Sometimes I sit down to dinner with people and I realize there is a massive military machine surrounding us, trying to kill the people I’m having dinner with.
Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.
You cannot come to a Nigerian restaurant without having pepper soup.
Having enough to eat, being able to educate your children, have reasonably stable employment, and being able to live in a society which isn’t collapsing around you-all of these things have been generally eroded.
In not having an appointment at Harvard, I’m in the company of a great many people whose work I admire tremendously, in particular women of color.
We are like ignorant shepherds living on a site where great civilizations once flourished. The shepherds play with the fragments that pop up to the surface, having no notion of the beautiful structures of which they were once a part.
We must laugh before we are happy, for fear of dying without having laughed at all.
All of my misfortunes come from having thought too well of my fellows.
Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.
What I try to do is to go into a poem – and one writes them, of course, poem by poem – to go into each poem, first of all without having any sense whatsoever of where it’s going to end up.