Quotations by McGinley, Phyllis


Sticks and stones are hard on bones
Aimed with angry art.
Words can sting like anything
But silence breaks the heart.

Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) American author, poet
“A Choice of Weapons”
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Added on 11-Mar-20 | Last updated 11-Mar-20
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Who could deny that privacy is a jewel? I has always been the mark of privilege, the distinguishing feature of a truly urbane culture. Out of the cave, the tribal teepee, the pueblo, the community fortress, man emerged to build himself a house of his own with a shelter in it for himself and his diversions. Every age has seen it so. The poor might have to huddle together in cities for need’s sake, and the frontiersman cling to his neighbors for the sake of protection. But in each civilization, as it advanced, those who could afford it chose the luxury of a withdrawing-place.

Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) American author, poet
“A Lost Privilege,” The Province of the Heart (1959)
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Added on 26-Feb-20 | Last updated 26-Feb-20
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Gossip isn’t scandal and it’s not merely malicious. It’s chatter about the human race by lovers of the same. Gossip is the tool of the poet, the shop-talk of the scientist, and the consolation of the housewife, wit, tycoon and intellectual. It begins in the nursery and ends when speech is past.

Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) American author, poet
“A New Year and No Resolutions,” Woman’s Home Companion (Jan 1957)
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Added on 29-Jan-20 | Last updated 29-Jan-20
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Oh, high is the price of parenthood,
And daughters may cost you double.
You dare not forget, as you thought you could,
That youth is a plague and a trouble.

Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) American author, poet
“Homework for Annabelle,” New Yorker (15 Mar 1952)
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Reprinted in Love Letters (1954). Full poem.
Added on 12-Feb-20 | Last updated 12-Feb-20
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When blithe to argument I come,
Though armed with facts, and merry,
May Providence protect me from
The fool as adversary,
Whose mind to him a kingdom is
Where reason lacks dominion,
Who calls conviction prejudice
And prejudice opinion.

Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) American author, poet
“Moody Reflections,” The New Yorker (13 Feb 1954)
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Added on 5-Feb-20 | Last updated 5-Feb-20
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A successful party is a creative act, and creation is always painful.

Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) American author, poet
“Party Line,” Ladies’ Home Journal (1962)
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Later reprinted in Sixpence in Her Shoe (1964).
Added on 9-Jan-20 | Last updated 9-Jan-20
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There are books one needs maturity to enjoy, just as there are books an adult can come on too late to savor.

Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) American author, poet
“The Consolations of Illiteracy,” Saturday Review (1 Aug 1953)
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Reprinted in The Province of the Heart (1959).
Added on 19-Feb-20 | Last updated 19-Feb-20
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The mass of men live lives of quiet exasperation.

Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) American author, poet
(Attributed)

A take-off from Thoreau.
Added on 4-Mar-20 | Last updated 4-Mar-20
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The human animal needs a freedom seldom mentioned, freedom from intrusion. He needs a little privacy quite as much as he wants understanding or vitamins or exercise or praise.

Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) American author, poet
The Province of the Heart (1959)
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Added on 17-Jan-20 | Last updated 17-Jan-20
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