For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
Writing is really a way of thinking -- not just feeling but thinking about things that are disparate, unresolved, mysterious, problematic or just sweet.
It was a fine cry -- loud and long -- but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.
If you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.
I'm always annoyed about why black people have to bear the brunt of everybody else's contempt. If we are not totally understanding and smiling, suddenly we're demons.
I would solve a lot of literary problems just thinking about a character in the subway, where you can't do anything anyway.
The unflattering reviews are painful for short periods of time; the badly written ones are deeply, deeply insulting. That reviewer took no time to really read the book.
You marvel at the economy and this choice of words. How many ways can you describe the sky and the moon? After Sylvia Plath, what can you say?
One of my kids was born in 1968. There were going to be political difficulties, but they were never going to have that level of hatred and contempt that my brothers and my sister and myself were exposed to.
Nelson Mandela is, for me, the single statesman in the world. The single statesman, in that literal sense, who is not solving all his problems with guns. It's truly unbelievable.
I'm not entangled in shaping my work according to other people's views of how I should have done it.
I don't think a female running a house is a problem, a broken family. It's perceived as one because of the notion that a head is a man.
No one ever talks about the moment you found that you were white. Or the moment you found out you were black. That's a profound revelation. The minute you find that out, something happens. You have to renegotiate everything.
Everybody gets everything handed to them. The rich inherit it. I don't mean just inheritance of money. I mean what people take for granted among the middle and upper classes, which is nepotism, the old-boy network.
If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it.
I don't think anybody cares about unwed mothers unless they're black or poor. The question is not morality, the question is money. That's what we're upset about.
Black boys became criminalized. I was in constant dread for their lives, because they were targets everywhere. They still are.
It's been mentioned or suggested that Paradise will not be well studied, because it's about this unimportant intellectual topic, which is religion.
If you're going to hold someone down you're going to have to hold on by the other end of the chain. You are confined by your own repression.
She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.