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Adrienne Rich

  • American poet
  • Born May 16, 1929
  • Died March 27, 2012

Adrienne Cecile Rich (; May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012) was an American poet, essayist and feminist. She was called "one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century", and was credited with bringing "the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse." Rich criticized rigid forms of feminist identities, and valorized what she coined the "lesbian continuum"; which is a female continuum of solidarity and creativity which has impacted and even filled women's lives.Her first collection of poetry, A Change of World, was selected by renowned poet W. H. Auden for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award.


Art, whose honesty must work through artifice, cannot avoid cheating truth.




When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.




The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.




A thinking woman sleeps with monsters.




The worker can unionize, go out on strike; mothers are divided from each other in homes, tied to their children by compassionate bonds; our wildcat strikes have most often taken the form of physical or mental breakdown.




Pride is a tricky, glorious, double-edged feeling.




The moment of change is the only poem.




Lesbian existence comprises both the breaking of a taboo and the rejection of a compulsory way of life. It is also a direct or indirect attack on the male right of access to women.




The mind's passion is all for singling out. Obscurity has another tale to tell.




It's exhilarating to be alive in a time of awakening consciousness; it can also be confusing, disorienting, and painful.




Poetry is above all a concentration of the power of language, which is the power of our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe.




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.




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 live, it is a wick of desire.




Every journey into the past is complicated by delusions, false memories, false namings of real events.




I keep coming back to you in my head, but you couldn't know that, and I have no carbons.




False history gets made all day, any day, the truth of the new is never on the news.




We might possess every technological resource... but if our language is inadequate, our vision remains formless, our thinking and feeling are still running in the old cycles, our process may be 'revolutionary' but not transformative.




Lying is done with words and also with silence.




They can rule the world while they can persuade us our pain belongs in some order is death by famine worse than death by suicide, than a life of famine and suicide?




Life on the planet is born of woman.




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.




Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.



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