Rita Dove quotes

  • There are times in life when, instead of complaining, you do something about your complaints.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Black History #Complaining #Complaints

  • Nothing is too small. Nothing is too, quote-unquote, ordinary or insignificant. Those are the things that make up the measure of our days, and they're the things that sustain us. And they're the things that certainly can become worthy of poetry.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Ordinary #Worthy #Insignificant

  • You have to imagine it possible before you can see something. You can have the evidence right in front of you, but if you can't imagine something that has never existed before, it's impossible.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Women #Imagination #Impossible

  • If they don't read, if they don't love reading; if they don't find themselves compulsively reading, I don't think they're really a writer
    -- Rita Dove

    #Reading #Thinking #Love Of Reading

  • Rap is only one end of a whole spectrum of verbal play and virtuosity. Rap is geared for aural pleasure.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Rap #Play #Pleasure

  • Without imagination we can go nowhere. And imagination is not restricted to the arts. Every scientist I have met who has been a success has had to imagine.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Art #Imagination #Imagine

  • Everybody who's anybody longs to be a tree.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Tree

  • Libraries are where it all begins.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Library #Librarian

  • If we really want to be full and generous in spirit, we have no choice but to trust at some level.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Trust #Choices #Levels

  • Being true to yourself really means being true to all the complexities of the human spirit.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Mean #Spirit #Be True To Yourself

  • When I was young, I was older than I am today.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Today #Young

  • All of us have moments in our childhood where we come alive for the first time. And we go back to those moments and think, This is when I became myself.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Thinking #Childhood #Alive

  • Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Powerful #Poetry #Language

  • The poetry that sustains me is when I feel that, for a minute, the clouds have parted and I've seen ecstasy or something
    -- Rita Dove

    #Clouds #Minutes #Ecstasy

  • My childhood library was small enough not to be intimidating. And yet I felt the whole world was contained in those two rooms. I could walk any aisle and smell wisdom.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Two #Smell #Childhood

  • Creative writing and literacy go hand and hand.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Writing #Hands #Creative

  • To me, a poem is almost like someone whispering to another person, or you hear the whispering in your head. I hope with my own poems that the reader feels a connection, soul to soul, that'll help us all feel a little less alone on the planet. And it does have the power to direct change. A writer can make the word 'dark' be something positive. You can relieve a word like 'hysterical' of its misogynistic implications. You can make the language your own. That's what poetry is about.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Dark #Soul #Connections

  • I grew up in Ohio, where civil-rights accomplishments had already begun to accelerate before Martin Luther King appeared. In hindsight, we know that many people, black and white, were instrumental in changing the Jim Crow status quo on all levels.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Kings #Black And White #Rights

  • Instead of trying to come up and pontificate on what literature is, you need to talk with children, to teachers, and make sure they get poetry in the curriculum early.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Teacher #Children #Trying

  • If only the sun-drenched celebrities are being noticed and worshiped, then our children are going to have a tough time seeing the value in the shadows, where the thinkers, probers and scientists are keeping society together.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Children #Tough Times #Together

  • I change jobs like drinking water ... And as I grow accustomed to the new flavor of a drink I regard as delicious, yes, vital, something fades, life balks. So I break camp; I shed skins.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Jobs #Drinking #Water

  • What's a word, a talisman, to hold against the world?
    -- Rita Dove

    #World #Talismans

  • Can it be that even as one grows to fit the space one lives in, one cannot grow until there's space to grow?
    -- Rita Dove

    #Space #Fit #Grows

  • In working on a poem, I love to revise. Lots of younger poets don't enjoy this, but in the process of revision I discover things
    -- Rita Dove

    #Revision #Poet #Process

  • There are distinct duties of a poet laureate. I plan a reading series at the Library of Congress and advise the librarian. The rest is how I want to promote poetry
    -- Rita Dove

    #Reading #Library #Want

  • Courage has nothing to do with our determination to be great. It has to do with what we decide in that moment when we are called upon to be more.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Determination #Moments #That Moment

  • Listen how they say your name. If they can't say that right, there's no way they're going to know how to treat you proper, neither.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Names #Way #Treats

  • I've always been intrigued by the way history works, the way we decide what is mentioned.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Way #Intrigued

  • I think children have talent and insight, but it gets beaten out of them.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Children #Thinking #Talent

  • I see a resurgence of interest in poetry. I am less optimistic about the prospects for the arts when it comes to federal funding.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Art #Optimistic #Perspective

  • I believe people may have a predisposition for artistic creativity. It doesn't mean they're going to make it.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Believe #Creativity #Mean

  • I loved to read, but I always thought that the dream was too far away. The person who had written the book was a god, it wasn't a person.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Dream #Book #Far Away

  • I keep the drafts of each poem in color-coded folders. I pick up the folders according to how I feel about that color that day.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Color #Folders #Feels

  • Being Poet Laureate made me realize I was capable of a larger voice. There is a more public utterance I can make as a poet.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Voice #Utterance #Realizing

  • I have a high guilt quotient. A poem can go through as many as 50 or 60 drafts. It can take from a day to two years-or longer.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Years #Two #Guilt

  • I didn't know writers could be real live people, because I never knew any writers.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Real #People #Being Real

  • For many years, I thought a poem was a whisper overheard, not an aria heard.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Years #Aria #Heard

  • I carry a notebook with me everywhere. But that's only the first step.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Notebook #Firsts #Steps

  • I always loved science. And in fact, I got a science award in high school. I mean, I loved science, but I think I loved literature more.
    -- Rita Dove

    #School #Mean #Thinking

  • My favorite poets may not be your bread and butter. I have more favorite poems than favorite poets.
    -- Rita Dove

    #May #Bread #Poet

  • I prefer to explore the most intimate moments, the smaller, crystallized details we all hinge our lives on.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Details #Moments #Intimate

  • I try to show what it is about language and music that enthralls, because I think those are the two elements of poetry.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Thinking #Two #Trying

  • I thought, after the Pulitzer, at least nothing will surprise me quite that much in my life. And another one happened. It was quite amazing.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Surprise #Surprise Me

  • I was apprehensive. I feared every time I talked about poetry, it would be filtered through the lens of race, sex, and age.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Sex #Race #Age

  • I write short stories, and I wrote a play.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Writing #Play #Stories

  • I loved to write when I was a child. I wrote, but I always thought it was something that you did as a child, then you put away childish things.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Children #Writing #Childish Things

  • I think reading Shakespeare's plays when I was young was extremely important. He had the ability to make utter strangers come alive.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Reading #Thinking #Play

  • When we are touched by something it's as if we're being brushed by an angel's wings.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Angel #Wings #Creation

  • Poetry connects you to yourself, to the self that doesn't know how to talk or negotiate.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Self

  • We should always do something that makes us feel like a child again. Keep learning, no matter what it is.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Children #Matter #Should

  • Don't be so fast, you're all you've got.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Speed

  • Crassly put: When I write, I am trying not to bore myself and my readers.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Writing #Trying #Bores

  • By making us stop for a moment, poetry gives us an opportunity to think about ourselves as human beings on this planet and what we mean to each other.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Mean #Thinking #Opportunity

  • The library is an arena of possibility, opening both a window into the soul and a door onto the world.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Doors #Soul #Library

  • I was not interested in doing the plot of OEDIPUS in blackface. I did wonder, what would these people have been like if they hadn't been in that situation? . . . One could look at Oedipus, or at my character Augustus, as a cynical schemer who did everything because he was hungry for power. But that's just too easy. I'm more interested in how humans can embody conflicting goals and emotions.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Character #Oedipus #People

  • What writing does is to reveal.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Writing #Doe

  • The joy of working at something to find out what it means to me is what I grew up with.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Mean #Joy #Grew

  • If you can't be free, be a mystery.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Mystery

  • Under adversity, under oppression, the words begin to fail, the easy words begin to fail. In order to convey things accurately, the human being is almost forced to find the most precise words possible, which is a precondition for literature.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Adversity #Order #Literature

  • From the time I began to read, as a child, I loved to feel their heft in my hand and the warm spot caused by their intimate weight in my lap; I loved the crisp whisper of a page turning, the musky odor of old paper and the sharp inky whiff of new pages. Leather bindings sent me into ecstasy. I even loved to gaze at a closed book and daydream about the possibilities inside.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Children #Book #Hands

  • I was pirouette and flourish, I was filigree and flame. How could I count my blessings when I didn't know their names?
    -- Rita Dove

    #Blessing #Names #Flames

  • If we’re going to solve the problems of the world, we have to learn how to talk to one another. Poetry is the language at its essence. It’s the bones and the skeleton of the language. It teaches you, if nothing else, how to choose your words.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Essence #Skeletons #World

  • Equality and self-determination should never be divided in the name of religious or ideological fervor.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Religious #Determination #Self

  • If our children are unable to voice what they mean, no one will know how they feel. If they can’t imagine a different world, they are stumbling through a darkness made all the more sinister by its lack of reference points. For a young person growing up in America’s alienated neighborhoods, there can be no greater empowerment than to dare to speak from the heart — and then to discover that one is not alone in ones feelings.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Children #Growing Up #Heart

  • What is ironic is that Allen Ginsberg's importance was in its twilight for so many years that it took his death to bring it to the front page. He electrified an entire world!
    -- Rita Dove

    #Twilight #Years #Ironic

  • Sometimes a word is found so right it trembles at the slightest explanation.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Sometimes #Found #Explanation

  • We tend to be so bombarded with information, and we move so quickly, that there's a tendency to treat everything on the surface level and process things quickly. This is antithetical to the kind of openness and perception you have to have to be receptive to poetry.poetry seems to exist in a parallel universe outside daily life in America.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Moving #America #Poetry

  • My father is a chemist, my mother was a homemaker. My parents instilled in us the feeling that learning was the most exciting thing that could happen to you, and it never ends.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Mother #Father #Parent

  • It really wasn't until I was in college when I began to write more and more, and I realized I was scheduling my entire life around my writing
    -- Rita Dove

    #Writing #College #I Realized

  • I was appointed Poet Laureate. It came totally out of the blue because most Poet Laureates had been considerably older than I. It was not something that I even had begun to dream about!
    -- Rita Dove

    #Dream #Blue #Poet

  • Have you ever heard a good joke? If you've ever heard someone just right, with the right pacing, then you're already on the way to poetry. It's about using words in very precise ways and using gesture.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Gestures #Way #Using Words

  • It makes me furious to hear haters of all skin colors - especially Christian, Jewish, and Muslim fundamentalists - deride other people because of their different beliefs and lifestyles.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Christian #Skin Color #People

  • To practice your scales, so to speak, in order play the symphony, is what you have to do as a young poet.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Order #Practice #Play

  • People write me from all over the country, asking me, and sometimes even telling me, what they think a poet laureate should do. I found that immensely valuable.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Country #Writing #Thinking

  • It's the combination of the intimate and the public that I find so exciting about being poet laureate.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Poet #Intimate #Combination

  • The sound of the mandolin is a very curious sound because it's cheerful and melancholy at the same time, and I think it comes from that shadow string, the double strings.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Thinking #Shadow #Cheerful

  • To write for PC reasons, because you think you ought to be dealing with this subject, is never going to yield anything that is really going to matter to anyone else. It has to matter to you.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Writing #Thinking #Yield

  • One definition of eternity is that we are not alone on this planet, that there are those who've gone before and those who will come, and that there is a community of spirits.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Community #Gone #Definitions

  • The First Book: Go ahead, it won't bite. Well... maybe a little. More a nip, like. A tingle. It's pleasurable, really. You see, it keeps on opening. You may fall in. Sure, it's hard to get started; remember learning to use knife and fork? Dig in: you'll never reach bottom. It's not like it's the end of the world -- just the world as you think you know it.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Book #Fall #Thinking

  • Going to the library was the one place we got to go without asking for permission. And they let us choose what we wanted to read. It was a feeling of having a book be mine entirely.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Book #Feelings #Library

  • The American Dream is a phrase we'll have to wrestle with all of our lives. It means a lot of things to different people. I think we're redefining it now
    -- Rita Dove

    #Dream #Mean #Thinking

  • For years, I had heard about the lack of interest in literature in the U.S. and I had complained about it. I failed to understand how people could fail to be moved by art.
    -- Rita Dove

    #Art #Years #People

  • It's unfortunate that sometimes in schools, there's this need to have things quantified and graded.
    -- Rita Dove

    #School #Needs #Sometimes