What are the sources of poetry? Love and death and the paradox of love and death. All poetry from the beginning is about Eros and Thanatos. Those are the only subjects. And how Eros and Thanatos interweave.
Poetry is the language we speak in the most terrifying or ecstatic passages of our lives. But the very word poetry scares people. They think of their grade school teachers reciting 'Hiawatha' and they groan.
There is still the feeling that women's writing is a lesser class of writing, that what goes on in the nursery or the bedroom is not as important as what goes on in the battlefield, that what women know about is a less category of knowledge.
Anybody who instantly goes from being a poet and a graduate student to being a public figure has to be in a state of shock. First people want to praise you, and then they want to attack you. No one can prepare you for it.
The virtues about marriage were mostly negative virtues. Being unmarried in a man's world was such a hassle that anything had to be better. Marriage was better. But not much. Damned clever, I thought, how men had made life so intolerable for single women that most would gladly embrace even bad marriages instead.
Even when we are screaming and throwing things, we are friends. Who is the man and who is the woman? Sometimes neither of us knows. The marriage is androgynous -- like the closest friendships. It will keep.
But at the bottom of all the gloom, there is a sense that we are responsible for each other -- if not for each other's happiness. There is empathy, admiration, respect for the other's intelligence and honesty.
We've shown again and again, in every UN report on the status of women, that wherever women control their own bodies and have access to education, societies prosper. Men's fortunes go up, children's fortunes go up. This is not news - it's been proven repeatedly. Anywhere those things are threatened, we have to defend them.
Every time we hit an air pocket and the plane dropped about five hundred feet (leaving my stomach in my mouth) I vowed to give up sex, bacon, and air travel if I ever made it back to terra firma in one piece.
It was the old psychosomatic side-step. Everyone in my family dances it at every opportunity. You've given me a splitting headache! You've given me indigestion! You've given me crotch rot! You've given me auditory hallucinations! You've given me a heart attack! You've given me cancer!
Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
I don't think you will ever fully understand how you've touched my life and made me who I am. I don't think you could ever know just how truly special you are that even on the darkest nights you are my brightest star
Back in the days when men were hunters and chest beaters and women spent their whole lives worrying about pregnancy or dying in childbirth, they often had to be taken against their will. Men complained that women were cold, unresponsive, frigid. They wanted their women wanton. They wanted their women wild. Now women were finally learning to be wanton and wild - and what happened? The men wilted.
There is simply no dignified way for a woman to live alone. Oh, she can get along financially perhaps (though not nearly as well as a man), but emotionally she is never left in peace. Her friends, her family, her fellow workers never let her forget that her husbandlessness, her childlessness - her selfishness, in short - is a reproach to the American way of life.
Coupling doesn't always have to do with sex ... Two people holding each other up like flying buttresses. Two people depending on each other and babying each other and defending each other against the world outside. Sometimes it was worth all the disadvantages of marriage just to have that: one friend in an indifferent world.
There is a rhythm to the ending of a marriage just like the rhythm of a courtship-only backward. You try to start again but get into blaming over and over. Finally you are both worn out, exhausted, hopeless. Then lawyers are called in to pick clean the corpses. The death has occurred much earlier.
Motherhood cannot finally be delegated. Breast-feeding may succumb to the bottle; cuddling, fondling, and paediatric visits may also be done by fathers...but when a child needs a mother to talk to, nobody else but a mother will do.
I think a lot of people, when they read about a woman who acknowledges her sexuality and her feelings, get really scared. They say they want to be fearless, but in reality they're terrified. If they acknowledge their deepest feelings, they might have to change their lives.
I have ne'er been in a chamber with a lawyer when I did not wish either to scream with desperation or else fall into the deepest of sleeps, e'en when the matter concern'd my own future most profoundly.
In a way women are fleshier because of estrogen. It's hard for us to lose weight because when we get super skinny we don't ovulate. Women in camps during the Holocaust didn't menstruate and didn't ovulate. They were starving; they were terrified. Why emulate that condition? It's nonsensical to me.
There is nothing fiercer than a failed artist. The energy remains, but, having no outlet, it implodes in a great black fart of rage which smokes up all the inner windows of the soul. Horrible as successful artists often are, there is nothing crueler or more vain than a failed artist.
As a past president of the Writers Guild, I think women shouldn't write for free. Maybe you have to do it for a time, to make a reputation, but I think the idea of giving your work away is the beginning of authors not being able to make a living.
I am thinking of the onion again. . . . Not self-righteous like the proletarian potato, nor a siren like the apple. No show-off like the banana. But a modest, self-effacing vegetable, questioning, introspective, peeling itself away, or merely radiating halos like ripples.
If sex and creativity are often seen by dictators as subversive activities, it's because they lead to the knowledge that you own your own body (and with it your own voice), and that's the most revolutionary insight of all.
The greatest feminists have also been the greatest lovers. I'm thinking not only of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley, but of Anais Nin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and of course Sappho. You cannot divide creative juices from human juices. And as long as juicy women are equated with bad women, we will err on the side of being bad.
Books go out into the world, travel mysteriously from hand to hand, and somehow find their way to the people who need them at the times when they need them ... Cosmic forces guide such passings-along.
Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love and loyalty. They depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs, your heart is very big.
The desire for magic cannot be eradicated. Even the most supposedly rational people attempt to practice magic in love and war. We simultaneously possess the most primitive of brain stems and the most sophisticated of cortices. The imperatives of each coexist uneasily.
Growing up female in America. What a liability! You grew up with your ears full of cosmetic ads, love songs, advice columns, whoreoscopes, Hollywood gossip, and moral dilemmas on the level of TV soap operas. What litanies the advertisers of the good life chanted at you! What curious catechisms!
Language matters because whoever controls the words controls the conversation, because whoever controls the conversation controls its outcome, because whoever frames the debate has already won it, because telling the truth has become harder and harder to achieve in an America drowning in Orwellian Newspeak.
I'm not classically pretty; I've always been too heavy; I've had thyroid disease and it's very hard for me to lose weight - but I've always had men pursue me. I've always had that 'it' thing. God knows why. Maybe it's pheromones, I don't know.
I think that the joy of writing a novel is the self-exploratio n that emerges and also that wonderful feeling of playing God with the characters. When I sit down at my writing desk, time seems to vanish. ... I think the most important thing for a writer is to be locked in a study.
You reach a point in life where you realize that you might as well do what you need to do, because your being loved or not being loved is really a function of the people you encounter and not of yourself. That is an immensely liberating insight.
Isn't it our job to be appalled by our parents? Isn't it every generation's duty to be dismayed by the previous generation? And to assert that we are different - only to discover later that we are distressingly the same?
In a certain sense, you do write to seduce the world, but when it happens, you begin to feel like a whore. The disparity between your life and your work turns out to be as great as ever. And the people seduced by your work are usually seduced by all the wrong reasons.
As a seasoned insomniac, I knew sometimes the way to beat sleeplessness was to outwit it: to pretend you didn't care about sleeping. Then sometimes sleep became piqued, like a rejected lover, and crept up to try to seduce you.
Many people today believe that cynicism requires courage. Actually, cynicism is the height of cowardice. It is innocence and open-heartednes s that requires the true courage -- however often we are hurt as a result of it.
I hope we don't have to keep going back over the same territory and winning the same rights over and over again. The battle for birth control. The battle for abortion. The parity of women's health. It's very depressing to think that you win these rights, but then you have to win them again, and again, and again, and fight the same battles over and over.
I know so many women in their fifties, sixties and seventies who delight in being on their own. It's amazing. They don't see any stigma attached to it. We don't need a man to prove our identity anymore.
I believe that women should live for love, for motherhood and for intellect, and I believe we shouldn't have to choose. And I believe that's always been difficult for women, to express themselves intellectually, maternally, and passionately.
The problem with feminism in the second wave was that we fought so much among ourselves, and I think we did so much damage to the movement... and I think the next wave, the third wave, is women mentoring younger women and women helping younger women to enter the political process and the writing world.