ton i morri son

chloe  ardelia  anthony  wofford  

nome incerto

18 febbraio 1931 - Lorain Ohio U.S

5 agosto 2019 - new york


pagina   1   -   2   -   3


scrivere è una resa

una resa all'immaginazione che la tv non concede

il libro che scriviamo sprigiona la nostra creatività


if there's a book that you want to read

but it hasn't been written yet

then you must write it
se c'è un libro che vuoi leggere   ma non è stato ancora scritto   allora devi scriverlo



quando ho cominciato a leggere da scrittrice mi sono resa conto di un aspetto ovvio: il soggetto del sogno è il sognatore . la costruzione di un personaggio "africanista" è riflessiva :   una straordinaria meditazione sul proprio io. una vigorosa esplorazione delle paure e delle bramosie che risiedono nella coscienza di chi scrive.

Scrivo ancora prima dell'alba.   Giro le spalle a panorami naturali troppo attraenti, prendo matita e blocchetto e rimango lì, completamente sola      io e la mia scrittura  .
Le parole quando compongo scorrono lentamente.   Ci presto molta attenzione, il ritmo deve essere quello giusto per la lettura.   Rileggo infinite volte ciò che scrivo per far sì che tutto sembri nato senza sforzo .

festivaletteratura 2004 e 2012 - intervista di luciano minerva -  -   -   video


Scrivere è un processo lungo e costante di lettura.    Leggere è un atto di resa, ci si arrende perché si entra completamente in un mondo immaginario .     E’ profondamente stimolante, richiede di usare la propria immaginazione: esattamente la qualità che non è richiesta quando si guarda la televisione, perché lo schermo ti dà già tutto, i colori, i suoni, i dialoghi, l’immagine. In un libro siete voi che lavorate, così si allarga il vostro pensiero, la vostra immaginazione e questo aumenta la vostra capacità di essere persone creative nel mondo .


sometimes ideas arrive through reading contradictory things in history books or newspapers -  sometimes it's a response or reaction to current events .     But that only explains where some of the themes come from .     I can't explain inspiration .   A writer is either compelled to write or not .   And if I waited for inspiration I wouldn't really be a writer  .
. on where she finds inspiration - time magazine -  january 21, 1998


Writing novels is the world to me  .   The outside world can be OK or not OK,   beautiful or not beautiful,   but I am in control here  .  When I'm writing, nobody's telling me what to do  .    The expectations are high because they are mine and that is a kind of freedom I don't have anywhere else  .   Nowhere  .
. Morrison still scratches out the first drafts of her novels with a pencil on yellow legal pads.

dan white - - fb/tm


I recognize failure - which is important -  some people don’t - and fix it, because it is data, it is information, knowledge of what does not work  .
NEA Arts Magazine about failure


the nation magazine


It's not profound regret.  It's just a wiping up of tiny little messes that you didn't recognize as mess when they were going on  .

The writing is -  I'm free from pain. It's the place where I live it's where I have control -   it's where nobody tells me what to do -  it's where my imagination is fecund and I am really at my best .    Nothing matters more in the world or in my body or anywhere when I'm writing  .


did you write in the middle of the night?
early in the morning, that’s when I’m really smart, now I’m getting little dumb but early in the morning I am on it. I get up before the sun, I do my work until about noon  .
nadifa mohamed -


You have to be a little tough, and rely on yourself  .     And tell people No  .




I am trying to write less that means more, that says more .   For me it is extremely important .   For the clarification, not only of the past,  but of who we are as human beings  .


All my books were questions for me says Morrison .    I wanted to know what would happen if ... ?   What do friendship and love mean under those circumstances  ? How far would you go ?   I don't want to write about normality,   but when there's a cataclysm and conflict in belief, a complexity of emotion and behaviour .  


The question was posed, as though it were a desirable thing to do, to  write about white people or to write ' not write about race ' that's what that means to me. And that it was more difficult to do,   a higher level of  artistic endeavor,   or it was more important   and that I was still writing about marginal people ... as though our lives have no meaning and no  depth without the white gaze .    And I've spent my entire writing life trying to make sure that the white gaze was not the dominant one in any of my books .
tm in conversation with charlie rose  1998  -  


I’ve never been interested or impressed by evil itself But I have been confounded by how attractive it is to others and stunned by the attention given to its every whisper  its every shout.

Evil has a blockbuster audience  while goodness lurks backstage.
toni morrison gave the 2012 harvard divinity school ingersoll lecture and focused on altruism and the literary imagination


The Work You Do, the Person You Are - tm 2017

oberlin college campus




I TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY AS A SCHOLAR AND A WRITER because the Society can track what is going on with literature-with its reception, with the ways in which it is read, with the way in which it is understood and its impact on other cultures everywhere. The society can foster an interest in and be the clearing house for a whole new world of literature, which includes many, many people.
Toni Morrison - Chartering Ceremony of the Toni Morrison Society

April 24, 1995



The Toni Morrison Society was founded in 1993 at the annual meeting of the American Literature Association in Baltimore. The group was organized by Carolyn Denard, than an associate professor of English at Georgia State University. Professor Denard who is the chair of the society’s board, stated, “We think Oberlin is a perfect home for the Toni Morrison Society. Its distinctive history in the lives of African Americans and women, its commitment to the humanities, its renowned Conservatory of Music, and its place in Toni Morrison’s life and works intersect on so many levels with the society’s mission and programs. We hope that the society’s presence on Oberlin’s campus will complement the really fine work going on here and that it will allow us to expand our reach within the region and internationally. It’s a great move for us, and we are pleased and excited to be joining the Oberlin community.”
In addition to encouraging the scholarly study of Morrison’s works, the society has established the “Bench by the Road Project,” which places memorial markers in important locations in African American history in the United States and abroad. During a visit to Oberlin in 2009, Morrison joined society members in dedicating a bench to the memory of the enslaved men, women, and children who followed the Underground Railroad to Oberlin .   -  facebook/tonimorrison



I think long and carefully about what my novels ought to do

They should clarify the roles that have become obscured

they ought to identify those things in the past that are useful

and those things that are not

and they ought to give nourishment


VIDEO  -  an evening with TM  -  a conversation with TM - cornell university  - 2013    -   art and social justice -  2016   - life TM - 2015   -   beautiful human urgency - 2019  -  tm tribute - 2019




The Pieces I Am     -   premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival  1 -  2  -  3

novelist - photographer - documentarian Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
In the docu,  she reflects on her lifelong deconstruction of the master narrative.   

Woven together with a rich collection of art, history, literature and personality, the film includes discussions about her many critically acclaimed works, including celebrated novels The Bluest Eye, Sula and Song of Solomon.    

She also talks about her role as an editor of iconic African-American literature and her time teaching at Princeton University.
dino-ray ramos -
clip 201  -    versione teatrale da giugno 2019

It's impossible to actually imagine the American literary landscape without a Toni Morrison - 2019

Toni Morrison's work shows us through pain all the myriad ways we can come to love
oprah winfrey - 2019

So - painful - so deep, for an 11 year-old girl to believe that if she only had some characteristics of the white world, she would be okay .


Navigating a white, male world wasn’t threatening .  It wasn’t even interesting .  I was more interesting than they were, and I wasn’t afraid to show it .


I didn’t want to speak for black people .   I wanted to speak to and to be among .   It’s us . - the pieces i am  - fb/tm

The Bench b y the Road Project
is a memorial history and community outreach initiative of the Toni Morrison Society.  The Project was launched on February 18, 2006, on the occasion of Toni Morrison's 75th Birthday .
There is no place you or I can go, to think about or not think about to summon the presences of or recollect the absences of slaves ... There is no suitable memorial or plaque or wreath or wall or park or skyscraper lobby. There's no 300-foot tower   there's no small bench by the road. There is not even a tree scored an initial that I can visit or you can visit in Charleston or Savannah or New York or Providence or better still on the banks of the Mississippi.   And because such a place doesn't exist ... the book had to .
the world 1989 - - fb/tm 2016
This is the first ' Bench by the Road ' -  It was placed in memory of the thousands of slaves who were brought through Sullivan’s Island – the entry point for nearly half of all captive Africans shipped to North America. The bench is located on the grounds of the Fort Moultrie Visitor Center.
fb/tm - 2014
This will be the first 'Bench by the Road' in the New York metro area.      Morrison said this bench, so near to her home, was meaningful to her.      'I was in places like Paris and Martinique to visit the benches, but I have to say this particular bench placement to commemorate the life of Cynthia Hesdra, in my neighborhood, is really profound' . - 2015
the bench  installed in front of the historic Cozad Bates
  - 2016
The Toni Morrison Society’s Bench by the Road Project is delighted to announce the upcoming placement of our
25th Bench and Historic Plaque, commemorating the distinguished history of Howard University. -  - 2019
le strade dell'Ile de la Cité a Parigi sono state ribattezzate con nomi di donne celebri . tra queste Toni Morrison .
ansa - 2015


Toni Morrison Among Brooklyn Museum's First Awards Honorees
The prizes will recognize 15 women who were first in their fields - 2012


2012 Medal of Freedom Honorees

President Barack Obama named thirteen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
Toni Morrison
One of our nation’s most celebrated novelists, Morrison is renowned for works such as Song of Solomon, Jazz, and Beloved, for which she won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988.

When she became the first African American woman to win a Nobel Prize in 1993, Morrison’s citation captured her as an author “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.”

She created the Princeton Atelier at Princeton University to convene artists and students. Morrison continues to write today. - 2012

- Right around my first year of college – I remember ‘Song of Solomon’, by Toni Morrison, just moved me tremendously. The power of language and how it can peel back truths, bring things to the surface.    - BARACK OBAMA
fb/nobelprize - 23.4.2018

In a statement, Obama described Morrison as an author “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.” - 2012
La medaglia presidenziale, che sara' conferita alla Casa Bianca, e' la piu' importante onoreficenza civile degli Stati Uniti, ed e' destinata ogni anno a personalita' che hanno dato un contributo speciale per la pace nel mondo, per la sicurezza e gli interessi nazionali degli Stati Uniti, o anche per l'impegno nella sfera pubblica o privata.   -

Toni Morrison Day
... Miller and Howse want Morrison's birthday, Feb. 18, to be designated as "Toni Morrison Day" in Ohio.      Their bill is now en route to the House Rules and Reference Committee and should get a committee assignment soon ...
In the Lorain area, Toni Morrison has long been a source of inspiration for our youth   - said Rep. Miller -    ... I am hopeful that the designation of Toni Morrison Day will remind all Ohioans to learn from the body of work that inspired so many during her lifetime.
sam allard -  fb/thetonimorrisonsociety -  27.8.2019
Starting Feb. 18, the birthday of one of America's great writers, will be known as Toni Morrison Day in Lorain. - fb/tm - 5.9.2019
Je pense donc j'écris
rencontre exceptionnelle  à new york  -   intervista 1988
vi racconto la lingua che fornisce riparo ai despoti
Quando la mistificazione della vita quotidiana è completa, non c’è niente di nuovo o di contemporaneo nelle notizie. Pur essendo aggiornate al minuto, diventano arcaiche, moribonde e irreali come una penna d’oca, si lasciano sfuggire il futuro per custodire la privazione .     -tm - 2020


There is no civilisation that did not begin with art

Whether it was drawing a line in the sand

painting a cave or dancing


In an interview, Toni Morrison identifies Nadine Gordimer 1923-2014, Lillian Hellman, and Eudora Welty as among her favorite writers: "Perhaps it is because they are all women who have lived in segregated areas of this country or in an area where there is apartheid. They are fearless. Nadine Gordimer and Eudora Welty write about black people in a way that few white men have ever been able to write. It's not patronizing, not ROMANticizing--it's the way they should be written about." In another interview, Morrison states "Nadine Gordimer writes about black people with such astounding sensibilities and sensitivity--not patronizing, not ROMANtic, just real. And Eudora Welty does the same thing. Lillian Hellman has done it. Now, we might characterize these women as geniuses of a certain sort, but if they can write about it, it means it is possible.

They didn't say, 'Oh my God, I can't write about black people' -  it didn't stop them'  ...

-   Tolstoy doesn’t write books for girls in Lorain, Ohio. He just writes books, and he assumes all these things .

-   African American writers, they all seem to be needing to be persuading or confronting white men. 

-   I didn’t have to glorify or demonize.  I could just write about complicated people.
Richardson Auditorium - Princeton - prof Claudia Brodsky   -    2014

It’s important, therefore, to know who the real enemy is, and to know the function, the very serious function of racism, which is distraction.    It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and so you spend 20 years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says that you have no art so you dredge that up.  Somebody says that you have no kingdoms and so you dredge that up .
lecture at portland state university’s oregon public speakers collection -  30.5.1975  


only American - only African-Americans were not immigrants in this rush to find a heaven. They had left a home. So they're seeking for another home, while other people are doing the same thing, except the other people were leaving a home that they didn't want to be in any longer, or couldn't be in any longer. Native Americans were being moved around in their home. African-Americans were looking for a second one and hopefully one that would be simply up to them, their own people, their own habits, their own culture, and to contain themselves in that. So it makes the motive for paradise a little bit different.

There is no such things as race - said Morrison. Racism is a construct -  a social construct. And it has benefits. Money can be made off of it. People who don’t like themselves can feel better because of it. It can describe certain kinds of behavior that are wrong or misleading. So  - racism -  has a social function. But race can only be defined as a human being.
yolanda sangweni -



You know, my sister Lois was just here taking care of me,” she said. “I had a cataract removed in one eye. Suddenly, the world was so bright. And I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered, Who is that woman? When did she get to be that age? My doctor said, ‘You have been looking at yourself through the lens that they shoot Elizabeth Taylor through.’ I couldn’t stop wondering how I got to be this age.
I read books. I teach books. I write books. I think about books. It’s one job.
hilton als - 2003   -   fb/tm





In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate



«è una questione di razza, è ancora una questione di razza».
Mette in guardia dalla comunicazione televisiva, dalla gara all'ultimo voto che dice è per voi, è per il pubblico del mondo divertito da percentuali luminose e cartine colorate, in molti casi ignaro o disinteressato allo scontro mediatico in un incontro determinante nella vita degli Stati Uniti. L'incontro tra potere soldi. E razza.
Il suo paese ancora la preoccupa.
«In queste prossime elezioni  più che mai la questione della razza è utilizzata come terreno di falsa divulgazione per l'opposizione Repubblicana che ha organizzato una campagna elettorale contro il Presidente Obama e la "sua gente"  facendo leva  ancora  su un diffuso e bianco sentimento nostalgico»

veronica costanza ward - il sole24ore   -  TM takes white supremacy to task

reviving stories of African-Americans brutalized in the 20th century - Princeton University
‘goodness’ more powerful than violence, hate ...
Morrison said that brutal violence against African-Americans was so common­place throughout much of the 20th century that it was almost casual how it came to shape their lives in that era. “Each is a story of humiliation of degradation and very often of blood” said Morrison. “To revive these stories, to put them on display, is almost as important as the original justice could have been.”
Little black girls were never taken seriously in books, they were always jokes” Morrison said. “But I wanted to read a book where they were taken seriously, so I had to write it.”
Reflecting on Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy of non­violence Morrison suggested that the Civil Rights era was about much more than the simple hope for a brighter future. - facebook/morrison

As a college student in Washington, in the 1950s, Toni Morrison said she was confused by segregation.
She thought people were kidding when they told her the rules: she couldn't sit in certain places, drink from certain fountains or try on hats in the department store, she said.
It was sort of odd," said Morrison, 83, and a Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel laureate.
santa cruz's rio theatr
e - Peggy Downes Baskin Ethics Lecture
kara guzman -


Your imagination is more powerful than the rage

It really is ... The rage is just 'whoosh' but then there's this other thing

I'm calling it knowledge here but it really is imagination.

anche nell'america di obama l'eguaglianza è un miraggio

... per i neri la razza conta ancora e serve ad affossarci

No longer are we pioneers ... No, we are multitudes

And society is clearly the better for our peaceful invasion
the women's list




Toni Morrison receives an doctor of literature honorary degree

during Princeton University's 266th commencement.
"In prose that is elegant, spare, deeply learned, and redolent with the cadences of colloquial speech, she reanimates and reframes the past through stories of the aspirations and losses, desires and despair of those who have been written out of history," David Offensend, the university orator and a Princeton trustee, said of Morrison as her degree was awarded.

kelly heyboer -


But Morrison is nothing if not canny

Brandishing the fact of slavery and playing on America's collective shame, Morrison has cowed her would-be critics. We know that horrors as bad or worse than any she describes actually happened. (Morrison's inspiration for Sethe was an escaped slave named Margaret Garner, who is the subject of Steven Weisburger's new book, "Modern Medea.") But this is history as bludgeon, perfectly captured by the novel's dedication: "Sixty Million and more (the figure denoting the Africans who died on the middle passage). As Stanley Crouch pointed out in his withering essay on the book, 60 is 10 times six. In Morrison, we are dealing with a writer who measures suffering by numbers.



When slavery has torn apart one's heritage, when the past is more real than the present, when the rage of a dead baby can literally rock a house, then the traditional novel is no longer an adequate instrument. And so Pulitzer Prize-winner Beloved is written in bits and images, smashed like a mirror on the floor and left for the reader to put together. In a novel that is hypnotic, beautiful, and elusive, Toni Morrison portrays the lives of Sethe, an escaped slave and mother, and those around her. There is Sixo, who "stopped speaking English because there was no future in it and .... Baby Suggs, who makes her living with her heart because slavery "had busted her legs, back, head, eyes, hands, kidneys, womb and tongue;" and Paul D, a man with a rusted metal box for a heart and a presence that allows women to cry. At the center is Sethe, whose story makes us think and think again about what we mean when we say we love our children or freedom. The stories circle, swim dreamily to the surface, and are suddenly clear and horrifying. Because of the extraordinary, experimental style as well as the intensity of the subject matter, what we learn from them touches at a level deeper than understanding.
Review by Erica Bauermeister:  From 500 Great Books by Women.



Il mio lavoro mi costringe a riflettere come scrittrice afro americana

in un mondo determinato dalle categorie di genere sesso e razza
giochi al buio 



I’m writing for black people … I don’t have to apologise



Nella mia vita ho assistito a cambiamenti importanti

ma le questioni razziali non sono una cosa superata

Nonostante negli Stati Uniti ci sia un presidente nero come Barack Obama

festivaletteratura mantova 2012 - fb/tm   -  -  interview with jana wendt - 2017   -   book festival 2011 -  senior day 2013




I am a writer and my faith in the world of art is intense but not irrational nor naïve - because art takes us and makes us take a journey beyond price beyond cost into bearing witness to the world as it is and as it should be.
Art invites us to know beauty and to solicit it summon it from even the most tragic of circumstances.

2013 Vanderbilt University graduation




The Work You Do -  the Person You Are
The pleasure of being necessary to my parents was profound ...
. In any case, he put down his cup of coffee and said, 'Listen. You don’t live there. You live here. With your people. Go to work. Get your money. And come on home' .
That was what he said. This was what I heard:

1. Whatever the work is, do it well - not for the boss but for yourself
2. You make the job -  it doesn’t make you
3. Your real life is with us, your family
4. You are not the work you do -  you are the person you are
tm -

I knew how to scrub floors on my knees and how to wash clothes in our zinc tub, but I had never seen a Hoover vacuum cleaner or an iron that wasn’t heated by fire.

fb/nobelprize - 2017




La nuova narrativa ?  Narcisista. Gli scrittori parlano solo di sé.  basta.
...   Sui
social media oggi non corre assolutamente nulla di culturalmente e socialmente rilevante, ma solo fiumane oceaniche di gossip personali, blurb stupidi, slang effimeri. In altre parole: è un universo fermo dove non succede mai nulla. Da che mondo è mondo la scrittura richiede solitudine e concentrazione. Per quanto mi riguarda scrivo ancora tutti i miei libri a matita su un bloc notes giallo e solo alla fine li trascrivo al computer
alessandra farkas -



Toni Morrison cancels memoir contract due to 'not interesting' life
she was asked if she intended to write an autobiography about her childhood in the area, and admitted that she had gone so far as to sign a contract for her next book to be a memoir.
"But then I cancelled it," she said. "My publisher asked me to do it, but there's a point at which your life is not interesting, at least to me. I'd rather write fiction."
"People say to write about what you know," she told students in Oberlin. "I'm here to tell you, no one wants to read that, cos you don't know anything. So write about something you don't know. And don't be scared, ever."

alison flood -



Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela  

Mi sembrò subito un uomo singolare e diverso da tutti gli altri.   Non mi era mai capitato di trovarmi di fronte a un tipo tanto saggio, erudito e insieme forte, duro e coraggioso. Emanava un vigore fisico e morale quasi soprannaturale.
Il modello di Mandela e quello di Martin Luther King hanno influenzato in maniera profonda la politica americana e l’elezione di Obama.

Parlo del simbolo.  altruisti che hanno rischiato tutto sfidando le gerarchie razziali e usando il potere non per se stessi ma per cambiare il mondo. Sono loro i semi che hanno fatto germogliare il fiore della nuova America.
alessandra farkas -

Language is the gold he mines to counter the hopelessness of meaningful communication between prisoners and guards. An example of this is the exchange, recounted in If This Is a Man, between himself and a guard when he breaks off an icicle to soothe his thirst. The guard snatches it from his hand. When Levi asks why, the guard answers: “There is no why here.” While the oppressors rely on sarcasm laced with cruelty, the prisoners employ looks and glances to gain clarity and meaning. Although photographs of troughs of corpses stun viewers, it is language that seals and reclaims the singularity of human existence.
tm -


Martin Luther King

didn’t have any guns, he didn’t blow up any­thing, he didn’t lynch any­body. He trained boys and girls to just sit there and accept insults. That is a thing that is bigger than hope. It is sur­vival and it is resis­tance and it is triumph.
TM in a talk at northwestern university in 2013   -   fb/tm


sarah: make america great again.
Make America Great Again means ‘Make America White Again.’ So now you have this other explosion of people who want to feel above something, better than something. And who is that? That’s me.
mario: what will your next book be about ?
Oh, it’s so good! It’s called Justice, although it’s not about justice. There’s a family in there, and their slave owner. His name was Goodmaster, and he made all the slaves call themselves Goodmaster. They hated it because he was horrible, but they kept the name because they could keep in touch with each other generations later. There’s a guy in there who has three children, two girls and a boy. Their names are Courage, Freedom and Justice, but that’s not good when they go to school. So instead of Courage, they write Carrie. And Freedom, they say Frida. And the boy, whose name is Justice, they call Juice. Names matter. The naming is vital because we didn’t have any names. They just gave us stupid names. I tried to remember my father’s friends. They had nicknames. Cool Breeze, and one was called Jim the Devil. All kinds of names. Some are lovely, some are horrible. Whatever your weakness is, that’s what they call you. So you can get that out of the way.
interview - - mario keiser - sarah ladipo manyka - fb/tm -  2017




definitions belong to the definers - not the defined

The visionary language of the doomed reaches heights of linguistic ardor

with which language of the blessed and saved cannot compete
fb/tmsociety - 2020




18 febbraio - auguri toni !

è bello dire poco sottintendendo molto 


pagina   1   -   2   -   3

altri autori                 home