Marianne Moore

Marianne Moore

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Marianne Craig Moore (November 15, 1887 – February 5, 1972) was an American modernist poet, critic, translator, and editor. Her poetry is noted for formal innovation, precise diction, irony, and wit.
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Poetry

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I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in it after all, a place for the genuine
Hands that can grasp, eyes that can dilate, hair t...
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The Steeple-Jack

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Dürer would have seen a reason for living in a town like this, with eight stranded whales to look at; with the sweet sea air coming into your house on a fine day, from water etched with waves as formal as the scales on a fish
One by one in tw...
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The Past is the Present

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If external action is effeteand rhyme is outmoded,
I shall revert to you,
Habakkuk, as when in a Bible classthe teacher was speaking of unrhymed verse
He said - and I think I repeat his exact words - "Hebrew poetry is prosewith...
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Nevertheless

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you've seen a strawberrythat's had a struggle; yetwas, where the fragments met,a hedgehog or a star-fish for the multitudeof seeds
What better foodthan apple seeds - the fruitwithin the fruit - locked inlike counter-curved twinhazelnuts
...
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He Made This Screen

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not of silver nor of coral, but of weatherbeaten laurel
here, he introduced a sea uniform like tapestry; here, a fig-tree; there, a face; there, a dragon circling space — designating here, a bower; there, a pointed passion-flower
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Roses Only

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You do not seem to realize that beauty is a liability rather thanan asset - that in view of the fact that spirit creates form we are justified in supposing that you must have brains
For you, a symbol of the unit, stiff and sharp,conscious of ...
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Peter

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Strong and slippery, built for the midnight grass-party confronted by four cats, he sleeps his time away — the detached first claw on his foreleg which corresponds to the thumb, retracted to its tip; the small tuft of fronds or katydid legs above ...
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Spensers Island

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has not altered;— a place as kind as it is green, the greenest place I've never seen
Every name is a tune
Denunciations do not affectthe culprit; nor blows, but itis torture to him to not be spoken to
They're natural,— the coat, lik...
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To an Intra-mural Rat

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You make me think of many men Once met, to be forgot again Or merely resurrected In a parenthesis of wit That found them hastening through it Too brisk to be inspected
Composition date is unknown - the above date represents the first publicat...
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To a Steam Roller

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The illustrationis nothing to you without the application
You lack half wit
You crush all the particles downinto close conformity, and then walk back and forth on them
Sparkling chips of rockare crushed down to the level of the pare...
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No Swan So Fine

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"No water so still as thedead fountains of Versailles
" No swan,with swart blind look askanceand gondoliering legs, so fineas the chinz china one with fawn-brown eyes and toothed goldcollar on to show whose bird it was
Lodged i...
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The Paper Nautilus

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For authorities whose hopesare shaped by mercenaries
Writers entrapped by teatime fame and bycommuters' comforts
Not for these the paper nautilus constructs her thin glass shell
Giving her perishablesouvenir of hope, a dull white ou...
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The Fish

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wadethrough black
Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keepsadjusting the ash heaps; opening and shutting itself like aninjured fan
The barnacles which encrust the sideof the wave, cannot hide there for the submerged shafts of thesun,spli...
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Rosemary

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Beauty and Beauty's son and rosemary - Venus and Love, her son, to speak plainly -born of the sea supposedly, at Christmas each, in company, braids a garland of festivity
Not always rosemary - since the flight to Egypt, blooming indifferently...
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His Shield

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The pin-swin or spine-swine (the edgehog miscalled hedgehog) with all his edges out, echidna and echinoderm in distressed-pin-cushion thorn-fur coats, the spiny pig or porcupine, the rhino with horned snout– everything is battle-dressed
Pig-f...
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Marriage

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This institution,perhaps one should say enterpriseout of respect for whichone says one need not change one's mindabout a thing one has believed in,requiring public promisesof one's intentionto fulfill a private obligation:
I wonder what Adam ...
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