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Alice Walker

  • Nobody is as powerful as we make them out to be.

  • Expect nothing. Live frugally / On surprise.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Expect Nothing," Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems ()
  • Be nobody's darling; / Be an outcast. / Qualified to live / Among your dead.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Be Nobody's Darling," Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems ()
  • The quietly pacifist peaceful / always die / to make room for men / who shout.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "The QPP," Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems ()
  • If a person is hit hard enough, even if she stands, she falls.

  • I imagine good teaching as a circle of earnest people sitting down to ask each other meaningful questions. I don't see it as a handing down of answers. So much of what passes for teaching is merely a pointing out of what items to want.

  • Horses make a landscape look more beautiful.

    • Alice Walker,
    • book title ()
  • I am afraid of people / who cannot cry / Tears left unshed / turn to poison / in the ducts ...

    • Alice Walker,
    • "S M," Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful ()
  • How I miss my father. / I wish he had not been / so tired / when I was / born.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Poem at Thirty-Nine," Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful ()
  • The long-term accommodation that protects marriage and other such relationships is ... forgetfulness.

  • Nature has created us with the capacity to know God, to experience God. ... The experience of God, or in any case the possibility of experiencing God, is innate.

  • Not everyone's life is what they make it. Some people's life is what other people make it.

  • ... all History is current; all injustice continues on some level, somewhere in the world.

    • Alice Walker,
    • 1978, in Gloria T. Hull, Patricia Bell Scott, and Barbara Smith, eds., All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave ()
  • You know a little drink now and then never hurt nobody, but when you can't git started without asking the bottle, you in trouble.

  • I don't know how to fight. All I know is how to stay alive.

  • I try to teach my heart to want nothing it can't have.

  • Time moves slowly, but passes quckly.

  • Ain't no way to read the bible and not think God white, she say. Then she sigh. When I found out I thought God was white, and a man, I lost interest.

  • God is inside you and inside everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it. And sometimes it just manifest itself even if you not looking, or don't know what you looking for. Trouble do it for most folks, I think. ... Yeah, It. God ain't a he or a she, but a It.

  • Listen, God love everything you love — and a mess of stuff you don't But more than anything else, God love admiration. ... I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it. ... People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back. ... It always making little surprises and springing them on us when us least expect.

  • Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors.

  • She say, Celie, tell the truth, have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God.

  • People tend to think that life really does progress for everyone eventually, that people progress, but actually only some people progress. The rest of the people don't.

    • Alice Walker,
    • in Claudia Tate, Black Women Writers at Work ()
  • Womanist is to feminist as purple to lavender.

    • Alice Walker,
    • epigraph, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • ... no person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended. Or who belittles in any fashion the gifts you labor so to bring into the world.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "A Talk: Convocation 1972," In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • Ignorance, arrogance, and racism have bloomed as Superior Knowledge in all too many universities.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "A Talk: Convocation 1972," In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • The artist is the voice of the people, but she is also The People.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "The Unglamorous But Worthwhile Duties of the Black Revolutionary Artist, or of the Black Writer Who Simply Works and Writes" (1971), In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • Our mothers and grandmothers, some of them: moving to music not yet written.

    • Alice Walker,
    • title essay (1974), In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • ... no song or poem will bear my mother's name. Yet so many of the stories that I write, that we all write, are my mother's stories.

    • Alice Walker,
    • title essay (1974), In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • ... in search of my mother's garden, I found my own.

    • Alice Walker,
    • title essay (1974), In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • Writing poems is my way of celebrating with the world that I have not committed suicide the evening before.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "From an Interview" (1973), In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • ... in order to be able to live at all in America I must be unafraid to live anywhere in it, and I must be able to live in the fashion and with whom I choose.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "From an Interview" (1973), In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Only Justice Can Stop a Curse," In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • ... the good news may be that Nature is phasing out the white man, but the bad news is that's who She thinks we all are.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Nuclear Madness," In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "To the Editors of Ms. Magazine," In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • In my opinion and experience, imperialists of all nations and races will tell us anything to keep us fighting. For them.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "To the Editors of Ms. Magazine," In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • Curiosity is my natural state and has led me headlong into every worthwhile experience (never mind the others) I have ever had.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "One Child of One's Own," In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence — as it saves most writers who live in 'interesting' oppressive times and are not afflicted by personal immunity.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "One Child of One's Own," In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • 'Progress' affects few. Only revolution can affect many.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "One Child of One's Own," In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • People do not wish to appear foolish; to avoid the appearance of foolishness, they were willing to remain actually fools.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "One Child of One's Own," In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens ()
  • Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn't matter. I'm not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for?

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Alice Walker: Do You Know This Woman? She Knows You," in Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions ()
  • ... human animals and nonhuman animals can communicate quite well; if we are brought up around animals as children we take this for granted. By the time we are adults we no longer remember.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Am I Blue," Living By the Word ()
  • As we talked of freedom and justice one day for all, we sat down to steaks. I am eating misery, I thought, as I took the first bite. And spit it out.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Am I Blue," Living By the Word ()
  • ... I had assumed that the Earth, the spirit of the Earth, noticed exceptions — those who wantonly damage it and those who do not. But the Earth is wise. It has given itself into the keeping of all, and all are therefore accountable.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Everything Is a Human Being," Living by the Word ()
  • It has been proved that the land can exist without the country — and be better for it; it has not been proved ... that the country can exist without the land.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Everything Is a Human Being," Living by the Word ()
  • ... the animals of the planet are in desperate peril ... Without free animal life I believe we will lose the spiritual equivalent of oxygen.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "The Universe Responds," Living by the Word ()
  • It must become a right of every person to die of old age. And if we secure this right for ourselves, we can, coincidentally, assure it for the planet.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Longing to Die of Old Age," Living by the Word ()
  • I'm always amazed that people will actually choose to sit in front of the television and just be savaged by stuff that belittles their intelligence.

    • Alice Walker,
    • in Brian Lanker, I Dream a World ()
  • ... I'm the kind of woman that likes to enjoy herselves in peace.

  • Only dead people need loud music, you know.

  • Keep in mind always the present you are constructing. It should be the future you want.

  • What the mind doesn't understand it worships or fears.

  • Poetry, I have discovered, is always unexpected and always as faithful and honest as dreams.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "We Have a Beautiful Mother," Her Blue Body Everything We Know ()
  • O landscape of my birth / you have never been far from my heart. / It is I who have been far. / If you will take me back / Know that I / Am yours.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "My Heart Has Reopened to You," Her Blue Body Everything We Know ()
  • Is solace anywhere / more comforting / than in the arms / of sisters?

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Telling," Her Blue Body Everything We Know ()
  • Abortion, for many women, is more than an experience of suffering beyond anything most men will ever know, it is an act of mercy, and an act of self-defense.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "The Right to Life: What Can the White Man Say to the Black Woman?" Her Blue Body Everything We Know ()
  • We have a beautiful / mother / Her green lap / immense / Her brown embrace / eternal / Her blue body / everything / we know.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "We Have a Beautiful Mother," Her Blue Body Everything We Know ()
  • Yes, Mother ... I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me.

  • There are those who believe Black people possess the secret of joy and that it is this that will sustain them through any spiritual or moral or physical devastation.

  • Resistance is the secret of joy!

  • I am not interested in being a role model, or in fulfilling the expectations of others. I know I am of most use to others and to myself by being this unique self: Nature, I have noticed, is not particularly devoted to copies, and human beings needn't be either.

  • ... I think mothers and daughters are meant to give birth to each other, over and over; that is why our challenges to each other are so fierce; that is why, when love and trust have not been too badly blemished or destroyed, the teaching and learning one from the other is so indelible and bittersweet. We daughters must risk losing the only love we instinctively feel we can't live without in order to be who we are, and I am convinced this sends a message to our mothers to break their own chains, though they may be anchored in prehistory and attached to their own great grandmothers' hearts.

  • Anything we love can be saved.

    • Alice Walker,
    • book title ()
  • Eventually I knew what hair wanted; it wanted to be itself ... to be left alone by anyone, including me, who did not love it as it was.

    • Alice Walker,
    • in Lorraine Massey and Deborah Chiel, Curly Girl ()
  • We're going to have to debunk the myth that Africa is a heaven for black people — especially black women. We've been the mule of the world there and the mule of the world here.

    • Alice Walker
  • The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.

    • Alice Walker
  • Activism is my rent for living on this planet.

    • Alice Walker
  • To me war is something to be outgrown, recognized as immature, wasteful, and so destructive to life that human beings should shun it ... as they once shunned bubonic plague.

  • While love / Is dangerous / Let us walk / Bareheaded / Beside / The great / River. / Let us gather / Blossoms / Under / Fire.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "While Love Is Unfashionable," The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and Wandering as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm's Way ()
  • How anyone cannot see that Nature is God is amazing to me: that they'd rather worship something that can only exist, really, in their own minds.

  • A writer's heart, a poet's heart, an artist's heart, a musician's heart is always breaking. It is through that broken window that we see the world; more mysterious, beloved, insane, and precious for the sparkling and jagged edges of the smaller enclosure we have escaped.

  • I can spend two hours grubbing about in my garden, dazed with pleasure and intent, and it feels like five minutes.

  • ... before I embark on any new venture, I ask myself: will the joy of doing this make me lose track of any concern for time? If the answer is yes, I proceed!

  • People who work hard often work too hard. ... May we learn to honor the hammock, the siesta, the nap and the pause in all its forms.

  • I am not convinced that men and women were ever meant to share the same house, though some people can do it beautifully.

  • Hard times require furious dancing.

  • War is a dead end, literally. And, what is more, we simply can't afford it. Not morally, and not financially. How long will it take the citizens of the United States, one wonders, to recognize that the house their country bombed in Iraq is the same one they were living in until it was foreclosed?

  • No matter how hidden the cruelty, no matter how far off the screams of pain and terror, we live in one world. We are one people.

  • ... allowing freedom to others brings freedom to ourselves.

  • I personally have never trusted museums. ... It is because museums, broadly speaking, live off of the art and artifacts of others, often art and artifacts that have been obtained by dubious means. But they also manipulate whatever it is they present to the public; hence, until Judy Chicago, in the 1970s ... few women artists were hung in any major museum. Indian artists? Artifacts only, please. Black artists? Something musical, maybe? And so forth.

  • It's so clear that you have to cherish everyone. I think that's what I get from these older black women, that every soul is to be cherished, that every flower is to bloom.

    • Alice Walker
  • The Desert has its own moon / which I have seen with my own eye / There is no flag on it.

    • Alice Walker,
    • "On Sight," In Search of Our Mother's Gardens ()
  • Those who love us never leave us alone with our grief.

    • Alice Walker,
    • foreword, Zora Neale Hurston, Barracoon ()
  • Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.

    • Alice Walker

Alice Walker, U.S. writer, poet, activist

(1944)

Full name: Alice Malsenior Walker.