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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 (1915)

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"Your thorns are the best part of you."

Marianne Moore, "Roses Only," Selected Poems (1935)

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"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 (1935)

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"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 (1935)

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"... we / do not admire what / we cannot understand ..."

Marianne Moore, "Poetry" (1921), Selected Poems (1935)

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"There is a great amount of poetry in unconscious / fastidiousness."

Marianne Moore, "Critics and Connoisseurs," Selected Poems (1935)

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"When one is frank, one's very presence is a compliment."

Marianne Moore, "Peter" (1924), Selected Poems (1935)

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"... it is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing ..."

Marianne Moore, "A Grave" (1924), Selected Poems (1935)

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"... the sea is a collector, quick to return a rapacious look."

Marianne Moore, "A Grave" (1924), Selected Poems (1935)

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"... one detects creative power by its capacity to conquer one's detachment."

Marianne Moore, "The Labors of Hercules," Selected Poems (1935)

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"... When you take my time, you take something I had meant to use ..."

Marianne Moore, "People's Surroundings," Selected Poems (1935)

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"The passion for setting people right is in itself an afflictive disease."

Marianne Moore, "Snakes, Mongooses, Snake Charmers, and the Like," Selected Poems (1935)

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"... he who gives quickly gives twice / in nothing so much as in a letter."

Marianne Moore, "Bowls," Selected Poems (1935)

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"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 (1935)

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"I wonder what Adam and Eve / think of it by this time ..."

Marianne Moore, "Marriage," Selected Poems (1935)

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"Psychology which explains everything / explains nothing, / and we are still in doubt."

Marianne Moore, "Marriage," Selected Poems (1935)

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"... impatience is the mark of independence, / not of bondage."

Marianne Moore, "Marriage," Selected Poems (1935)

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"My father used to say, / 'Superior people never make long visits ...'"

Marianne Moore, "Silence" (1921), Selected Poems (1935)

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"Nor was he insincere in saying, 'Make my house your inn.' / Inns are not residences."

Marianne Moore, "Silence" (1921), Selected Poems (1935)

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"The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence; / not in silence, but restraint. "

Marianne Moore, "Silence" (1921), Selected Poems (1935)

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"All are / naked, none is safe."

Marianne Moore, title poem, What Are Years? (1941)

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"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? (1941)

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"Hindered characters / seldom have mothers / in Irish stories, but they all have grandmothers."

Marianne Moore, "Spenser's Ireland," What Are Years? (1941)

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"... you're not free / until you've been made captive by / supreme belief ... "

Marianne Moore, "Spenser's Ireland," What Are Years? (1941)

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"I am troubled, I'm dissatisfied, I'm Irish."

Marianne Moore, "Spenser's Ireland," What Are Years? (1941)

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"Among animals, one has a sense of humor. / Humor saves a few steps, it saves years."

Marianne Moore, "The Pangolin," What Are Years? (1941)

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"... the enslaver is / enslaved; the hater, harmed."

Marianne Moore, "In Distrust of Merits," Nevertheless (1944)

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"As contagion / of sickness makes sickness, / contagion of trust can make trust."

Marianne Moore, "In Distrust of Merits," Nevertheless (1944)

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"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 (1944)

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"Beauty is everlasting / and dust is for a time."

Marianne Moore, "In Distrust of Merits," Nevertheless (1944)

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"... 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 (1952)

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"Blessed the geniuses who know / that egomania is not a duty."

Marianne Moore, "Blessed Is the Man," Like a Bulwark (1956)

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"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 (1958)

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"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 (1958)

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"Omissions are not accidents."

Marianne Moore, one-line preface, The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore (1958)

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"The mind is an enchanting thing."

Marianne Moore, poem title (1943), The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore (1958)

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"[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 (1961)

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"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 (1963)

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"Originality is ... a by-product of sincerity."

Marianne Moore, "Marianne Moore Speaks," in Vogue (1963)

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"Any writer overwhelmingly honest about pleasing himself is almost sure to please others."

Marianne Moore, "Marianne Moore Speaks," in Vogue (1963)

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"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 (1963)

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"It ought to be work to read something that was work to write."

Marianne Moore, in The New York Times (1972)

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"... 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 (1986)

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"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 (1986)

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"Conscious writing can be the death of poetry."

Marianne Moore, 1965, in Patricia C. Willis, ed., The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore (1986)

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"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 (1992)

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"Revision is its own reward."

Marianne Moore, 1948, in Susan Sherman, ed., May Sarton: Among the Usual Days (1993)

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"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 (1997)

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"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 (1997)

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"... 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 (2009)

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"Poetry is all nouns and verbs."

Marianne Moore

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"[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 (1935)

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Marianne Moore, U.S. poet, critic
(1887 - 1972)

Full name: Marianne Craig Moore.