Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates Quotes

  • ''The worst cynicism: a belief in luck''
    Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938), U.S. author. Do What You Will, pt. 2, ch. 15 (1970).
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  • ''When you're 50 you start thinking about things you haven't thought about before. I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it's about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial.''
    Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938), U.S. author. Interview in Guardian (London, August 18, 1989).
  • ''It is not her body that he wants but it is only through her body that he can take possession of another human being, so he must labor upon her body, he must enter her body, to make his claim.''
    Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938), U.S. author. "In the Founders' Room," Unholy Loves (1979).
  • ''Boxing has become America's tragic theater.''
    Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938), U.S. author. On Boxing (1987).
  • ''Boxing is about being hit rather more than it is about hitting, just as it is about feeling pain, if not devastating psychological paralysis, more than it is about winning.''
    Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938), U.S. author. On Boxing (1987).
  • ''Our enemy is by tradition our savior, in preventing us from superficiality.''
    Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938), U.S. author. Quoted in "Master Race," Partisan Review 50th Anniversary Edition, ed. William Phillips (1985).
  • ''Nothing is accidental in the universe—this is one of my Laws of Physics—except the entire universe itself, which is Pure Accident, pure divinity.''
    Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938), U.S. author. "The Summing Up: Meredith Dawe," Do What You Will (1970).
  • ''Old women snore violently. They are like bodies into which bizarre animals have crept at night; the animals are vicious, bawdy, noisy. How they snore! There is no shame to their snoring. Old women turn into old men.''
    Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938), U.S. author. "What Is the Connection Between Men and Women?" Mademoiselle (New York, Feb. 1970).

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Best Poem of Joyce Carol Oates


the blood-smear across the knuckles:
painless, inexplicable.
once you discover it pain will begin,
in miniature.
never will you learn what caused it.
you forget it.

the telephone answered on the twelfth ring:
silence without breath, cunning, stark.
and then he hangs up.
and you stand there, alone.
then you forget.

and your father's inexplicable visit:
two days' notice, a ten-hour reckless drive.
rains, 80 mph winds, bad luck all the way,
traffic backed up, a broken windshield wiper,
and no stopping him.

clumsy handshakes.
How ...

Read the full of Occult

An Age of Miracles

He walked to the window
stared down twenty stories to the street
gaseous and dizzy as a swamp
not visible at this height
but there had been a street down there
and he knew

It came with the apartment
and the guarded foyers and halls

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