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Archibald MacLeish


A poem should not mean but be.


There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience.


The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.


Journalism is concerned with events, poetry with feelings. Journalism is concerned with the look of the world, poetry with the feel of the world.


To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold—brothers who know now they are truly brothers.


Ferdinand Magellan


The sea is dangerous and its storms terrible, but these obstacles have never been sufficient reason to remain ashore.

Amit Majmudar

I am grateful to every reader, whoever you are, wherever you are. Your time has been a gift.

'All poets are liars.' And they are, aren't they? Inventors of myths and stories, conjurers of emotions, and sometimes cynical pluckers of heartstrings.


Bernard Malamud


I would write a book, or a short story, at least three times—once to understand it, the second time to improve the prose, and a third to compel it to say what it still must say. Somewhere I put it this way: first drafts are for learning what one's fiction wants him to say. Revision works with that knowledge to enlarge and enhance an idea, to reform it. Revision is one of the exquisite pleasures of writing.


Life is a tragedy full of joy.


A writer is a spectator, looking at everything with a highly critical eye.


I work with language. I love the flowers of afterthought.


The idea is to get the pencil moving quickly.


Those who write about life, reflect about life. You see in others who you are.


Without heroes, we are all plain people and don’t know how far we can go.


Thomas Mann


A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan

​So part of writing for me is like, rather than it being about anyone else, I think almost selfishly, it is about me, and it's like I need to give name to these things, I need to kind of voice these things to remind myself that they're real, but also to help myself kind of navigate them and think about the embodied and structural effects of these things. 


Steve Maraboli


We are designed with a dreaming brain and a hopeful spirit; it is our nature to envision the life of our dreams. And while dreaming comes easy to us, we must never forget that it     takes strength, dedication, and courageous action to bring that dream to life.


Gabriel García Márquez


One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. I have spent many months on a first paragraph, and once I get it, the rest just comes out very easily.

What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.

It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.

All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.

Ultimately, literature is nothing but carpentry. With both you are working with reality, a material just as hard as wood.


Don Marquis


Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose-petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.


Ralph Marston


Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.


Henri Matisse


Creativity takes courage.


Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent, with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.


W. Somerset Maugham


There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.


I can imagine no more comfortable frame of mind for the conduct of life than a humorous     resignation.


It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.


To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.


The crown of literature is poetry.


Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.


Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.


The love that lasts longest is the love that is never returned.


Life isn't long enough for love and art.


Rollo May


Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter (like the river banks) forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work of art or poem.


In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of  solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone. 

Wong May

By changing our habitual way of reading poetry, we change our way of reading the world, and vice versa. 

Janet McAdams


The past we own exists on stone and white paper.

J.D. McClatchy


We write a line we're especially proud of, and weeks later find it staring -no glaring- back at us from some stanza in George Herbert or Emily Dickinson. All poets have debts outstanding. It's how we learn; how we adore; we come to ourselves by putting those selves into the hands of masters. With experience we learn how to disguise our thefts (sometimes by flaunting them). It is how we both continue and extend a tradition.

Ian McEwan

Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion and the beginning of morality.


Heather McHugh


For the facts are mysteriously informed by feeling, and as the brain can make us feel, so too the heart can make us think. 


I think one of poetry’s functions is not to give us what we want.


Where once the brightness of life and language sufficiently attracted me, now the darkness (full of ordinals but no cardinals) seems the greater calling. That may account for the shift in the tonalities of my work, as an increasingly fierce fatality preoccupies it.


When I call poetry a form of partiality, I mean its economies operate by powers of intimation: glimmering and glints, rather than exhaustible sums. It is a broken language from the beginning, brimming with non-words: all that white welled up to keep the line from surrendering to the margin; all that quiet, to keep the musics marked.


Margaret Mead


I learned the value of hard work by working hard.


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.


Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.


There is no greater insight into the future than recognizing...when we save our children, we save ourselves.

Jessica Mehta

I believe anyone you read regularly will influence your work, for better or worse. That’s one of many reasons to try to read works by great writers. My favorites are Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and Li-Young Lee. This is not to say I think my work is even a sliver of their caliber, but I do see how their style has helped to drive my own.

Writing has never scared me--oftentimes it’s been my only salvation. I can express myself in writing in ways I’ve never managed with my voice. Words get stuck in my throat. Thankfully, they flow freely through my fingertips. I supposed the only fear is the tendency to come up with the best lines when I’m far from having the ability to write them down. 

I love the em-dash. It’s so much punchier than any of the others and a favorite for line breaks.


Herman Melville


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity, nothing exceeds the criticisms made of the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.


Ana Mendieta


My art is the way I reestablish the bonds that tie me to the universe.


Thomas Merton


Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.


W.S. Merwin


We become aware of the void as we fill it.

Arthur Miller

The structure of a play is always the story of how the birds came home to roost.

Henry Miller


Understanding is not a piercing of the mystery, but an acceptance of it, a living blissfully with it, in it, through and by it.


Leslie Avon Miller


I am open to moments of exquisite connection with the earth, my life, the very essence of nature and my place within the circle. It is in the deeply still moments that I experience the ecstasy of being alive.


Charles Mingus


Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy.


Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.

Janice Mirikitani

I found that my wounds begin to heal when the voices of those endangered by silence are given power. The silence of hopelessness, of despair buried in the depths of poverty, violence, racism are more deadly than bullets. The gift of light, in our compassion, our listening, our works of love is the gift of life to ourselves.


Joan Miró


The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness.


Claude Monet


The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.


I would like to paint the way a bird sings.


Everyday I discover more and more beautiful things. It’s enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it.


Marilyn Monroe


I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.


L.M. Montgomery


Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worthwhile.


Maria Montessori


Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create.


Marianne Moore


The hands are the heart's messengers.


The heart that gives, gathers.


Imaginary gardens with real toads in them.

Cherríe Moraga

Fundamentally, I started writing to save my life. Yes, my own life first. I see the same impulse in my students-the dark, the queer, the mixed-blood, the violated-turning to the written page with a relentless passion, a drive to avenge their own silence, invisibility, and erasure as living, innately expressive human beings.

Don't let the past steal your present.

A writer will write with or without a movement; but at the same time, for Chicano, lesbian, gay and feminist writers-anybody writing against the grain of Anglo misogynist culture-political movements are what have allowed our writing to surface from the secret places in our notebooks into the public sphere.


Robert Morgan


Alchemy is the art of far and near, and I think poetry is alchemy in that way. It's delightful to distort size, to see something that's tiny as though it were vast.

Christopher Morley


The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness.


Dave Morris


In good writing, the contemplative and the exciting happen at the same time.


Blake Morrison


Editing might be a bloody trade, but knives aren’t the exclusive property of butchers. Surgeons use them too.


Toni Morrison


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.


At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.


Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.


Like any artist without an art form, she became dangerous.


Anger . . . it’s a paralyzing emotion . . . you can't get anything done. People sort of think it's an interesting, passionate, and igniting feeling—I don't think it's any of that—it's helpless . . . it’s absence of control—and I need all of my skills, all of the control, all of my powers . . . and anger doesn't provide any of that—I have no use for it whatsoever.


But the writing was the real freedom, because nobody told me what to do there. That was my world and my imagination. And all my life it’s been that way, even now.

The work is the work itself. If she writes a lot, that's good. If she revises a lot, that's even better. She should not only write about what she knows but about what she doesn't know. It extends the imagination.


Grandma Moses (Anna Mary Robertson Moses)


Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.


Painting's not important. The important thing is keeping busy.


I look out the window sometimes to seek the color of the shadows and the different greens in the trees, but when I get ready to paint I just close my eyes and imagine a scene.


I'll get an inspiration and start painting; then I'll forget everything, everything except how things used to be and how to paint it so people will know how we used to live.


People should take time to be happy.


Bill Moyers


Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous. 


Alice Munro


Anecdotes don’t make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.

Haruki Murakami

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.


Iris Murdoch


We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality. But given the state of the world, is it wise?


Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.


Happiness is a matter of one's most ordinary and everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self.


I think being a woman is like being Irish . . . Everyone says you're important and nice, but you take second place all the time.


Education doesn’t make you happy. Nor does freedom. We don’t become happy just because we’re free—if we are. Or because we’ve been educated—if we have. But because education may be the means by which we realize we are happy. It opens our eyes, our ears, tells us where delights are lurking, convinces us that there is only one freedom of any importance whatsoever, that of the mind, and gives us the assurance—the confidence—to walk the path our mind, our educated mind, offers.


Between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out.


Carol Muske-Dukes


Poetry can save the world. I'm a real believer in its power of healing and transforming. I wish more people read it . . . Poetry is probably as close as I would get to religious feeling. I think poetry makes the world stand still.


Poetry is always a time machine: here we are invisible travelers to a bewitched past, a beautifully occluded future.

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