toni morrison

chloe  ardelia  anthony  wofford


pagina   1   -   2   -   3


You can do some rather extraordinary things if that's what you really believe
the new york times -  1987
- fb/tm


None of us is alone
Each of us is dependent on others
Some of us depend on others for life itself

vanderbilt university - 2013


Ho fatto un viaggio e ho pagato il biglietto

Ma lascia che ti dica una cosa :  mi è costato troppo

 I got a tree on my back and a haint in my house and nothing in between but the daughter I am holding in my arms.

No more running - from nothing. I will never run from another thing on this earth.

I took one journey and I paid for the ticket, but let me tell you something, Paul D Garner:

it cost too much! Do you hear me? It cost too much.
beloved - cap 1

non ricordo la mia vita prima dei libri





Morrison also completed plays, poems, essays and short stories, one of which is coming out as a book .    

 '  Recitatif  '   written by Morrison in the early 1980 and rarely seen over the following decades, follows the lives of two women from childhood to their contrasting fortunes as adults .
hillel italie - - 2022


Recitatif keeps Twyla's and Roberta's races ambiguous throughout the story .    We know that one is white and one is black, but which is which ?     And who is right about the race of the woman the girls tormented at the orphanage  ? - 2022






TUTTI I ROMANZI di Toni Morrison hanno la caratteristica comune delle prospettive multiple e della frammentazione voluta del racconto

In tal modo ogni ROMANZo diventa un insieme di storie concepite come parti integranti della tradizione culturale nera, nel tentativo di creare un genere vero e proprio, la letteratura nera. Primo elemento distintivo di questa novità è il "target", i fruitori dei suoi ROMANZI ; la scrittrice non scrive per tutti, e tanto meno per i bianchi, qui sta la grande novità, la sua ribellione ideologica e culturale: ed infatti ad una prima lettura del testo noi bianchi abbiamo avuto diverse difficoltà: la prima sensazione è quella di non comprendere a fondo, di restare troppo in superficie, come se non si riuscisse a penetrare il significato vero delle parole e delle frasi. Contemporaneamente, a tratti, si prova una sensazione di disagio, quasi di fastidio per il racconto delle sofferenze e del dolore. E' evidente, Toni Morrison scrive per i neri, a loro si rivolge in un linguaggio che solo la comunità nera può capire. Il bianco che desidera avvicinarsi al SUO ROMANZo deve compiere uno sforzo notevole per raggiungere l'essenza vera dello scritto, il suo messaggio profondo: deve riuscire ad immedesimarsi e, in particolare nel "The Bluest Eye", deve calarsi nell' "io" narrante di una bambina nera che racconta la storia di un'altra bambina nera che non accetta di essere nera. Già in questo contesto l'immedesimazione è molto difficile; inoltre le situazioni che la scrittrice propone sono spesso piene di violenza, crudeltà e follia, storie di incesti e di stupri. A leggere, noi bianchi, facciamo una fatica enorme, come è possibile immergersi in un universo di pulsioni, paure, decadenze, emarginazione senza riconoscerlo come un'aberrazione creata in qualche modo proprio da noi?
Anche il linguaggio usato dalla scrittrice non ci aiuta: la narrazione progredisce utilizzando diversi registri linguistici, frutto di una
continua sperimentazione verso una sempre maggiore identità nera della scrittura; e questa è un'ulteriore novità. La prosa è sempre pregna di antiche storie della tradizione orale africana e non solo, anche degli antichi motivi musicali neri, come gli spiritual, i gospel e poi il jazz e il blues. Toni Morrison scrive tutte le sue storie nel linguaggio dei neri che risente di tutti i generi artistici tradizionali.
I caratteri dell'oralità africana sono sempre presenti: la storia viene quasi sospesa fuori dal tempo e si arricchisce di fantasmi, sogni, elementi surreali e tra tutti il drammatico fantasma della schiavitù che ricompare a tratti nel racconto sotto forma di razzismo, intolleranza, violenza.

amy bonagura   -



the writer who has it all: fortune, fame, and talent. She has been dubbed the Great American Storyteller by Time Magazine, and The New York Times has named one of her books the best American novel of the last quarter of the century.   Even this intellectually ossified Europe acknowledged her brilliant talent when awarding her the Nobel Prize for Literature.    

LIBRI    -   -   -  Toni Morrison Digital Book Signing

the beginnings of the bluest eyes  -


     A bestseller is a book that non-book buyers buy    


You love her like I love Sula. I just don’t like her .   That’s the difference


The presence of evil was something to be first recognized

then dealt with, survived, outwitted, triumphed over


It was in that summer, the summer of their twelfth year

the summer of the beautiful black boys, that they became skittish

frightened and bold - all at the same time


Like any artist with no art form, she became dangerous





To be given dominion over another is a hard thing

to wrest dominion over another is a wrong thing

to give dominion of yourself to another is a wicked thing


She learned the intricacy of loneliness

the horror of color, the roar of soundlessness and the menace of familiar objects lying still

a mercy -  2008






THE SOURCE OF SELF-REGARD   -  longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction  - fb/tm - 2019

Arguably the most celebrated and revered writer of our time now gives us a new nonfiction collection--a rich gathering of her essays, speeches, and meditations on society, culture, and art, spanning four decades.

The Source of Self-Regard is brimming with all the elegance of mind and style, the literary prowess and moral compass that are Toni Morrison’s inimitable hallmark. It is divided into three parts: the first is introduced by a powerful prayer for the dead of 9/11; the second by a searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., and the last by a heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin. In the writings and speeches included here, Morrison takes on contested social issues: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, “black matter(s),” and human rights. She looks at enduring matters of culture: the role of the artist in society, the literary imagination, the Afro-American presence in American literature, and in her Nobel lecture, the power of language itself. And here too is piercing commentary on her own work (including The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Beloved, and Paradise) and that of others, among them, painter and collagist Romare Bearden, author Toni Cade Bambara, and theater director Peter Sellars. In all, The Source of Self-Regard is a luminous and essential addition to Toni Morrison’s oeuvre.
amazon  -  -  fb/tm - 2018

A writer’s life and work are not a gift to mankind; they are a necessity .
Toni Morrison writes in the prologue of her latest book, The Source of Self-Regard :  Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations ... In Morrison’s hands, self-regard becomes the requirement for a life well lived; to remain curious about oneself and one’s place in the world. And at 88, she reminds us that the work of reflection is neverending.
maiysha kai - - 2019
Clearly we do not deserve Morrison, and clearly we need her badly... In this collection of nonfiction written over the past four decades, the revered (and sometimes controversial) author reinforces her status as a piercing and visionary analyst of history, society, literature, language, and, always, race ... the book explodes into pure brilliance... 'The Source of Self-Regard' is the definitive statement that Morrison, who has thought as much as anyone about the ways countries, cultures, and people fail and hurt each other and themselves, still believes that we can be better.
the boston globe - fb/tm - 2019
Memory  - the deliberate act of remembering -  is a form of willed creation .   It is not an effort to find out the way it really was ...
Language can never ‘pin down’ slavery, genocide, war .    Nor should it yearn for the arrogance to be able to do so .    Its force, its felicity is in its reach toward the ineffable  .
fb/tm - 2019
Don’t let anybody, anybody convince you this is the way the world is and therefore must be .   It must be the way it ought to be .
fb/tm - 12.6.2020









America’s foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging. What is race and why does it matter? What motivates the human tendency to construct Others? Why does the presence of Others make us so afraid?
Drawing on her Norton Lectures, Toni Morrison takes up these and other vital questions bearing on identity in The Origin of Others. In her search for answers, the novelist considers her own memories as well as history, politics, and especially literature. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, and Camara Laye are among the authors she examines. Readers of Morrison’s fiction will welcome her discussions of some of her most celebrated books―Beloved, Paradise, and A Mercy.
If we learn racism by example, then literature plays an important part in the history of race in America, both negatively and positively. Morrison writes about nineteenth-century literary efforts to romance slavery, contrasting them with the scientific racism of Samuel Cartwright and the banal diaries of the plantation overseer and slaveholder Thomas Thistlewood. She looks at configurations of blackness, notions of racial purity, and the ways in which literature employs skin color to reveal character or drive narrative. Expanding the scope of her concern, she also addresses globalization and the mass movement of peoples in this century. National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates provides a foreword to Morrison’s most personal work of nonfiction to date.
amazon - 2017

Toni Morrison racconta di come, nel Ventesimo secolo, i neri non più schiavi iniziano a decidere tra loro quale gradazione di nero sia più nera di altre.
Il "nero mezzanotte", così viene definito il colore della gradazione più scura, è garanzia del vero nero e dà la certezza che un nero così non potrà mai essere accettato nella società dei bianchi. In Paradiso Toni Morrison racconta di questa perversione come garanzia di identità e alleanza: non potrà mai un "nero mezzanotte" pensare di piacere ai bianchi perché non ha la pelle cacao, cioè mischiata col bianco.   Lo scopo di tutto questo, dice Toni Morrison, è semplice: far morire l'idea di un'umanità comune.     Ed è esattamente quello che sta avvenendo in queste ore, in questi giorni, settimane e mesi.

prefazione - roberto saviano - - 2018

Che cosa è la razza, e perché le diamo tanta importanza? Che cosa spinge gli esseri umani a costruire «un altro» da cui differenziarsi? Perché il colore della pelle ha avuto nella storia un peso così negativo? Perché la presenza dell'altro da noi ci fa così paura? Toni Morrison, in un testo che si impone come una vera e propria orazione civile, va in cerca delle risposte a queste domande parlando di sé, della sua opera, di letteratura, storia e politica, partendo dal XIX secolo e arrivando fino ai giorni nostri, e alle grandi migrazioni che caratterizzano il mondo globalizzato. "L'origine degli altri" è un libro di straordinaria attualità, nel quale i temi che siamo abituati a vedere banalizzati e avviliti nel dibattito pubblico vengono affrontati dalla scrittrice americana. Prefazione di Ta-Nehisi Coates e introduzione all'edizione italiana di Roberto Saviano.
feltrinelli - 2018





GOD HELP THE CHILD - prima i bambini
Breve, asciutto, selvaggio. Un romanzo feroce e provocatorio che aggiunge una nuova sfaccettatura all’impareggiabile opera di Toni Morrison. Un appello al senso di responsabilità, verso i nostri figli in primis. E un manifesto di speranza nella resilienza dei giovani, nonostante le colpe dei padri.
Quello che fai ai bambini conta. E loro non lo dimenticano più.
Protagonista del nuovo romanzo di Toni Morrison – il primo ambientato in epoca contemporanea – è una giovane donna che si è scelta il nome di Bride, di bellezza straordinaria, anzitutto per la pelle di un nero lucente e assoluto, che l’ha resa unica e le ha dato successo. Famosa e richiestissima, Bride pare aver cancellato così l’insicurezza e la fragilità dell’infanzia, segnata da una madre fredda che non l’ha mai accettata proprio per quella pelle d’ebano tanto, troppo, più scura della sua. E le ha negato anche la più semplice delle forme d’amore. Ora, però, il passato torna per metterla alla prova, e per Bride arriva il momento di fare i conti davvero con la bambina che è stata, senza menzogne, né le proprie né quelle degli altri. Quelle di Booker, l’amante pieno di rabbia che è stato testimone della peggiore delle violenze. Quelle di Sweetness, la madre distante che l’ha respinta anche nel momento più difficile. Quelle della stessa Bride, disposta a tutto per una briciola d’affetto. I mali dell’infanzia non si dimenticano mai, è vero, ma si può scegliere di non restarne prigionieri e di essere liberi, per guardare al futuro con serenità.
ibs - 2015

This is as brave as anything Morrison has ever written, Mehta said: “It is a compact, fierce work of contemporary fiction, one that unfolds in the aftermath of an allegation made by a student about a teacher.
The novel begins:      It’s not my fault.     So you can’t blame me.     I didn’t do it and have no idea how it happened.
coming april 30, 2015 - fb/tm


- I'm scared. Something bad is happening to me.    I feel like I'm melting away.    I can't explain it to you but I do know when it started.     It began after he said, "you not the woman I want.
- Neither am I.


You don't have to love me but you damn well have to respect me .


But stars can explode, disappear. Besides, what we see when we look at them may no longer be there. Some could have died thousands of years ago and we’re just now getting their light. Old information looking like news.


Taught me a lesson I should have known all along.   What you do to children matters.   And they might never forget.

fb/tm - 2016


il modo in cui il trauma dell’infanzia forma e deforma la vita dell’adulto
storia di una donna che chiama se stessa Bride - Sposa e “la cui stupenda pelle nero-blu è solo uno dei motivi della sua bellezza, coraggio, sicurezza e del suo successo; ma che porta la madre dalla pelle chiara a negarle anche la minima manifestazione di amore fino a quando lei non dice una bugia che rovina la vita di una donna innocente e le cui ripercussioni non accennano a diminuire”. - 2014

In Morrison's short, emotionally-wrenching novel, her first since 2012's Home, a mother learns about the damage adults do to children and the choices children make as they grow to suppress, express, or overcome their shame. The story begins with the birth of Lula Ann Bridewell, a midnight black baby whose mother cannot stand to touch her. Grown-up Lula Ann transforms herself into Bride, a stiletto-wearing, Jaguar-driving California executive with dark skin proudly accentuated by stylish white clothing. Amid preparations for the launch of her signature cosmetics line, Bride offers a gift-bag of cash and cosmetics to parolee Sofia Huxley, the kindergarten teacher Bride accused of sexual abuse 15 years before, earning Bride maternal approval and Sofia her prison sentence. Sofia's angry rejection of Bride's present, coinciding with the departure of Bride's lover, inspires such self-doubt that Bride fears regressing back into Lula Ann. A car accident lands her in a culvert, where a little girl keeping dark secrets of her own comes to the rescue. Nobel laureate Morrison explores characteristic themes of people held captive by inner struggles; the delusion of racism; violence and redemption. Her literary craftsmanship endures with sparse language, precise imagery, and even humor.

This haunting novel displays a profound understanding of American culture and an unwavering sense of justice and forgiveness.

apr - - fb/tm


Toni Morrison's new novel challenges the assumption that writers lose their mojo once they reach a great age. Morrison, now in her ninth decade, did not start publishing novels until she was nearly 40 but proves with 'God Help the Child' that her writing is still as fresh, adventurous and vigorous as ever.
the guardian -  fb/tm - 2015


Succinct but beautiful, with a powerful message that will reach readers of all demographics, because frankly, we all have things in our pasts we'd like to change.    The power is not in time travel - the power is in realizing we must move on and push forward to succeed.

sheknows . fb/tm - 2015


It’s awful. The present is not good,” Morrison says, dropping her voice. “Politically it’s horrible. I was writing down all the countries where there were wars and I just gave up. All the hawks are screaming.
before I leave, I want to put to her the two questions Booker’s family must answer at the dinner table in God Help the Child. These are: “What do you know that is true?” and “What is a problem you have?”
Her voice grows quiet and pensive. I can only answer the second one. The problem I have is age and the first one . . . I don’t know. I don’t know what’s true - Morrison is almost at a whisper now but I am determined to find out.
meadhbh mchugh - - 2 lug 2015


Toni Morrison wants everyone to know that she hates the title of her newest novel   God Help the Child .   

The original title, Morrison said  at Congregation Beth Elohim in New York

was    The Wrath of Children    and in her opinion it was wonderful.
fb/tm - 2016


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

the guardian - 2016








. I exist in between, now: between being killed and being un-dead; between life on Earth and life beyond it; between all time, which has no beginning and no end, and all space which is both a seedling as well as the sun it yearns for.

The story of Desdemona from Shakespeare's Othello is re-imagined by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison, Malian singer and songwriter Rokia Traoré, and acclaimed stage director Peter Sellars. Morrison's response to Sellars’ 2009 production of Othello is an intimate dialogue of words and music between Desdemona and her African nurse Barbary. Morrison gives voice and depth to the female characters, letting them speak and sing in the fullness of their hearts. Desdemona is an extraordinary narrative of words, music and song about Shakespeare’s doomed heroine, who speaks from the grave about the traumas of race, class, gender, war — and the transformative power of love. Toni Morrison transports one of the most iconic, central, and disturbing treatments of race in Western culture into the new realities and potential outcomes facing a rising generation of the 21st century. - - 2012

Desdemona concerto teatrale

itinerante attraverso i continenti e le culture con grande successo.
nasce dalla collaborazione tra peter sellars - Toni Morrison e Rokia Traoré - cantante musica afro . a napoli nel 2013.


I DIDN'T WANT TO COME BACK -   .PDF   -   intervista 2015






Whose house is this?
Whose night keeps out the light
In here ?
Say   who owns this house ?
It’s not mine.
I dreamed another   sweeter   brighter
With a view of lakes crossed in painted boats
Of fields wide as arms open for me.
This house is strange.
Its shadows lie.
Say   tell me  why does its lock fit my key  ?

Morrison's latest novel HOME released in paperback   -  2013  - Toni Morrison Digital Book Signing








THE SONG OF SOLOMON - National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction  in 1978

he was wrong . little by little he remembered fewer and fewer of the details, until finally he had to imagine them, even fabricate them, guess what they must have been.

This is a novel in which mystery unfolds on mystery, revelation on revelation — in which our vision of what we have seen turns, changes, and takes shape again, transformed. It is a novel expressing with passion, tenderness, and a magnificence of language the mysterious primal essence of family bond a nd conflict, the feelings and experience of all people wanting, and striving to be alive.
Song of Solomon is based on an African-American folktale about slaves who can fly back to Africa when they choose. Morrison fictionalizes this folktale through the character of Solomon, the great-grandfather of the story's protagonist, Milkman Dead. Through his discovery of the story of Solomon and his ability to fly, Milkman learns to take pride in his ancestry and to value his connections to family and community. Song of Solomon won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 1977. It is now widely taught, and appeared again on best-seller lists when it was chosen by Oprah Winfrey for inclusion in her book club. Beloved by readers for more than twenty years, it is still considered one of Morrison's best books.

For now she knew what Shalimar knew: If you surrendered to the air you could ride it.

maryland - A Frederick County school board member is objecting to making a Toni Morrison novel available in high schools. School board member April Miller tells The Frederick News-Post that she doesn't want her 14-year-old daughter reading "Song of Solomon"    .  The book contains some sexual and violent content. Miller says that while she doesn't want to ban books, she thinks the school board should be more involved in evaluating novels and textbooks that are used in schools. The county education board was supposed to approve the use of the novel on Wednesday, but Miller requested that the item be pulled from the agenda.  - fb/tm  -  2012

Highland Park ISD suspends seven books after parents protest their content
Song of Solomon  - This coming-of-age novel is about a young black man who grows up in Michigan. It has profanity, sexual imagery and a story line about an incestuous relationship.
melissa repko - - 2014


You think because he doesn't love you that you are worthless. You think that because he doesn't want you anymore that he is right -- that his judgement and opinion of you are correct. If he throws you out, then you are garbage. You think he belongs to you because you want to belong to him. Don't. It's a bad word, 'belong.' Especially when you put it with somebody you love. Love shouldn't be like that. Did you ever see the way the clouds love a mountain? They circle all around it; sometimes you can't even see the mountain for the clouds. But you know what? You go up top and what do you see? His head. The clouds never cover the head. His head pokes through, beacuse the clouds let him; they don't wrap him up. They let him keep his head up high, free, with nothing to hide him or bind him. You can't own a human being. You can't lose what you don't own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don't, do you? And neither does he. You're turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can't value you more than you value yourself.


Milkman closed his eyes and opened them. The street was even more crowded with people, all going in the direction he was coming from. All walking hurriedly and bumping against him. After a while he realized that nobody was walking on the other side of the street.


What difference do it make if the thing you scared of is real or not?


At 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday the 18th of February, 1931, I will take off from Mercy and fly away on my own wings. Please forgive me. I loved you all.      (signed) Robert Smith


He didn’t mean it. It happened before he was through. She’d stepped away from him to pick flowers, returned, and at the sound of her footsteps behind him, he’d turned around before he was through. It was becoming a habit  -  this concentration on things behind him. Almost as though there were no future to be had.



O Solomon don’t leave me here
Cotton balls to choke me
O Solomon don’t leave me here
Buckra’s arms to yoke me
Solomon done fly, Solomon done gone
Solomon cut across the sky, Solomon gone home.


The singing woman ... had wrapped herself up in an old quilt instead of a winter coat. Her head cocked to one side, her eyes fixed on Mr. Robert Smith, she sang in a powerful contralto.
song of solomon 1977

.  redesigned book covers  -   Designer Dimitri Sakelaropolus   -   The Toni Morrison Society - 2013


fb/morrison - 2013


If you surrendered to the air you could ride it

tm - howard university 1953


You can't lose what you don't own


Gimme hate Lord - he whimpered

I'll take hate any day   But don't give me love

I can't take no more love Lord

I can't carry it




It gives me a sense of perspective.

I think Toni Morrison’s writings  -  particularly Song of Solomon  - 

is a book I think of when I imagine people going through hardship.

That it’s not just pain, but there’s joy and glory and mystery.
Barack Obama - fb/tm - 17.1.2017






BELOVED - Amatissima  -  1987  -   For when you need to think critically about American history ...

Love is or it ain't  -  Thin love ain't love at all   -   You are your best thing  -  sei tu la tua cosa migliore .  sethe .   sei tu  .

Il tuo amore è troppo grande,   disse ... ?  Troppo grande  ? disse lei ...   L'amore o c'è o non c'è .   L'amore piccolo non è amore per niente .


Sifting daylight dissolves the memory, turns it into dust motes floating in light.


I am Beloved and she is mine. I see her take flowers away from leaves she puts them in a round basket the leaves are not for her she fills the basket she opens the grass I would help her but the clouds are in the way how can I say things that are pictures I am not separate from her there is no place where I stop her face is my own and I want to be there in the place where her face is and to be looking at it too a hot thing.


Il 124 era carico di rancore.    Carico del veleno d’una bambina.   Le donne lo sapevano, e così anche i bambini. Per anni ognuno aveva cercato a modo suo di sopportare il rancore di quella casa ma, nel 1873, le uniche vittime rimaste erano Sethe e sua figlia Denver.  La nonna, Baby Suggs, era morta e i due ragazzi, Howard e Buglar, erano scappati via a tredici anni, non appena, al solo guardarsi allo specchio, questo si era frantumato (il segnale per Buglar), non appena erano apparse sulla torta le due minuscole impronte di una manina (il segnale per Howard). Nessuno dei due aveva aspettato di vedere altro :   l'ennesima pignatta ricolma di ceci fumanti rovesciati sul pavimento, in un mucchietto, le gallette sbriciolate sparpagliate a terra,  lungo una linea parallela all'uscio di casa.     Né, tantomeno, avevano atteso uno dei soliti periodi di calma:    le settimane, i mesi persino, in cui niente veniva a turbare la quiete. Erano svaniti entrambi all’improvviso, nel momento stesso in cui la casa si era resa colpevole di ciò di cui ognuno di loro riteneva l’unico insulto da non potersi sopportare o vedere una seconda volta .
Se n'erano andati nel giro di due mesi, nel cuore dell'inverno, abbandonando la nonna, Baby Suggs, la madre, Sethe, e la loro sorellina, Denver, tutte sole nella casa bianca e grigia di Bluestone Road.     Questa, allora, non recava un numero civico, poiché la città di Cincinnati non arrivava ancora fin laggiù.
In verità, erano solo settant'anni che l'Ohio si era proclamato stato, allorché i due fratelli, prima l'uno e poi l'altro, dopo aver infilato l'ovatta della trapunta nel cappello a mo' di imbottitura e aver arraffato in fretta e furia le scarpe, si erano allontanati furtivamente da quella casa che nutriva un vivo rancore nei loro confronti.


In this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don't love your eyes; they'd just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face 'cause they don't love that either. You got to love it, you! And no, they ain't in love with your mouth. Yonder, out there, they will see it broken and break it again. What you say out of it they will not heed. What you scream from it they do not hear. What you put into it to nourish your body they will snatch away and give you leavins instead. No, they don't love your mouth. You got to love it. This is flesh I'm talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved. Feet that need to rest and to dance; backs that need support; shoulders that need arms, strong arms I'm telling you. And O my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up. and all your inside parts that they'd just as soon slop for hogs, you got to love them. The dark, dark liver--love it, love it and the beat and beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet. More than lungs that have yet to draw free air. More than your life-holding womb and your life-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize.

Qui - diceva - in questo posto qui, noi siamo carne: carne che piange e che ride, carne che balla a piedi nudi sull’erba. Amatela. Amatela tanto. Laggiù non amano la vostra carne. La disprezzano. Non amano i vostri occhi – ve li possono anche strappare come niente. Né amano di più la pelle della vostra schiena. Oh, gente mia, laggiù ve la frustano. E non amano le vostre mani, oh, gente mia. Quelle le usano soltanto, le legano, le stringono, le tagliano via o le lasciano vuote. Amate le vostre mani! Amatele! Alzatele e baciatele. Usatele per toccare gli altri, battetele, usatele per carezzarvi la faccia, perché non amano nemmeno quella. Siete voi che dovete amarla, voi! E no, non sono innamorati della vostra bocca. Laggiù ve la spaccheranno di sicuro e ve la spaccheranno di nuovo. Non daranno retta a quello che dirà. Non ascolteranno quello che griderà. Quello che ci metterete dentro per nutrire il vostro corpo, ve lo ruberanno e al suo posto vi daranno gli avanzi. No, non amano la vostra bocca. Dovete amarla voi. E’ della carne che vi parlo, qui. Carne che ha bisogno di essere amata. Piedi che hanno bisogno di riposare e di ballare, schiene che hanno bisogno di sostegni, spalle che hanno bisogno di braccia, di braccia forti, ve lo dico io. E statemi a sentire, oh, gente mia, statemi a sentire. Laggiù non amano il vostro collo, bello dritto e senza cappio. Perciò amate il vostro collo, metteteci una mano sopra, trattatelo bene, carezzatelo e tenetelo dritto. E tutte le parti dentro, che loro butterebbero subito ai porci, dovete amare anche quelle. Il fegato scuro, scuro amatelo, amatelo, e anche il cuore che batte, batte sempre, amate anche quello. Più degli occhi o dei piedi. Più dei polmoni che devono già respirare l’aria libera. Più del vostro ventre che tiene la vita e delle vostre parti personali che danno la vita, ascoltatemi, amate il vostro cuore. Perché questo è il vostro premio.


I'll tend to her as no mother ever tended a child, a daughter. Nobody will ever get my milk no more except my own children. I never had to give it to nobody else--and the one time I did it was took from me--they held me down and took it. Milk that belonged to my baby... I know what it is to be without the milk that belongs to you; to have to fight and holler for it, and to have so little left.


No matter what all your teeth and wet fingers anticipated, there was no accounting for the way that simple joy could shake you .


There is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up, holding, holding on, this motion, unlike a ship's, smooths and contains the rocker. It's an inside kind--wrapped tight like skin. Then there is the loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive. On its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one's own feet going seem to come from a far-off place.


What for? What does a sixty-odd-year-old slavewoman who walks like a three-legged dog need freedom for? And when she stepped foot on free ground she could not believe that Halle knew what she didn’t; that Halle, who had never drawn one free breath, knew that there was nothing like it in this world. It scared her.

It was not a story to pass on   -   Non era una storia da tramandare
Così la dimenticarono .   Come si fa con un sogno spiacevole durante un sonno penoso .    Ogni tanto, però, quando si svegliano si sente cessare il fruscio di una gonna e le nocche che passano su una guancia nel sonno sembrano appartenere a chi dorme .   A volte la fotografia di un amico intimo o di un parente - osservata troppo a lungo -  cambia e vi si vede muovere qualcosa di più familiare del volto caro che c'è lì. Possono toccarlo, se vogliono, però non lo fanno, perché sanno che se lo facessero le cose non sarebbero più le stesse .
Questa non è una storia da tramandare .


And in all those escapes he could not help being astonished by the beauty of this land that was not his. He hid in its breast, fingered its earth for food, clung to its banks to lap water and tried not to love it. On nights when the sky was personal, weak with the weight of its own stars, he made himself not love it. Its graveyards and its low-lying rivers. Or just a house – solitary under a chinaberry tree; maybe a mule tethered and the light hitting its hide just so. Anything could stir him and he tried hard not to love it.


Saying more might push them both to a place they couldn’t get back from. He would keep the rest where it belonged: in that tobacco tin buried in his chest where a red heart used to be. Its lid rusted shut.


If you go there - you who was never there - if you go there and stand in the place where it was, it will happen again; it will be there, waiting for you ... even though it’s all over - over and done with - it’s going to always be there waiting for you.


Let me tell you something. A man ain’t a goddamn ax. Chopping, hacking, busting every goddamn minute of the day. Things get to him. Things he can’t chop down because they’re inside.


And if she thought anything, it was No. No. Nono. Nonono. Simple. She just flew. Collected every bit of life she had made, all the parts of her that were precious and fine and beautiful, and carried, pushed, dragged them through the veil, out, away, over there where no one could hurt them. Over there. Outside this place, where they would be safe.


Everybody knew what she was called, but nobody anywhere knew her name. Disremembered and unaccounted for, she cannot be lost because no one is looking for her, and even if they were, how can they call her if they don't know her name? Although she has claim, she is not claimed.


There're no clouds here.
If they put an iron circle around your neck I will bite it away. Beloved.    I will make you a round basket.     You're back. You're back. Will we smile at me ?   Can't you see I'm smiling?
I love your face.


Risky, thought Paul D, very risky. For a used-to-be-slave woman to love anything that much was dangerous, especially if it was her children she had settled on to love. The best thing, he knew, was to love just a little bit, so when they broke its back, or shoved it in a croaker sack, well, maybe you'd have a little love left over for the next one.


Freedom is choosing your responsibility. It's not having no responsibilities; it's choosing the ones you want.


He knew exactly what she meant: to get to a place where you could love anything you chose  -  not to need permission for desire  -  well now, that was freedom .

Sapeva esattamente quel che Sethe voleva dire : Arrivare in un posto dove uno poteva amare tutto quello che voleva – senza dover chiedere il permesso di desiderarla – be’, ecco, quella sì che era libertà .

TM’s definition of freedom  -  fb/nobelprize
beloved 1987

IL ROMANZo piu' importante di Toni Morrison, edito nel 1987 e che le apri' la strada al Nobel del 1993. Si intitola 'Amore' quello pubblicato dopo e in cui il titolo, ancora una volta, sottolinea una mancanza, un desiderio

quello appunto di sentimenti veri, positivi, in un mondo in in cui sembrano mancare del tutto. Il primo analizzava i rapporti tra padroni e schiavi, questo quelli tra uomini e donne nere, spesso non meno violenti e mercificati, prima della presa di coscienza e la rivoluzione degli anni '60.    Quel che racconta oggi questa scrittrice di colore, sempre intensa e lucida, e' una societa' che la segregazione razziale aveva reso piu' solidale e eguale, mettendo assieme e sullo stesso piano uomini di levatura e classi diverse, ma anche piu' chiuso e legato a costumi omogenei e difficili da modificare, in cui le donne erano oggetti, viste e usate come mezzo di scambio e di piacere da padri e mariti padroni. Una societa' colta in un momento di passaggio, tra gli anni quaranta e le prime timide manifestazioni per i diritti civili anni sessanta, tra linciaggi e presa di coscienza civile e personale del 'black is beautiful'.   


White people believed that whatever the manners, under every dark skin was a jungle. Swift unnavigable waters, swinging screaming baboons, sleeping snakes, red gums ready for their sweet white blood. In a way ... they were right ... But it wasn’t the jungle blacks brought with them to this place ... It was the jungle whitefolks planted in them. And it grew. It spread ... until it invaded the whites who had made it ... Made them bloody, silly, worse than even they wanted to be, so scared were they of the jungle they had made. The screaming baboon lived under their own white skin; the red gums were their own.

I bianchi credevano che

qualunque fosse la loro educazione, sotto ogni pelle scura si nascondesse una giungla. Acque vorticose non navigabili, babbuini che si dondolavano gridando, serpenti addormentati, gengive rosse pronte a succhiare il loro sangue dolce di bianchi. In un certo senso, pensò, avevano ragione. Più la gente di colore si sforzava di convincerli di quanto fossero gentili, intelligenti e affettuosi, umani, più si usavano a pretesto per persuadere i bianchi di qualcosa che i negri credevano fosse fuori discussione, e più la giungla dentro si faceva fitta e intricata. Ma non era la giungla che i negri avevano portato con sé in quel posto dall’altro posto (vivibile). Era la giungla che i bianchi avevano piantato loro dentro. E cresceva. E si allargava, si allargava prima, durante e dopo la vita, fino a coinvolgere i bianchi stessi che l’avevano creata. Li rendeva crudeli, stupidi, più di quanto non volessero esserlo, tanto erano spaventati da quella giungla di loro creazione. I babbuini urlanti vivevano sotto la loro pelle bianca, le gengive rosse erano le loro.   E si allargava, si allargava prima, durante e dopo la vita.

She is a friend of MY mind .    She gather me, man .   The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order .      It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind .


A Paul F piaceva arrostito, a Paul A piaceva bollito e adesso Paul D non riusciva più a ricordarsi come avevano poi cucinato quelle pannocchie di grano, non ancora abbastanza mature da poter essere mangiate. Si ricordava di come aveva separato la peluria per arrivare in cima, con la punta dell'unghia appena sotto la superficie, in modo da non scalfire neppure un chicco . Sethe si ricordò di quel suono lacerante che si sentiva quando la guaina stretta della pannocchia veniva giù e che le aveva sempre fatto pensare a una cosa dolorosa . Non appena la prima striscia del cartoccio era giù, il resto seguiva docilmente e la pannocchia gli cedeva le sue fila timide, finalmente scoperte. Com'erano liberi quei fiori di seta. Come scorreva subito libero quel profumo imprigionato . Qualsiasi cosa i denti e le dita umide potessero anticipare, non c'era alcuna spiegazione per il modo in cui quella semplice gioia riusciva a scuotere una persona .

beloved is not a horror story but the ghost within is probably more terrifying than any other on this list. The novel’s first two lines tell you all you need to know :  124 was spiteful.   Full of a baby's venom.    The women in the house knew it and so did the children.    For years each put up with the spite in his own way, but by 1873 Sethe and her daughter Denver were its only victims.


Bit by bit, at 124 and in the Clearing, along with others, she had claimed herself.   Freeing yourself was one thing;  claiming ownership of that freed self was another.


Toni Morrison revealed that she’d only recently read her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Beloved, for the first time. When Colbert asked her what she thought of it, Morrison replied, It’s really good!
I never read them after I finish them -  she said of her books. She also reiterated her stance not wanting to be labeled an African-American writer, but an American writer.

yolanda sangweni -  - 2014


Beloved you are my sister  -  you are my daughter - you are my face  -  you are me


Sei mia sorella
Sei mia figlia
Sei la mia faccia, sei me
Ti ho trovata di nuovo, sei tornata da me
Sei la mia Beloved, la mia amatissima
Sei mia
Sei mia
Sei mia


Something that is loved is never lost


My first-born

All I can remember of her is how she loved the burned bottom of bread

Can you beat that ?  Eight children and that's all I remember


The best thing she was, was her children


Me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody.    We need some kind of tomorrow


Definitions belong to the definers    not the defined


Freeing yourself was one thing

claiming ownership of that freed self was another


Sweet crazy conversations full of half sentences

daydreams and misunderstandings

more thrilling than understanding could ever be


Un uomo non è altro che un uomo - diceva Baby Suggs

E un figlio allora ?

Be' ..  un figlio sì che è qualcuno

A man ain't nothing but a man  .   But a son ?   Well, now, that's somebody


Nel mondo la sfortuna non esiste   -    Esiste solo l’uomo bianco







versione illustrata - 2015

. A magnificent achievement … an american masterpiece - A. S. BYATT

. There really is nothing so marvellous as a beautiful book.

  is so surreal to be holding the product of so many sketches and paintings.

  The  images in context look great and the cover is awesome - JOE MORSE/illustrator






IL DONO - the gift
Non avere paura. Il mio racconto non può farti del male malgrado quello che ho fatto e ti prometto di rimanere sdraiata buona buona al buio — magari a piangere o a vedere ancora il sangue ogni tanto — ma non distenderò più braccia e gambe per alzarmi scoprendo i denti. Mi spiego. Puoi pensare al mio racconto come a una confessione, se vuoi, ma piena di curiosità familiari solo nei sogni o quando il profilo di un cane gioca nel vapore dell'acqua che bolle. O quando una bambola di cartocci di mais su una mensola poco dopo è per terra nell'angolo di una stanza e la cattiveria che l'ha fatta finire lì è evidente.
Proprio allora la bambina emerse da dietro le spalle della madre. Ai piedi portava un paio di scarpe da donna troppo grandi per lei. Forse fu quel senso di sfrenata libertà, quella ritrovata sventatezza unita alla vista delle gambette che spuntavano come due rami di rovo dalle scarpe rotte e sfondate, che lo spinse a ridere. Una risata sonora, a pieni polmoni, per il ridicolo, l’irritazione senza speranza di quella visita.




It was a fine cry

loud and long

but it had no bottom and it had no top

 just circles and circles of sorrow
the last line of aula  -  1991



Love is never any better than the lover
Wicked people love wickedly
violent people love violently
weak people love weakly
stupid people love stupidly
but the love of a free man is never safe

There is no gift for the beloved. The lover alone possesses his gift of love.

The loved one is shorn, neutralized, frozen in the glare of the lover’s inward eye.

the bluest eyes


The Bluest Eye  1969  L'OCCHIO PIU BLU  -  anche e-book

Ho scritto un libro del genere perché è il libro che volevo leggere

-TM - intervista guardian 2015

published in 1970, is the first novel written by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature.
It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove -- a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others -- who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment.
ibs - libreriauniversitaria
removal of Toni Morrison novel  ?
One week after facing an official GOP reprimand for failing to oppose Common Core, Sen. Bill Holtzclaw is calling upon state educators to ban a novel used in conjunction with the national standards.
Holtzclaw objects to "The Bluest Eye," Toni Morrison's first novel, being included on high school reading lists. He said was unaware whether the book was in high school libraries, but that he would also support removal from school libraries.
"The book is just completely objectionable, from language to the content," said Holtzclaw, who points out the novel includes depictions of incest and child molestation.
The American Library Association lists "The Bluest Eye" as the 15th most commonly banned or challenged book in the United States from 2000 through 2009. Morrison, who released the novel in 1970, later won the Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize for literature. - FB/TM - 2013

The book was published in the early seventies and it has been banned so much and so many places. That I am told I am number 14 on the list of 100 banned books ... I resent it.     I mean if it’s Texas or North Carolina as it has been in all sorts of states.   But to be a girl from Ohio writing about Ohio   having been born in Lorain Ohio.    And actually relating as an Ohio person, to have the Ohio, what- Board of Education ?  Is ironic at the least .

Morrison a Lorain native told the TV station. -  FB/TM - 2013

The comments I made reflected my concern about the graphic passages contained in a specific text . I do not personally believe these passages are suitable for school age children. Nothing more and nothing less should be inferred. In particular, no disparagement was meant towards the celebrated career of Ohio author Toni Morrison.
Ohio Board of Education President Debe Terhar
Unfortunately, there is a long and troubling tradition of attacking African American literature on the grounds that it is ‘too controversial’ for young people,” Link said in a statement. “These attempts to ignore or gloss over complex issues do a disservice to our students, who cannot lead our future unless they fully understand the past and present.
ACLU-Ohio Executive Director Christine Link - 2013

take action
Far from pornography or propaganda, The Bluest Eye is an unflinching look at American racism and sexual violence, penned by an Ohio native who has won the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  - 2013

Ohio Board of Education President Debe Terhar called the novel “pornographic”     The ACLU of Ohio said Terhar was wrong ...

The Bluest Eye will stay on the Common Core text list included on the Ohio Department of Education website.
We really can’t change that,” Ohio Department of Education spokesperson John Charlton told StateImpact Ohio this week.
molly bloom - - 2013

Since its publication in 1970, The Bluest Eye has been frequently challenged or banned from classrooms. The most recent challenge occurred in 2013, when the novel appeared on a Common Core Standards reading list for 11th grade students in Ohio. The president of the board of education deemed the book inappropriate for high school students because it uses explicit language and depicts rape and incest.
laila lalami - - 2014



Sedeva per ore guardandosi allo specchio, cercando di cogliere il segreto della bruttezza, quella bruttezza per cui a scuola la ignoravano o la disprezzavano, sia gli insegnanti sia i compagni   .


L'amore non è mai migliore di chi ama   .    I malvagi amano con malvagità, i violenti con violenza, i deboli con debolezza e gli stupidi in modo stupido, ma l'amore di un uomo libero non è mai sicuro .     Non c'è dono per la persona amata .     Solo chi ama possiede il suo dono d'amore .     Chi è amato viene reciso, neutralizzato, congelato nello sguardo dell'occhio interiore di chi ama .



Ogni notte, immancabilmente, pregava per avere gli occhi azzurri. Con fervore, pregava da un anno. Sebbene un po' scoraggiata, non era senza speranza. Perché accadesse qualcosa di tanto meraviglioso ci voleva molto, molto tempo .
Così assolutamente e inesorabilmente convinta che solo un miracolo l'avrebbe confortata, non poteva conoscere la propria bellezza. Vedeva solo quel che c'era da vedere: gli occhi degli altri .
l'occhio più azzurro - fb/ilpiaceredellalettura


It never occurred to either of us that the earth itself might have been unyielding. We had dropped our seeds in our own little plot of black dirt just as Pecola's father had dropped his seeds in his own plot of black dirt. Our innocence and faith were no more productive than his lust or despair.


We had defended ourselves since memory against everything and everybody, considered all speech a code to be broken by us, and all gestures subject to careful analysis  -  we had become headstrong, devious, and arrogant.    Nobody paid us any attention so we paid very good attention to ourselves.   Our limitations were not known to us - not then.


You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. Then you realized that it came from conviction, their conviction. It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they had each accepted it without question. The master had said, ‘You are ugly people.’ They had looked about themselves and saw nothing to contradict the statement; saw, in fact, support for it leaning at them from every billboard, every movie, every glance. ‘Yes,’ they had said. ‘You are right.’ And they took the ugliness in their hands, threw it as a mantle over them, and went about the world with it.


I even think now that the land of the entire country was hostile to marigolds that year. The soil is bad for certain kinds of flowers. Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruit it will not bear, and when the land kills of its own volition, we acquiesce and say that the victim had no right to live. We were wrong, of course, but it doesn’t matter. It’s too late. At least on the edge of my town.


But to find out the truth about how dreams die, one should never take the word of the dreamer.


the birdlike gestures are worn away to a mere picking and plucking her way between the tire rims and the sunflowers, between Coke bottles and milkweed, among all the waste and beauty of the world—which is what she herself was. All of our waste which we dumped on her and which she absorbed. And all of our beauty, which was hers first and which she gave to us.



Anger is better

There is a sense of being in anger - A reality and presence

An awareness of worth -  It is a lovely surging


There is really nothing more to say  -  except why.    But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how


Lonely was much better than alone


Beauty was not simply something to behold

it was something one could do



banned and challenged YA books
. The Bluest Eye -  Toni Morrison
. The Kite Runner -  Khaled Hosseini
. The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros

. 1984 - george orwell - 2015









At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough

You don't need to photograph, paint or even remember it

It is enough

No record of it needs to be kept and you don't need someone to share it with or tell it to

When that happens - that letting go - you let go because you can
tar baby - 1981







2010 - aranzabal salburua_vitoria-gasteiz_basque country  -  spagna   

artista   zarateman    -    graffito cancellato nel 2013-2014


Being able to laugh got me through

fb/tm - 20.7.2019





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