The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

April 03, 2012

"We are, I am, you are" (remembering Adrienne Rich)


Photo Credit: Neal Boenzi/The New York Times 

Adrienne Rich will be remembered for refusing to separate politics from poetry, or woman from woman. For those unfamiliar with the public poet's life or work, here's a favorite: her 1974 National Book Award acceptance speech, courtesy of the National Book Foundation's Tumblr page.

This is Rich's "dazzling, empathetic ferocity," Margalit Fox writes in a recent New York Times article commemorating the poet's life, which registers so powerfully in her prose and poetry (the title here is taken from  "Diving into the Wreck").

 We'll leave you with an excerpt from "A Rich Life", a Boston Phoenix interview from 1999 that feels absolutely contemporary to us: 

…[The] kind of poetry that interests me...[is] intellectual and moral and political and sexual and sensual—all of that fermenting together. It can speak to people who have themselves felt like monsters and say: you are not alone, this is not monstrous. 

Poetry can add its grain to an accumulation of consciousness against the idea that there is no alternative--that we're now just in the great flow of capitalism and it can never be any different--[that] this is human destiny, this is human nature. A poem can add its grain to all the other grains and that is, I think, a rather important thing to do.



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