Adrienne Rich has died at 82, a long life for a person who dealt with a chronic and often debilitating condition (rheumatoid arthritis). Physically small and often frail-looking–almost elfin–her appearance and her personal modesty belied her strength, influence, assertiveness. She influenced poets and feminists, women and men, and challenged the social norms in many ways. I discovered her work in the 1970s in a women’s literature class at college, and her thinking as well as her writing enriched my view of the world.
Rather than try to collect my own thoughts about this poet, essayist, and influential human being, I’m going to post some links to others who have done so. I’ll update as the week goes on.
Here’s a videopoem of “Diving Into the Wreck.” Thanks to Dave Bonta for pointing me to this film.
A wonderful interview from 1999 by Michael Klein, who was a good friend of Rich’s, is available here–and is a must-read.
Kenny Fries just published this tribute, too.
And this from the Nation, which includes some new poems!
Now, a website of reminiscences and memorial tributes…
…and a radio commentary on Rich by Jan Clausen.
Best of all, this recent essay by Michael Klein, on Ploughshares’ blog.
My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.
Thank you, Ann, for the sources and resources on Adrienne Rich. I like this fragment from an essay on one of the websites. It reminds of a poem I championed earlier this week that seemed to me to have been written from a generosity of spirit both valuable and rare.
I can see how those words speak to the world at large. I often wonder whether I, with no extraordinary power, can in any way reconstitute the world.