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There's not much to say when one of your heroes leaves this world. When someone who influenced your worldview so consciously with their poetry and essays departs.

So, I won't say much more about writer, intellectual, poet Adrienne Rich. I've instead collected my favorite of her words here to allow them space to stand on their own. I hope they bring you the same ferocious sense of cognizance they brought me.

Read more about Adrienne Rich in today's New York Times.

On a life of meaningful work...

"Responsibility to yourself means that you don't fall for shallow and easy solutions--predigested books and ideas...It means that you refuse to sell your talents and aspirations short...and this, in turn, means resisting the forces in society which say that women should be nice, play safe, have low professional expectations, drown in love and forget about work, live through others, and stay in the places assigned to us. It means that we insist on a life of meaningful work, insist that work be as meaningful as love and friendship in our lives. It means, therefore, the courage to be "different"...

On living passively...

The difference between a life lived actively, and a life of passive drifting and dispersal of energies, is an immense difference. Once we begin to feel committed to our lives, responsible to ourselves, we can never again be satisfied with the old, passive way."

On writing...

“You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.”

On hard work...

"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.”

On power...

"Today I was reading about Marie Curie: she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness her body bombarded for years by the element she had purified It seems she denied to the end the source of the cataracts on her eyes the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil

She died a famous woman denying her wounds denying her wounds came from the same source as her power. ”

On being female in a male-dominated 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.”

“Women have been driven mad, "gaslighted," for centuries by the refutation of our experience and our instincts in a culture which validates only male experience. The truth of our bodies and our minds has been mystified to us. We therefore have a primary obligation to each other: not to undermine each others' sense of reality for the sake of expediency; not to gaslight each other.

Women have often felt insane when cleaving to the truth of our experience. Our future depends on the sanity of each of us, and we have a profound stake, beyond the personal, in the project of describing our reality as candidly and fully as we can to each other.”

On empowerment...

“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.”

On identity...

“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”

On truth...

“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”

On silence...

“In a world where language and naming are power, silence is oppression, is violence.”