Adrienne Rich Quotes
''We see daily that our lives are terrible and little, without continuity, buyable and salable at any moment, mere blips on a screen, that this is the way we live now. Memory marketed as nostalgia; terror reduced to mere suspense, to melodrama.''Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet and essayist. What is Found There, ch. 3 (1993).
''A revolutionary poem will not tell you who or when to kill, what and when to burn, or even how to theorize. It reminds you ... where and when and how you are living and might liveit is a wick of desire.''Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and lesbian feminist. What Is Found There, ch. 28 (1993).
''I do not think [poetry] is more, or less, necessary than food, shelter, health, education, decent working conditions. It is as necessary.''Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet and essayist. What Is Found There, preface (1993). Written in February 1993.
''... in a history of spiritual rupture, a social compact built on fantasy and collective secrets, poetry becomes more necessary than ever: it keeps the underground aquifers flowing; it is the liquid voice that can wear through stone.''Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and lesbian feminist. What Is Found There, ch. 16 (1993).
''The repossession by women of our bodies will bring far more essential change to human society than the seizing of the means of production by workers.''Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and lesbian feminist. From Of Woman Born (1986). As quoted in Moving Beyond Words, part 2, by Gloria Steinem (1994).
''...Women's Studies can amount simply to compensatory history; too often they fail to challenge the intellectual and political structures that must be challenged if women as a group are ever to come into collective, nonexclusionary freedom.''Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and feminist. Blood, Bread and Poetry, ch. 1 (1986). From a 1979 commencement address delivered at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.
''... no woman is really an insider in the institutions fathered by masculine consciousness.''Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and feminist. Blood, Bread and Poetry, ch. 1 (1986). From a 1979 commencement address delivered at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.
''The dialectic between change and continuity is a painful but deeply instructive one, in personal life as in the life of a people. To "see the light" too often has meant rejecting the treasures found in darkness.''Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and feminist. Blood, Bread and Poetry, ch. 8 (1986). From the Clark Lecture which she delivered at Scripps College in Claremont, California, on February 15, 1983.
''Women's art, though created in solitude, wells up out of community. There is, clearly, both enormous hunger for the work thus being diffused, and an explosion of creative energy, bursting through the coercive choicelessness of the system on whose boundaries we are working.''Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. lesbian feminist poet and essayist. Book review of Housework, by Joan Larkin (1977).
''Rape is a part of war; but it may be more accurate to say that the capacity for dehumanizing another which so corrodes male sexuality is carried over from sex into war.''Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet. repr. In On Lies, Secrets, and Silence (1980). "Caryatid," American Poetry Review (Philadelphia, May-June 1973).
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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.
Miracle Ice Cream
Miracle's truck comes down the little avenue,
Scott Joplin ragtime strewn behind it like pearls,
and, yes, you can feel happy
with one piece of your heart.
Take what's still given: in a room's rich shadow
a woman's breasts swinging lightly as she bends.
Early now the pearl of dusk dissolves.
Late, you sit weighing the evening news,