Thursday, March 29, 2012

Adrienne Rich, the profound poet of our time

Adrienne Rich, a fiercely gifted, award-winning poet whose socially conscious verse influenced a generation of feminist, gay rights and anti-war activists, has died. She was 82.

“She was very courageous and very outspoken and very clear,” said her longtime friend W.S. Merwin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. “She was a real original, and whatever she said came straight out of herself.”
As Merwin noted, Rich was a hard poet to define because she went through so many phases. Or, as Rich wrote in “Delta,” ‘’If you think you can grasp me, think again.”

In those years
In those years people will say, we lost track
of the meaning of we, of you
We found ourselves
reduced to I
and the whole thing became
silly, ironic, terrible:
we were trying to live a personal life
and yes, that was the only life
we could bear witness to

But the great dark birds of history screamed and plunged
into our personal weather
They were headed somewhere else but their beaks and pinions drove
along the shore, through the rags of fog
where we stood, saying I.

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