Literary Birthday – 30 September – Ta-Nehisi Coates


Happy Birthday, Ta-Nehisi Coates, born 30 September 1975

Nine Quotes

  1. The best part of writing is not the communication of knowledge to other people, but the acquisition and synthesizing of knowledge for oneself.
  2. I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free.
  3. But all our phrasing—race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy—serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body.
  4. Racism is not merely a simplistic hatred. It is, more often, broad sympathy toward some and broader scepticism toward others…
  5. So you must wake up every morning knowing that no promise is unbreakable, least of all the promise of waking up at all. This is not despair. These are the preferences of the universe itself: verbs over nouns, actions over states, struggle over hope.
  6. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future.
  7. You can live in the world of myth and be taken seriously.
  8. I was learning the craft of poetry, which really was an intensive version of what my mother had taught me all those years ago—the craft of writing as the art of thinking.
  9. Poetry aims for an economy of truth—loose and useless words must be discarded, and I found that these loose and useless words were not separate from loose and useless thoughts.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is an American author, journalist, comic book writer, and educator. He is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, where he writes about cultural, social and political issues. He is the author of The Beautiful Struggle, Between the World and Me, and We Were Eight Years in PowerBetween The World And Me won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction. He is the writer of the Black Panther series for Marvel Comics.

Source for image: The Atlantic

 by Amanda Patterson