"Art hurts. Art urges voyages - and it is easier to stay at home."
"Be careful what you swallow. Chew!"
"I don't want to say that these poems have to be simple, but I want to clarify my language. I want these poems to be free. I want them to be direct without sacrificing the kinds of music, the picturemaking I've always been interested in."
"I felt that I had to write. Even if I had never been published, I knew that I would go on writing, enjoying it and experiencing the challenge."
"I think there are things for all of us to do as long as we're here and we're healthy."
"I who have gone the gamut from an almost angry rejection of my dark skin by some of my brainwashed brothers and sisters to a surprised queenhood in the new Black sunam qualified to enter at least the kindergarten of new consciousness now... I have hopes for myself."
"I've always thought of myself as a reporter."
"It helped me to have somebody tell me what he thought was wrong with my work, and then bounce the analysis back and forth."
"Look at what's happening in this world. Every day there's something exciting or disturbing to write about. With all that's going on, how could I stop?"
"The '40s and '50s were years of high poetincense; the language-flowers were thickly sweet. Those flowers whined and begged white folks to pick them, to find them lovable. Then the '60s: Independent fire!"
"Very early in life I became fascinated with the wonders language can achieve. And I began playing with words."
"We are each other's magnitude and bond."
"What I'm fighting for now in my work... for an expression relevant to all manner of blacks, poems I could take into a tavern, into the street, into the halls of a housing project."
"When you love a man, he becomes more than a body. His physical limbs expand, and his outline recedes, vanishes. He is rich and sweet and right. He is part of the world, the atmosphere, the blue sky and the blue water."