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April 3, 2017

Quotations by Adrienne Rich


ADRIENNE RICH (1929 –2012), AN AMERICAN POET AND ESSAYIST, BEST KNOWN FOR HER EXAMINATION OF THE EXPERIENCES OF WOMEN IN SOCIETY.

“I write for the still-fragmented parts in me, trying to bring them together. Whoever can read and use any of this, I write for them as well.” ~ Adrienne Rich, Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose, 1979-1985

 “Those who speak largely of the human condition are usually those most exempt from its oppressions - whether of sex, race, or servitude.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution

“Poetry is, among other things, a criticism of language.”
~ Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978

“Lying is done with words, and also with silence.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying

“No one has imagined us. We want to live like trees,
sycamores blazing through the sulfuric air,
dappled with scars, still exuberantly budding,
our animal passion rooted in the city.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Twenty-One Love Poems

“I touch you knowing we weren't born tomorrow,
and somehow, each of us will help the other live,
and somewhere, each of us must help the other die.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Twenty One Love Poems

“If you think you can grasp me, think again:
my story flows in more than one direction
a delta springing from the riverbed
with its five fingers spread”
~ Adrienne Rich, Time's Power

“If I cling to circumstances I could feel
not responsible. Only she who says
she did not choose, is the loser in the end.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Twenty-One Love Poems

“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.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution

 “No person, trying to take responsibility for her or his identity, should have to be so alone. There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep, and still be counted as warriors.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Sources

“Sleeping, turning in turn like planets
rotating in their midnight meadow:
a touch is enough to let us know
we’re not alone in the universe, even in sleep:
the dream-ghosts of two worlds
walking their ghost-towns, almost address each other.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Twenty-One Love Poems

“The unconscious wants truth. It ceases to speak to those who want something else more than truth.”
~ Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978

“Poems are like dreams: in them you put what you don't know you know.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Arts of the Possible: Essays and Conversations

“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.”
~ Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978

“In a world where language and naming are power, silence is oppression, is violence.”
~ Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978

“I am an instrument in the shape
of a woman trying to translate pulsations
into images    for the relief of the body
and the reconstruction of the mind.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Planetarium

 “These scars bear witness but whether to repair or to destruction I no longer know.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Diving Into the Wreck

“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.”
~ Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978

“There is nothing revolutionary whatsoever about the control of women's bodies by men. The woman's body is the terrain on which patriarchy is erected.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution

“Most women have not even been able to touch this anger, except to drive it inward like a rusted nail.”
~ Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978

“Feminism means finally that we renounce our obedience to the fathers and recognise that the world they have described is not the whole world. Masculine ideologies are the creation of masculine subjectivity; they are neither objective, nor value-free, nor inclusively "human." Feminism implies that we recognise for us, the distortion, of male-created ideologies, and that we proceed to think, and act, out of that recognition.”
~ Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978

“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”
~ Adrienne Rich, Diving Into the Wreck

“Nothing can be done but by inches. I write out my life hour by hour, word by word . . . imagining the existence of something uncreated this poem our lives.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Diving Into the Wreck

“The possibilities that exist between two people, or among a group of people, are a kind of alchemy. They are the most interesting thing in life. The liar is someone who keeps losing sight of these possibilities”
~ Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978

 “The failure to examine heterosexuality as an institution is like failing to admit that the economic system called capitalism or the caste system of racism is maintained by a variety of forces, including both physical violence and false consciousness.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence

“if you unquestioningly accept one piece of the culture that despises and fears you, you are vulnerable to other pieces.”
~ Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978

“Women have married because it was necessary, in order to survive economically, in order to have children who would not suffer economic deprivation or social ostracism, in order to remain respectable, in order to do what was expected of women because coming out of "abnormal" childhoods they wanted to feel "normal," and because heterosexual romance has been represented as the great female adventure, duty, and fulfillment. We may faithfully or ambivalently have obeyed the institution, but our feelings - and our sensuality - have not been tamed or contained within it.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence

“I write for the still-fragmented parts in me, trying to bring them together. Whoever can read and use any of this, I write for them as well.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose, 1979-1985

“I question the more or less psychoanalytic perspective that the male need to control women sexually results from some primal male "fear of women" and of women's sexual insatiability. It seems more probable that men really fear, not that they will have women's sexual appetites forced on them, or that women want to smother and devour them, but that women could be indifferent to them altogether, that men could be allowed sexual and emotional-therefore economic-access to women only on women's terms, otherwise being left on the periphery of the matrix.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence

“I don't trust them but I'm learning to use them.”
~ Adrienne Rich, Diving Into the Wreck
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