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Marianne Moore

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Today in 1887, the witty American Modernist poet, Marianne Moore was born. She won a Pulitzer, had one of her books published with an intro written by T. S. Eliot (!), and threw the first pitch for the Yankees 1968 season. She thought poetry was all about creating “imaginary gardens with real toads in them”.

I first discovered her in college, when I stumbled across a poem of hers, whose first lines immediately captured me. The poem was titled, Voracities and Verities Sometimes are Interacting, which in itself is quite remarkable. The opening words were these:

I don’t like diamonds;
the emerald’s “grass-lamp glow” is better;
and unobtrusiveness is dazzling,
upon occasion.


Green is my favourite colour, I’m not a huge fan of diamonds, and I love the art of understatement. How in the world did she pack all of that into one sentence, with a three-word description of emeralds that I will never be able to forget?

Thank you, Marianne.

have you read anything by Marianne Moore?
do you prefer diamonds or emeralds? 

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bet mercer

Bet Mercer is a poet-photographer who writes at Gimme Some Reads and Everyday Poetry. She loves quotes, reading her favourite books over again, great conversation, laughter, trees, films, and travelling the world. Follow along with Bet on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, Etsy and Google+.

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5 comments on “Marianne Moore”

  1. I haven’t read Marianne Moore, and now I’m going to have to! Thank you! And, yep, emeralds. All the way.

    • honestly, i’ve only read a few of her poems. but after looking her up last night, i totally want to read more. she sounds fascinating. and there are photos of her that make me wish she was my next door neighbour or my grandma, she looks so delightfully mischievous.

  2. Beautiful! I can’t wait to read her now! And I’m a May baby, so emeralds are my birthstone. As a kid, I had a ring with the tiniest, tinyest little bitty fleck of an emerald in there, and I thought I was the luckiest girl ever. :)

  3. I love the quote in your photo. Now I’m going to have to read her too!