Adrienne Rich

Image linked to from the Poetry Foundation: Adrienne Rich.

“The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming forces on this planet.” (Adrienne Rich, 1929 to 2012)

I have just received the news that Adrienne Rich has died, and my heart is broken. I took a few minutes to read a few articles about her life; I set down and remembered the first time I read her work; I got up and I lit a candle, and then I cried. My sadness is for me. I cannot think of a world without Adrienne Rich in it, without Adrienne Rich being there to help remind us about all about our follies when it comes to gender relationships, love, and ethical, kind interaction among us all. And although I am saddened today by her leaving us, I am also so grateful that she was here for the amount of time she was.

Truly, I cannot imagine a world that did not have Adrienne Rich in it. How much she gave us all. How much she potentially changed in our world with each word she wrote, each poem she compose, and each time she bared her soul for our benefit.

Just yesterday I was adding a quote from Adrienne Rich to a chapter in Writing the Diaphragm Blues regarding women’s rights and birth control. I sought out her book because I remembered there was an interesting passage regarding the death at the midwife, and the rise of the doctor in Western civilization.  She has been a go to resource of mine for much of my life. 

For me personally, Adrienne Rich encouraged my voice as a feminist. She encouraged me to go out and write about those things that most of us keep behind closed doors. She showed me how it was okay to be uncomfortable by my confessions, by my feelings, and with my anger. She encouraged me with her words and her actions, to share my own subjective experiences about being a woman, about sexuality in order to share and reach out to a larger imagined community. I shudder to think of a world without Adrienne Rich in it. But possibly, my hope is this: that she encouraged other women to follow in her footsteps, to expose their souls for the world’s benefit.

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