Why the Literary Landscape Continues to Disadvantage Women
April 04, 2012
Watching the outpouring of grief and reflection over the death of Adrienne Rich last week, I admit, to my shame, that I was surprised. Surprised not because of any judgment about Rich’s poetry, which I barely know, but because I had thought of her as an icon of another era. That era, of course, was the era of the women’s movement, of which Rich was a brash troubadour, asserting the value and distinctiveness of women’s experience and lamenting their—our—submission to patriarchy. But when I came of age intellectually, in the 1990s, this mode of expression had fallen out of fashion.
December 18, 2000
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath edited by Karen V. Kukil (Anchor Books, 732 pp., $18) Saturday exhausted, nerves frayed. Sleepless. Threw you, book, down, punched with fist. Kicked, punched. Violence seethed. Joy to murder someone, pure scapegoat. But pacified during necessity to work. ... Baked a lemon meringue pie, cooled lemon custard and crust on cold bathroom windowsill, stirring in black night and stars. Set table, candles, glasses sparkling crystal barred crystal on yellow woven cloth ...
December 09, 1978
Never have so many written with such technical skill: this remark, as often an expression of frustration and dismay as of admiration, has become a commonplace of poetry criticism in the 1970s. Never, of course, have so many written. And published. And competed for a lamentably small audience: there are perhaps more writers than readers of poetry at the present time. In so diminished a sphere the consequences have been, and continue to be, predictable.
Our Whole Life
May 02, 1970
Our whole life a translation the permissible fibs and now a knot of lies eating at itself to get undone Words bitten thru words meanings burnt-off like paint under the blowtorch All those dead letters rendered into the oppressor's language Trying to tell the doctor where it hurts like the Algerian who has walked from his village, burning his whole body a cloud of pain and there are no words for this except himself Adrienne Rich is an American poet. This poem appeared in the May 2, 1970 issue of the magazine.