The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.— Adrienne Rich
The most professional Adrienne Rich quotes that are little-known but priceless
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.
We must use what we have to invent what we desire.
Courage is not defined by those who fought and did not fall, but by those who fought, fell and rose again.
If you are trying to transform a brutalized society into one where people can live in dignity and hope, you begin with the empowering of the most powerless. You build from the ground up.
Poetry is above all a concentration of the power of language, which is the power of our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe.
Until we know the assumptions in which we are drenched, we cannot know ourselves.
It is the suffering of ambivalence: the murderous alternation between bitter resentment and raw-edged nerves, and blissful gratification and tenderness
Language is power... Language can be used as a means of changing reality.
I believe that words can help us move or keep us paralyzed, and that our choices of language and verbal tone have something - a great deal - to do with how we live our lives.
The most notable fact that our culture imprints on women is a sense of our limits. The most important thing a woman can do for another is to illuminate her actual possibilities.
Art means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of power which holds it hostage.
An honorable human relationship ... is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other.
In order to live a fully human life we require not only control of our bodies (though control is a prerequisite); we must touch the unity and resonance of our physicality, our bond with the natural order, the corporeal grounds of our intelligence.
When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.
I am the androgyne, I am the living mind you fail to describe in your dead language the lost noun, the verb surviving only in the infinitive the letters of my name are written under the lids of the newborn child
I am a feminist because I feel endangered, psychically and physically, by this society and because I believe that the women's movement is saying that we have come to an edge of history when men - insofar as they are embodiments of the patriarchal idea - have become dangerous to children and other living things, themselves included
We can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.
Poetry has always mattered, through human history, through all kinds of cultures, all kinds of violence and human desolation, as well as periods of great human affirmation. It's been associated with the power of the word, with the sacred, with magic and transformation, with the oral narratives that help a people cohere.
If you think you can grasp me, think again: my story flows in more than one direction, a delta springing from the river bed with its five fingers spread.
Any woman's death diminishes me.
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.
Every journey into the past is complicated by delusions, false memories, false namings of real events.
Lying is done with words and also with silence.
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.
Probably there is nothing in human nature more resonant with charges than the flow of energy between two biologically alike bodies, one of which has lain in amniotic bliss inside the other, one of which has labored to give birth to the other. The materials are here for the deepest mutuality and the most painful estrangement.
Responsibility to yourself means that you don't fall for shallow and easy solutions-it means that you refuse to sell your talents and aspirations short.
The password is a flicker of an eyelash.
As her sons have seen her: the mother in patriarchy: controlling, erotic, castrating, heart-suffering, guilt-ridden, and guilt-provoking; a marble brow, a huge breast, an avid cave; between her legs snakes, swamp-grass, or teeth; on her lap a helpless infant or a martyred son. She exists for one purpose: to bear and nourish the son.
I keep coming back to you in my head, but you couldn't know that, and I have no carbons.
Writers matter in a society to the extent that we can help that society hear its unvoiced longing, encounter its erased and disregarded selves, break with complacency, numbness, despair.
It's exhilarating to be alive in a time of awakening consciousness;
it can also be confusing, disorienting, and painful.
Only where there is language is there world.
Sexist grammar burns into the brains of little girls and young women a message that the male is the norm, the standard, the central figure beside which we are all deviants, the marginal, the dependent variables. It lays the foundation for androcentric thinking, and leaves men safe in their solipsistic tunnel-vision.
Poetry can open locked chambers of possibiity, restore numbed zones to feeling, recharge desire.
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. It can disturb and enrapture.
To write as if your life depended on it;
to write across the chalkboard, putting up there in public the words you have dredged; sieved up in dreams, from behind screen memories, out of silence-- words you have dreaded and needed in order to know you exist.
I guess what concerns me always is the need for a field, a rich compost, for any art to flourish. But however isolate or unheard you may feel, if you have the need to write poetry, are compelled to write it, you go on, whether there is resonance or not.
Pride is a tricky, glorious, double-edged feeling.
There is no 'the truth','a truth' - truth is not one thing, or even a system.
It is an increasing complexity. the pattern of the carpet is a surface. When we look closely, or when we become weavers, we learn of the tiny multiple threads unseen in the overall pattern, the knots on the underside of the carpet
False history gets made all day, any day, the truth of the new is never on the news.
To seek visions, to dream dreams, is essential, and it is also essential to try new ways of living, to make room for serious experimentation, to respect the effort even where it fails.
How we dwelt in two worlds the daughters and the mothers in the kingdom of the sons.
The longer I live the more I mistrust theatricality, the false glamour cast by performance, the more I know its poverty beside the truths we are salvaging from the splitting-open of our lives. -from "Transcendental Etude
The moment of change is the only poem.
I came to explore the wreck.
As a society in turmoil, we are going to see more, and more various, attempts to simulate order through repression; and art is a historical target for such efforts.
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.
Whatever is unnamed, undepicted in images, whatever is omitted from biography, censored in collections of letters, whatever is misnamed as something else, made difficult-to-come-by, whatever is buried in the memory by the collapse of meaning under an inadequate or lying language - this will become, not merely unspoken, but unspeakable.