We are so scared of being judged that we look for every excuse to procrastinate.

The greatest feminists have also been the greatest lovers. I'm thinking not only of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley, but of Anais Nin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and of course Sappho. You cannot divide creative juices from human juices. And as long as juicy women are equated with bad women, we will err on the side of being bad.

But the fact is, she [the muse] won't be summoned. She alights when it damn well pleases her. She falls in love with one artist, then deserts him for another. She's a real bitch!

It was easy enough to kill yourself in a fit of despair. It was easy enough to play the martyr. It was harder to do nothing. To endure your life. To wait.

There is nothing fiercer than a failed artist. The energy remains, but, having no outlet, it implodes in a great black fart of rage which smokes up all the inner windows of the soul. Horrible as successful artists often are, there is nothing crueler or more vain than a failed artist.

Women are individuals in parenting, and why not?

I loved Aphrodite from the first and steeped myself in her legends. My mother told me that in ancient times her rituals were bloody and cruel, but I only half believed it.

Many people today believe that cynicism requires courage. Actually, cynicism is the height of cowardice. It is innocence and open-heartedness that requires the true courage-however often we are hurt as a result of it.

Show me a woman who doesn't feel guilty and I'll show you a man.

And the trouble is, if you risk nothing, you risk even more...

The trick is not how much pain you feel--but how much joy you feel. Any idiot can feel pain. Life is full of excuses to feel pain, excuses not to live, excuses, excuses, excuses.

Fame means millions of people have the wrong idea of who you are.

Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.

I see the whole episode in my memory as if it were a very crisply photographed black and white movie. Directed by Bergman perhaps.We are playing ourselves in the movie version. If only we could escape from always having to play ourselves !

Even when we are screaming and throwing things, we are friends. Who is the man and who is the woman? Sometimes neither of us knows. The marriage is androgynous -- like the closest friendships. It will keep.

Husband and wife have no time left to spend together. Marriage took away our one reason for getting married.

The sticky buds of the weeping cherry.

In a certain sense, you do write to seduce the world, but when it happens, you begin to feel like a whore. The disparity between your life and your work turns out to be as great as ever. And the people seduced by your work are usually seduced by all the wrong reasons.

Mothers and daughters -- it's a comedy, but also a tragedy. We fill our daughters with all the chutzpah we wish for ourselves. We want them to be free as we were not. And then we resent them for being so free. We resent them for being what we have made! With granddaughters, it's so much easier. And great-granddaughters.

Once I worshipped Keats for dying young. Now I think it's braver to die old.

In a bad marriage, friends are the invisible glue. If we have enough friends, we may go on for years, intending to leave, talking about leaving - instead of actually getting up and leaving.

These bits speak history's tattered tale. How we cling to scraps, shards, sea glass- because we cannot stay.

I have lived my life according to this principle: If I'm afraid of it, then I must do it.

Did I want to dance? Of course I did and that's not all.

And what is laughter anyway? Changing the angle of vision.

Whatwe fear we also desire, and what we desire we fear.

Sadly, because of the enormous gap between rich and poor, some mothers can afford helpers, but many can't. Those who can would be kinder to refrain from criticizing other women.

It is hard to open yourself to someone who might really love you. I kept trying to drive Ken away and he kept passing the test by staying.

Advice is what you ask for when you already know the answer but wish you didnt.

Often I find that poems predict what I'm going to do later in my own writing, and often I find that poems predict my life. So I think poetry is the most intense expression of feeling that we have.

Poetry is what we turn to in the most emotional moments of our life - when a beloved friend dies, when a baby is born or when we fall in love.

But I am wise if not yet quite old, wanting the poem more than the lover, wanting words more than the sticky dew men secrete in their private places.

Solitude is un-American.

I guess the thing that I'm most proud of is that I kept on writing poetry. I understand that poetry is sort of the source of everything I do. It's the source of my creativity.

I don't cook. My mother didn't cook. My daughter doesn't cook.

Friends love misery, in fact. Sometimes, especially if we are too lucky or too successful or too pretty, our misery is the only thing that endears us to our friends.

The Greeks—who knew everything—knew that immortality without youth was to be feared rather than desired.

I think feminism means what it has always meant - women want to use all their gifts, all their talents and be judged impartially for them. I don't think feminism has ever meant anything else.

I've never been able to control my public image.

You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.

Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.

I have accepted fear as part of life – specifically the fear of change... I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back....

Men have always detested women's gossip because they suspect the truth: their measurements are being taken and compared.

I do a lot of teaching... and so I think I know how hard it is for young writers, how they have to work two jobs to survive.

It is heresy in America to embrace any way of life except as half of a couple. Solitude is un-American.

For what angry God arching backward over the world. his anus spitting fire, the fetid breath of his mouth propelling blood-colored clouds, his navel full of burnt pitch and singed feathers, have we given our eyes, our teeth, our eyeglasses, bales of our our hair, and the magic of our worthless gold?

You are always naked when you start writing; you are always as if you had never written anything before; you are always a beginner. Shakespeare wrote without knowing he would become Shakespeare.

You must be very specific in your wishes or they'll come back to haunt you.

I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.