Friday, 30 March 2012

Women You Should Know - Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich

I was pushing for one more Woman You Should Know post before the close of the month.  I had a lot of candidates, and it was hard to choose.  However, the announcement of the passing of Adrienne Rich made the choice clear.  Everything you need to know is in this obituary from the New York Times.  It offers, history, facts, poetry, and perspective.

Of course, I hope you will read her, too.  And take a step toward reclaiming feminism in her honor.

For me - along with June Jordan, Gwendolyn Brooks, Mary Oliver, and few others - Rich offered a window on how poetry could both be idiom and transcend it.  How it could be personal story and be resonant, and how it could be political, yet still be supple.  All of these women you should know created languages within languages.  Yet the languages they created are so much closer to the one we actually hear inside, as to be indistinguishable from a common, universal, interior syntax.

I don't aspire to the work of any of these writers - I don't dare.  I do know that I might not have written anything at all had they not been there before me to stake the poles for the tent.  I am grateful for their diligence.

It feels fitting to close this series here.  Until next year.

(If you'd like to be a guest blogger in the Women You Should Know series, contact me with your idea for who you'd like to profile!  Ground rules:  Non-living female, not a household name, no more than 500 words.)

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