Adrienne Rich, I loved you

I’m ashamed to say I get a lot of my news from facebook. My friend just had a baby, Earl Scruggs died, and then I read about Adrienne Rich.

I wrote my college thesis on the sonnets of Shakespeare, e. e. cummings, and Adrienne Rich. It was an incoherent paper, not surprisingly, but Rich’s “21 Love Poems” were a revelation to me.

Here is some Earl Scruggs for your listening pleasure.

And here is one of my favorite poems from Adrienne Rich (from Diving into the Wreck)


What kind of beast would turn its life into words?

What atonement is this all about?

–and yet, writing words like these, I’m also living.

Is all this close to the wolverines’ howled signals,

that modulated cantata of the wild?

or, when away from you I try to create you in words,

am I simply using you, like a river or a war?

And how have I used rivers, how have I used wars

to escape writing of the worst thing of all—

not the crimes of others, not even our own death,

but the failure to want our freedom passionately enough

so that blighted elms, sick rivers, massacres would seem

mere emblems of that desecration of ourselves?

(Sorry about the double spacing, I should be editing rather than writing this damn blog post and I don’t have the time to straighten it all out.)

Who do you miss?


8 responses to “Adrienne Rich, I loved you

  1. “emblems of that desecration of ourselves” How prescient and beautiful and horrible.
    Kurt Vonnegut. When I found out he passed away I felt I had been kicked in the stomach. His humanism, his humor in the struggle of what we do to ourselves and each other, the planet…all I could think was, “and who will have the words now”.

    Adrienne Rich. My interest in her is different though. Our similarities in life give me hope that the words will come if I stop hiding them from myself.

  2. Just read a neat article over on Slate “Emailing Adrienne Rich” which hyperlinks to the aforetitled e-mail.
    I’d add the address, but my thumbs can only do so much on this damn phone.

  3. Is all this close to the wolverines’ howled signals,
    that modulated cantata of the wild?

    I miss my dad. He’ll have been gone seven years next week. He instilled in me the love of words, and taught me how to be careful with them. Or tried to.

  4. Pingback: Poem-off | Fangs and Clause

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