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93 Marianne Moore Quotes On Life, Existence & Consciousness

Famous As: Former modernist poet known for such witty works as "O To Be a Dragon" and "A Face.
Born On: November 15, 1887
Died On: February 5, 1972
Born In: Kirkwood, Missouri, United States
Died At Age: 84

One of the greatest poets known in the history of American literature, Marilyn Moore was renowned for her accurate phraseology, shrewdness and irony. She was known for her compilation of poems named Collected Poems, Poetry and The Complete Poems. Moore went on to win premier accolades such as National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, Bollingen Prize and National Medal for Literature. A meticulous Presbyterian since childhood, she was strongly influenced by the Christian faith. She expected poets to create masterpieces through words that would produce imaginary gardens with real toads in them. Moore believed that poetry is a form of mastery and morality. Anything which is phrased poorly despite being in perfect form cannot be accepted as poetry. Many believed that her work cannot be stereotyped under a class of poetry. We have collected Moore’s quotes and thoughts from her poems, writings, and general observations about life, religion, society etc. Let us browse through some of the greatest lines by this witty poet, which will be remembered till eternity.

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Your thorns are the best part of you.

Your thorns are the best part of you.

Marianne Moore
... we
do not admire what
we cannot understand.

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

Marianne Moore
The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence.

The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence.

Marianne Moore
The hands are the heart's messengers.

The hands are the heart's messengers.

Marianne Moore
The heart that gives, gathers.

The heart that gives, gathers.

Marianne Moore
If we can't be cordial to these creatures' fleece, I think that we deserve to freeze.

If we can't be cordial to these creatures' fleece, I think that we deserve to freeze.

Marianne Moore
I am hard to disgust, but a pretentious poet can do it

I am hard to disgust, but a pretentious poet can do it

Marianne Moore
There never was a war that was not inward.

There never was a war that was not inward.

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

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

Marianne Moore
The self does not realize itself most fully when self-realization is its most constant aim.

The self does not realize itself most fully when self-realization is its most constant aim.

Marianne Moore
Superior people never make long visits.

Superior people never make long visits.

Marianne Moore
Truly as the sun can rot or mend, love can make one bestial or make a beast a man.

Truly as the sun can rot or mend, love can make one bestial or make a beast a man.

Marianne Moore
The cure for loneliness is solitude.

The cure for loneliness is solitude.

Marianne Moore
You are not male or female, but a plan
deep-set within the heart of man.

You are not male or female, but a plan deep-set within the heart of man.

Marianne Moore
[Marianne Moore's definition of genuine poetry] -- Imaginary gardens with real toads in them.

[Marianne Moore's definition of genuine poetry] -- Imaginary gardens with real toads in them.

Marianne Moore
They fought the enemy, we fight fat living and self-pity. Shine, o shine, unfalsifying sun, on this sick scene.

They fought the enemy, we fight fat living and self-pity. Shine, o shine, unfalsifying sun, on this sick scene.

Marianne Moore
Poetry
...
... a place for the genuine,
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise

Poetry ... ... a place for the genuine, Hands that can grasp, eyes that can dilate, hair that can rise

Marianne Moore
Words cluster like chromosomes, determining the procedure.

Words cluster like chromosomes, determining the procedure.

Marianne Moore
...discovering Antarctica, its penguin kings and icy spires...

...discovering Antarctica, its penguin kings and icy spires...

Marianne Moore
Omissions are not accidents.

Omissions are not accidents.

Marianne Moore
When they become so derivative as to become unintelligible, 
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we do not admire what we cannot understand.

When they become so derivative as to become unintelligible, the same thing may be said for all of us, that we do not admire what we cannot understand.

Marianne Moore
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.

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
Yule—Yul log for the Christmas-fire tale-spinner—of fairy tales that can come true: Yul Brynner.

Yule—Yul log for the Christmas-fire tale-spinner—of fairy tales that can come true: Yul Brynner.

Marianne Moore
Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.

Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.

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

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

Marianne Moore
I must fight
Til I have conquered
In myself
what causes war

I must fight Til I have conquered In myself what causes war

Marianne Moore
I am governed by the pull of the sentence as the pull of fabric is governed by gravity.

I am governed by the pull of the sentence as the pull of fabric is governed by gravity.

Marianne Moore
I believe verbal felicity is the fruit of ardor, of diligence, and of refusing to be false.

I believe verbal felicity is the fruit of ardor, of diligence, and of refusing to be false.

Marianne Moore
Hate-hardened heart, O heart of iron, iron is iron till it is rust. There never was a war that was not inward;

Hate-hardened heart, O heart of iron, iron is iron till it is rust. There never was a war that was not inward;

Marianne Moore
One detects creative power by its capacity to conquer one's detachment.

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

Marianne Moore
The enslaver is enslaved, the hater, harmed.

The enslaver is enslaved, the hater, harmed.

Marianne Moore
We are what we were at birth, and each trait has remained in conformity with earth's and with heaven's logic: Be the devil's tool, resort to black magic, None can diverge from the ends which Heaven foreordained.

We are what we were at birth, and each trait has remained in conformity with earth's and with heaven's logic: Be the devil's tool, resort to black magic, None can diverge from the ends which Heaven foreordained.

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

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

Marianne Moore
Wolf's wool is the best of wool, / but it cannot be sheared because / the wolf will not comply.

Wolf's wool is the best of wool, / but it cannot be sheared because / the wolf will not comply.

Marianne Moore
Everything I have written is the result of reading or of interest in people.

Everything I have written is the result of reading or of interest in people.

Marianne Moore
To wear the arctic fox you have to kill it.

To wear the arctic fox you have to kill it.

Marianne Moore
Which of us has not been stunned by the beauty of an animal's skin or its flexibility in motion?

Which of us has not been stunned by the beauty of an animal's skin or its flexibility in motion?

Marianne Moore
As contagion of sickness makes sickness, contagion of trust can make trust.

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

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

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

Marianne Moore
The mind is an enchanting thing is an enchanted thing, like the glaze on a katydid-wing subdivided by sun till the nettings are legion.

The mind is an enchanting thing is an enchanted thing, like the glaze on a katydid-wing subdivided by sun till the nettings are legion.

Marianne Moore
The sea is a collector, quick to return a rapacious look.

The sea is a collector, quick to return a rapacious look.

Marianne Moore
When we think we don't like art it is because it is artificial art.

When we think we don't like art it is because it is artificial art.

Marianne Moore
I see no reason for calling my work poetry except that there is no other category in which to put it.

I see no reason for calling my work poetry except that there is no other category in which to put it.

Marianne Moore
All are / naked, none is safe.

All are / naked, none is safe.

Marianne Moore
The sweet air coming into your house on a fine day, from water etched with waves as formal as the scales on a fish.

The sweet air coming into your house on a fine day, from water etched with waves as formal as the scales on a fish.

Marianne Moore
There never was a war that was not inward; I must fight till I have conquered in myself what causes war.

There never was a war that was not inward; I must fight till I have conquered in myself what causes war.

Marianne Moore
War is pillage versus resistance and if illusions of magnitude could be transmuted into ideals of magnanimity, peace might be realized.

War is pillage versus resistance and if illusions of magnitude could be transmuted into ideals of magnanimity, peace might be realized.

Marianne Moore
You're not free until you've been made captive by supreme belief.

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

Marianne Moore
Egotism is usually subversive of sagacity.

Egotism is usually subversive of sagacity.

Marianne Moore
I never 'plan' a stanza. Words cluster like chromosomes, determining the procedure.

I never 'plan' a stanza. Words cluster like chromosomes, determining the procedure.

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

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

Marianne Moore
Life is energy, and energy is creativity. And even when individuals pass on, the energy is retained in the work of art, locked in it and awaiting release if only someone will take the time and the care to unlock it.

Life is energy, and energy is creativity. And even when individuals pass on, the energy is retained in the work of art, locked in it and awaiting release if only someone will take the time and the care to unlock it.

Marianne Moore
We Call Them the Brave who likely were reluctant to be brave.

We Call Them the Brave who likely were reluctant to be brave.

Marianne Moore
Originality is... a by-product of sincerity.

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

Marianne Moore
Appraisal seems chiefly useful as appraisal of the appraiser.

Appraisal seems chiefly useful as appraisal of the appraiser.

Marianne Moore

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
... imaginary gardens with real toads in them ... ... if you demand on one hand, the raw material of poetry in all its rawness and that which is on the other hand genuine, then you are interested in poetry.

... imaginary gardens with real toads in them ... ... if you demand on one hand, the raw material of poetry in all its rawness and that which is on the other hand genuine, then you are interested in poetry.

Marianne Moore
... we do not admire what we cannot understand.

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

Marianne Moore
Dürer would have seen a reason for living in a town like this.

Dürer would have seen a reason for living in a town like this.

Marianne Moore
I wonder what Adam and Eve think of it by this time.

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

Marianne Moore
When one cannot appraise out of one's own experience, the temptation to blunder is minimized, but even when one can, appraisal seems chiefly useful as appraisal of the appraiser.

When one cannot appraise out of one's own experience, the temptation to blunder is minimized, but even when one can, appraisal seems chiefly useful as appraisal of the appraiser.

Marianne Moore
We don't like flowers that do not wilt; they must die, and nine she-camel hairs aid memory.

We don't like flowers that do not wilt; they must die, and nine she-camel hairs aid memory.

Marianne Moore
We prove, we do not explain, our birth,

We prove, we do not explain, our birth,

Marianne Moore
A symbol from the first, of mastery, experiments such as Hippocrates made and substituted for vague speculation stayed the ravages of plague.

A symbol from the first, of mastery, experiments such as Hippocrates made and substituted for vague speculation stayed the ravages of plague.

Marianne Moore
Poetry, that is to say the poetic, is a primal necessity.

Poetry, that is to say the poetic, is a primal necessity.

Marianne Moore
If you will tell me why the fen appears impassable, I then will tell you why I think that I can cross it if I try.

If you will tell me why the fen appears impassable, I then will tell you why I think that I can cross it if I try.

Marianne Moore
Honesty - however dangerous - should be as valuable as radium it seems to me ...

Honesty - however dangerous - should be as valuable as radium it seems to me ...

Marianne Moore
Maine should be pleased that its animal is not a waverer, and rather than fight, lets the primed quill fall. Shallow oppressor, intruder, insister, you have found a resister.

Maine should be pleased that its animal is not a waverer, and rather than fight, lets the primed quill fall. Shallow oppressor, intruder, insister, you have found a resister.

Marianne Moore
You are not male nor female, but a plan deep-set within the heart of man.

You are not male nor female, but a plan deep-set within the heart of man.

Marianne Moore
He who gives quickly gives twice / in nothing so much as in a letter.

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

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

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

Marianne Moore
Poetry
...
... a place for the genuine,
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise

Poetry ... ... a place for the genuine, Hands that can grasp, eyes that can dilate, hair that can rise

Marianne Moore
I, too, dislike it. Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in it, after all, a place for the genuine.

I, too, dislike it. Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in it, after all, a place for the genuine.

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.

[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
What is our innocence, What is our guilt? All are naked, none is safe.

What is our innocence, What is our guilt? All are naked, none is safe.

Marianne Moore
As for butterflies, I can hardly conceive of one's attending upon you; but to question the congruence of the complement is vain, if it exists.

As for butterflies, I can hardly conceive of one's attending upon you; but to question the congruence of the complement is vain, if it exists.

Marianne Moore
Only imagination that towers can reproduce evanescence and render rigidity flexible.

Only imagination that towers can reproduce evanescence and render rigidity flexible.

Marianne Moore
The mind is an enchanting thing.

The mind is an enchanting thing.

Marianne Moore
Unconfusion submits
its confusion to proof; it's
not a Herod's oath that cannot change.

Unconfusion submits its confusion to proof; it's not a Herod's oath that cannot change.

Marianne Moore
I'm troubled. I'm dissatisfied. I'm Irish.

I'm troubled. I'm dissatisfied. I'm Irish.

Marianne Moore
The Irish say your trouble is their trouble and your joy their joy? I wish I could believe it; I am troubled, I'm dissatisfied, I'm Irish.

The Irish say your trouble is their trouble and your joy their joy? I wish I could believe it; I am troubled, I'm dissatisfied, I'm Irish.

Marianne Moore
The power of the visible is the invisible.

The power of the visible is the invisible.

Marianne Moore
One must be as clear as one's natural reticence allows one to be.

One must be as clear as one's natural reticence allows one to be.

Marianne Moore
Conscious writing can be the death of poetry.

Conscious writing can be the death of poetry.

Marianne Moore
The cynics in life are the people who are always trying to do things for people who don't want things done for them.

The cynics in life are the people who are always trying to do things for people who don't want things done for them.

Marianne Moore
Excess is the common substitute for energy.

Excess is the common substitute for energy.

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

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

Marianne Moore
The weak overcomes its/ menace, the strong over-/comes itself.

The weak overcomes its/ menace, the strong over-/comes itself.

Marianne Moore
In a poem the excitement has to maintain itself. I am governed by the pull of the sentence as the pull of a fabric is governed by gravity.

In a poem the excitement has to maintain itself. I am governed by the pull of the sentence as the pull of a fabric is governed by gravity.

Marianne Moore
At all events there is in Brooklyn
something that makes me feel at home.

At all events there is in Brooklyn something that makes me feel at home.

Marianne Moore
One writes because one has a burning desire to objectify what it is indispensable to one's happiness to express ...

One writes because one has a burning desire to objectify what it is indispensable to one's happiness to express ...

Marianne Moore
A writer is unfair to himself when he is unable to be hard on himself.

A writer is unfair to himself when he is unable to be hard on himself.

Marianne Moore
Beauty is everlasting And dust is for a time.

Beauty is everlasting And dust is for a time.

Marianne Moore