Adrienne Rich

Rookie (16 May 1929 – 27 March 2012 / Baltimore, Maryland)

Adrienne Rich Quotes

  • ''The mother's battle for her child—with sickness, with poverty, with war, with all the forces of exploitation and callousness that cheapen human life—needs to become a common human battle, waged in love and in the passion for survival.''
    Adrienne Rich (20th century), U.S. author. Of Women Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution (1976).
    73 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • ''... I am an instrument in the shape/of a woman trying to translate pulsations/into images for the relief of the body/and the reconstruction of the mind.''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet and feminist. "Planetarium," lines 42-45 (1968). Thinking of Caroline Herschel (1750-1848), an astronomer.
  • ''A thinking woman sleeps with monsters.''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet. Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law (l. 26). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''The glass has been falling all the afternoon''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet. Storm Warnings (l. 1). . . Norton Introduction to Poetry, The. J. Paul Hunter, ed. (3d ed., 1986) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''The will to change begins in the body not in the mind
    My politics is in my body, accruing and expanding with every act of resistance and each of my failures.''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet and feminist. "Tear Gas," lines 38-39 (1969).
  • ''... passion for survival is the great theme of women's poetry.''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and feminist. The Work of a Common Woman, by Judy Grahn, introductory essay (1978).
  • ''The necessity of poetry has to be stated over and over, but only to those who have reason to fear its power, or those who still believe that language is "only words" and that an old language is good enough for our descriptions of the world we are trying to transform.''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and feminist. The Work of a Common Woman, by Judy Grahn, preface: "Power and Danger," (1978).
  • ''Language is as real, as tangible, in our lives as streets, pipelines, telephone switchboards, microwaves, radioactivity, cloning laboratories, nuclear power stations.''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and feminist. The Work of a Common Woman, by Judy Grahn, introductory essay (1978).
  • ''Poetry is above all a concentration of the power of language, which is the power of our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe.''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and feminist. The Work of a Common Woman, by Judy Grahn, introductory essay (1978).
  • ''... the Wall became a magnet for citizens of every generation, class, race, and relationship to the war perhaps because it is the only great public monument that allows the anesthetized holes in the heart to fill with a truly national grief.''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and lesbian feminist. What Is Found There, ch. 14 (1993). Written in 1991 about the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.: a black granite wall designed by Maya Lin and inscribed with the names of Americans who died in that war.

Read more quotations »
Best Poem of Adrienne Rich

Aunt Jennifer's Tigers

Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen,
Bright topaz denizens of a world of green.
They do not fear the men beneath the tree;
They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.

Aunt Jennifer's finger fluttering through her wool
Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand.

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie
Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.
The tigers in the panel that she made
Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.

Read the full of Aunt Jennifer's Tigers

In Those Years

In those years, people will say, we lost track
of the meaning of we, of you
we found ourselves
reduced to I
and the whole thing became
silly, ironic, terrible:
we were trying to live a personal life
and, yes, that was the only life
we could bear witness to

[Hata Bildir]