an afflictive disease.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Snakes, Mongooses, Snake Charmers, and the Like," Selected Poems ()
  • ... he who gives quickly gives twice / in nothing so much as in a letter.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Bowls," Selected Poems ()
  • Below the incandescent stars / below the incandescent fruit, / the strange experience of beauty; / its existence is too much; / it tears one to pieces / and each fresh wave of consciousness / is poison.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Marriage," Selected Poems ()
  • I wonder what Adam and Eve / think of it by this time ...

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Marriage," Selected Poems ()
  • Psychology which explains everything / explains nothing, / and we are still in doubt.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Marriage," Selected Poems ()
  • ... impatience is the mark of independence, / not of bondage.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Marriage," Selected Poems ()
  • My father used to say, / 'Superior people never make long visits ...'

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Silence" (1921), Selected Poems ()
  • Nor was he insincere in saying, 'Make my house your inn.' / Inns are not residences.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Silence" (1921), Selected Poems ()
  • The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence; / not in silence, but restraint.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Silence" (1921), Selected Poems ()
  • All are / naked, none is safe.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • title poem, What Are Years? ()
  • Wolf's wool is the best of wool, / but it cannot be sheared because / the wolf will not comply.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "The Student," What Are Years? ()
  • Hindered characters / seldom have mothers / in Irish stories, but they all have grandmothers.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Spenser's Ireland," What Are Years? ()
  • ... you're not free / until you've been made captive by / supreme belief ...

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Spenser's Ireland," What Are Years? ()
  • I am troubled, I'm dissatisfied, I'm Irish.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Spenser's Ireland," What Are Years? ()
  • Among animals, one has a sense of humor. / Humor saves a few steps, it saves years.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "The Pangolin," What Are Years? ()
  • ... the enslaver is / enslaved; the hater, harmed.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "In Distrust of Merits," Nevertheless ()
  • As contagion / of sickness makes sickness, / contagion of trust can make trust.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "In Distrust of Merits," Nevertheless ()
  • There never was a war that was / not inward; I must / fight till I have conquered in myself what / causes war ...

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "In Distrust of Merits," Nevertheless ()
  • Beauty is everlasting / and dust is for a time.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "In Distrust of Merits," Nevertheless ()
  • ... I can see no reason for calling my work poetry except that there is no other category in which to put it.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "A Felicitous Response," The Christian Science Monitor ()
  • Blessed the geniuses who know / that egomania is not a duty.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Blessed Is the Man," Like a Bulwark ()
  • As said previously, if what I write is called poetry it is because there is no other category in which to put it.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Subject, Predicate, Object," in The Christian Science Monitor ()
  • One writes because one has a burning desire to objectify what it is indispensable to one's happiness to express ...

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Idiosyncrasy and Technique," A Marianne Moore Reader ()
  • Omissions are not accidents.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • one-line preface, The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore ()
  • The mind is an enchanting thing.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • poem title (1943), The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore ()
  • [On her use of quotations:] When a thing has been said so well that it could not be said better, why paraphrase it? Hence my writing, is, if not a cabinet of fossils, a kind of collection of flies in amber.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • A Marianne Moore Reader ()
  • What I write can only be termed poetry because there is no other category in which to put it.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Marianne Moore Speaks," in Vogue ()
  • Originality is ... a by-product of sincerity.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Marianne Moore Speaks," in Vogue ()
  • Any writer overwhelmingly honest about pleasing himself is almost sure to please others.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Marianne Moore Speaks," in Vogue ()
  • A writer is unfair to himself when he is unable to be hard on himself.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • in George Plimpton, ed., Writers at Work, 2nd series ()
  • It ought to be work to read something that was work to write.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • in The New York Times ()
  • ... I believe verbal felicity is the fruit of ardor, of diligence, and of refusing to be false.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • 1951, in Patricia C. Willis, ed., The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore ()
  • Which of us has not been stunned by the beauty of an animal's skin or its flexibility in motion?

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "Of Beasts and Jewels," in Patricia C. Willis, ed., The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore ()
  • Conscious writing can be the death of poetry.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • 1965, in Patricia C. Willis, ed., The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore ()
  • In a poem, the words should be as pleasing to the ear as the meaning is to the mind.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • interview with Donald Hall (1965), in Donald Hall, Their Ancient Glittering Eyes ()
  • Revision is its own reward.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • 1948, in Susan Sherman, ed., May Sarton: Among the Usual Days ()
  • It is in general true that in order to create works of art one has to have leisure. On the other hand I think that one needs to experience resistance in a practical sense, and even that which is poignant to bring out what makes easy reading for others. Too much deprivation of course, means death.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • 1922, in Bonnie Costello, ed., The Selected Letters of Marianne Moore ()
  • Honesty — however dangerous — should be as valuable as radium it seems to me ...

    • Marianne Moore,
    • 1942, in Bonnie Costello, ed., The Selected Letters of Marianne Moore ()
  • ... I never 'plan' a stanza. Words cluster like chromosomes, determining the procedure.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • interview with Donald Hall (1960), in The Paris Review Interviews, vol. 4 ()
  • Poetry is all nouns and verbs.

    • Marianne Moore
  • [The] whirlwind fife-and-drum of the storm bends the salt marsh grass, disturbs stars in the sky and the star on the steeple; it is a privilege to see so much confusion.

    • Marianne Moore,
    • "The Steeple-Jack," Selected Poems ()

Marianne Moore, U.S. poet, critic

(1887 - 1972)

Full name: Marianne Craig Moore.