February 18, 1931 - August 5, 2019


95 Greatest Quotes By Toni Morrison

Black literature is taught as sociology, as tolerance, not as a serious, rigorous art form. Toni Morrison
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. Toni Morrison
In Ohio seasons are theatrical. Each one enters like a prima donna, convinced its performance is the reason the world has people in it. Toni Morrison
When there is pain, there are no words. All pain is the same. Toni Morrison
There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. Toni Morrison
You need intelligence, and you need to look. You need a gaze, a wide gaze, penetrating and roving - thats what's useful for art. Toni Morrison
Writing is really a way of thinking--not just feeling but thinking about things that are disparate, unresolved, mysterious, problematic or just sweet. Toni Morrison
To be given dominion over another is a hard thing; to wrest dominion over another is a wrong thing; to give dominion of yourself to another is a wicked thing. Toni Morrison
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. Toni Morrison
You rely on a sentence to say more than the denotation and the connotation; you revel in the smoke that the words send up. Toni Morrison
Good editors are really the third eye. Cool. Dispassionate. They don’t love you or your work. Toni Morrison
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. Toni Morrison
I dream a dream that dreams back at me. Toni Morrison
I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it. Toni Morrison
In time the whole family perked up like Sesame Street puppets, hoping that cheer, if worked at hard enough, could sugar the living and quiet the dead. Toni Morrison
I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer - its dust and lowering skies. Toni Morrison
Somebody has to take responsibility for being a leader. Toni Morrison
We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives. Toni Morrison
Era la selva que los blancos plantaban en ellos. Toni Morrison
She was fierce in the presence of death, heroic even, as she was at no other time. Its threat gave her direction, clarity, audacity. Toni Morrison
Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another. Toni Morrison
Don’t beg anybody for anything, especially love. Toni Morrison
Sweet, crazy conversations full of half sentences, daydreams and misunderstandings more thrilling than understanding could ever be. Toni Morrison
tougher, because she could do and survive things they believed she should neither do nor survive. Toni Morrison
Freedom is choosing your responsibility. It's not having no responsibilitie s; it's choosing the ones you want. 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. Toni Morrison
There is nothing of any consequence in education, in the economy, in city planning, in social policy that does not concern black people. Toni Morrison
Let your face speak what's in your heart. When my kids walk in the room my face says I'm glad to see them. Toni Morrison
A friend gathers all the pieces and gives them back in the right order. Toni Morrison
Books ARE a form of political action. Books are knowledge. Books are reflection. Books change your mind. Toni Morrison
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. Toni Morrison
It's a bad word, 'belong.' Especially when you put it with somebody you love ... You can't own a human being. Toni Morrison
Lonely was much better than alone. Toni Morrison
Funny how you lose sight of some things and memory others. Toni Morrison
The function of freedom is to free someone else. Toni Morrison
She is not so afraid at night because she is the color of it. Toni Morrison
When a child walks in the room, your child or anybody else’s child, do your eyes light up? That’s what they’re looking for. Toni Morrison
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. Toni Morrison
All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. Toni Morrison
Everything I write for the first time is written with a pencil. Toni Morrison
If you can only be tall because someone else is on their knees, then you have a serious problem. And white people have a very, very serious problem. Toni Morrison
Didn’t everything on God’s earth have or acquire defense? Toni Morrison
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. Toni Morrison
…he didn’t needs words or even want them because he knew how they could lie, could heat your blood and disappear. Toni Morrison
I don't think one parent can raise a child. I don't think two parents can raise a child. You really need the whole village. Toni Morrison
The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power. Toni Morrison
I think some aspects of writing can be taught. Obviously, you can't teach vision or talent. But you can help with comfort. Toni Morrison
As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think. Toni Morrison
I can't explain inspiration. A writer is either compelled to write or not. And if I waited for inspiration I wouldn't really be a writer. Toni Morrison
Everything I've ever done, in the writing world, has been to expand articulation, rather than to close it. Toni Morrison
Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined. Toni Morrison
Like any artist without an art form, she became dangerous. Toni Morrison