Best 277 of Adrienne Rich quotes - MyQuotes

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Adrienne Rich
By Anonym 19 Sep

Adrienne Rich

The wave changed instantly by rock; the rock changed by the wave returning over and over.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

By [patriarchy] I mean to imply not simply the tracing of descent through the father, (...) but any kind of group organization in which males hold dominant power and determine what part females shall and shall not play, and in which capabilities assigned to women are relegated generally to the mystical and aesthetic and excluded from the practical and political realms. (...) At the core of patriarchy is the individual family unit with its division of roles, its values of (...) unpaid domestic services of the wife, obedience to authority, judgment and punishment for disobedience, Within this family children learn the characters, sexual and otherwise, that they are to assume, in their turn, as adults. (...) The sacreness of the family in the patriarchy -sacred in the sense that it is heresy to question its ultimate value- relieves the titular head of it from any real necessity to justify his behavior.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Tongue on your words to taste you there Couldn’t   read what you had never written there Played your message over feeling bad Played your message over it was all I had To tell me what and wherefore this is what it said: I’m tired of you asking me why I’m tired of words like the chatter of birds Give me a pass, let me just get by

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Art and literature have given so many people the relief of feeling connected - pulled us out of isolation. It has let us know that somebody else breathed and dreamed and had sex and loved and raged and knew loneliness the way we do.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

The kind of poetry that interests me is intellectual and moral and political and sexual and sensual - all of that fermenting together. It can speak to people who have themselves felt like monsters and say: you are not alone, this is not monstrous. It can disturb and enrapture.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Adrienne Rich

If women are the earliest sources of emotional caring and physical nurture for both female and male children, it would seem logical, from a feminist perspective at least, to pose the following questions: whether the search for love and tenderness in both sexes does not originally lead toward women; why in fact women would ever redirect that search; why species-survival, the means of impregnation, and emotional/erotic relationships should ever have become so rigidly identified with each other; and why such violent strictures should be found necessary to enforce women's total emotional, erotic loyalty and subservience to men.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

We may feel bitterly how little our poems can do in the face of seemingly out-of-control technological power and seemingly limitless corporate greed, yet it has always been true that poetry can break isolation, show us to ourselves when we are outlawed or made invisible, remind us of beauty where no beauty seems possible, remind us of kinship where all is represented as separation.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

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.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Adrienne Rich

If we consider the possibility that all women–from the infant suckling her mother’s breast, to the grown woman experiencing orgasmic sensations while suckling her own child, perhaps recalling her mother’s milk-smell in her own; to two women, like Virginia Woolf’s Chloe and Olivia, who share a laboratory; to the woman dying at ninety, touched and handled by women–exist on a lesbian continuum, we can see ourselves as moving in and out of this continuum, whether we identify ourselves as lesbian or not. It allows us to connect aspects of woman-identification as diverse as the impudent, intimate girl-friendships of eight- or nine-year-olds and the banding together of those women of the twelfth and fifteenth centuries known as Beguines who “shared houses, rented to one another, bequeathed houses to their room-mates … in cheap subdivided houses in the artisans’ area of town,” who “practiced Christian virtue on their own, dressing and living simply and not associating with men,” who earned their livings as spinners, bakers, nurses, or ran schools for young girls, and who managed–until the Church forced them to disperse–to live independent both of marriage and of conventual restrictions. It allows us to connect these women with the more celebrated “Lesbians” of the women’s school around Sappho of the seventh century B.C.; with the secret sororities and economic networks reported among African women; and with the Chinese marriage resistance sisterhoods–communities of women who refused marriage, or who if married often refused to consummate their marriages and soon left their husbands–the only women in China who were not footbound and who, Agnes Smedley tells us, welcomed the births of daughters and organized successful women’s strikes in the silk mills. It allows us to connect and compare disparate individual instances of marriage resistance: for example, the type of autonomy claimed by Emily Dickinson, a nineteenth-century white woman genius, with the strategies available to Zora Neale Hurston, a twentieth-century black woman genius. Dickinson never married, had tenuous intellectual friendships with men, lived self-convented in her genteel father’s house, and wrote a lifetime of passionate letters to her sister-in-law Sue Gilbert and a smaller group of such letters to her friend Kate Scott Anthon. Hurston married twice but soon left each husband, scrambled her way from Florida to Harlem to Columbia University to Haiti and finally back to Florida, moved in and out of white patronage and poverty, professional success and failure; her survival relationships were all with women, beginning with her mother. Both of these women in their vastly different circumstances were marriage resisters, committed to their own work and selfhood, and were later characterized as “apolitical ”. Both were drawn to men of intellectual quality; for both of them women provided the ongoing fascination and sustenance of life.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

A book of poems doesn't just come out by chance, an editor has to select it, a publisher has to distribute it or you will never see it.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

I think about the possibilities for empathy, for mutual solidarity among gay men and lesbians, not simply as people who suffer under homophobia, but as people who are also extremely creative, active, and have a particular understanding of the human condition.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

If I cling to circumstances I could feel not responsible. Only she who says she did not choose, is the loser in the end.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Language is as real, as tangible, in our lives as streets, pipelines, telephone switchboards, microwaves, radioactivity, cloning laboratories, nuclear power stations.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Adrienne Rich

The avoidance of pain - physical or psychic - is a dangerous mechanism, which can cause us to lose touch not just with our painful sensations but with ourselves.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

I keep coming back to you in my head, but you couldn't know that, and I have no carbons.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

I am a woman in the prime of my life, with certain powers and those powers severely limited by authorities whose faces I rarely see.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Adrienne Rich

They do not fear the men beneath the tree; They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

I think poets should work in the non-literary, non-academic world, get to know more than a workshop or a university.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

To write as if your life depended on it; to write across the chalkboard, putting up there in public the words you have dredged; sieved up in dreams, from behind screen memories, out of silence-- words you have dreaded and needed in order to know you exist.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

We who were loved will never unlive that crippling fever.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Adrienne Rich

The enemy is always outside the self, the struggle somewhere else.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Truthfulness, honor, is not something which springs ablaze of itself; it has to be created between people. This is true in political situations. The quality and depth of the politics evolving from a group depends in large part on their understanding of honor. Much of what is narrowly termed "politics" seems to rest on a longing for certainty even at the cost of honesty, for an analysis which, once given, need not be re-examined…It isn't that to have an honorable relationship with you, I have to understand everything, or tell you everything at once, or that I can know, beforehand, everything I need to tell you. It means that most of the time I am eager, longing for the possibility of telling you. That these possibilities may seem frightening, but not destructive to me. That I feel strong enough to hear your tentative and groping words. That we both know we are trying, all the time, to extend the possibilities of truth between us.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

What would it mean to live in a city whose people were changing each other's despair into hope?-- You yourself must change it.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

A decade of cutting away dead flesh, cauterizing old scars ripped open over and over and still it is not enough.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Storm Warnings The glass has been falling all the afternoon, And knowing better than the instrument What winds are walking overhead, what zone Of grey unrest is moving across the land, I leave the book upon a pillowed chair And walk from window to closed window, watching Boughs strain against the sky And think again, as often when the air Moves inward toward a silent core of waiting, How with a single purpose time has traveled By secret currents of the undiscerned Into this polar realm. Weather abroad And weather in the heart alike come on Regardless of prediction. Between foreseeing and averting change Lies all the mastery of elements Which clocks and weatherglasses cannot alter. Time in the hand is not control of time, Nor shattered fragments of an instrument A proof against the wind; the wind will rise, We can only close the shutters. I draw the curtains as the sky goes black And set a match to candles sheathed in glass Against the keyhole draught, the insistent whine Of weather through the unsealed aperture. This is our sole defense against the season; These are the things we have learned to do Who live in troubled regions.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Adrienne Rich

When the ideas or forms we need are banished, we seek their residues wherever we can trace them

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

My heart is moved by all I cannot save: so much has been destroyed I have to cast my lot with those who age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

I am always interested in the ways of scoring the sound of the poem, especially a poem with long lines. Spaces within a line, double colons, slashes, are indications of pause, of breath, of urgency, they are not metrically exact as in a musical notation but they serve (I hope) to make the reader think about the sound of the poem - just as traffic symbols, when driving, make us almost unconsciously aware of a steep hill, an intersection, an icy bridge etc.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

To read as if your life depended on it would mean to let into your reading your beliefs, the swirl of your dreamlife, the physical sensations of your ordinary carnal life; and simultaneously, to allow what you're reading to pierce routines, safe and impermeable, in which ordinary carnal life is tracked, charted, channeled. Then, what of the right answers, the so-called multiple-choice examination sheet with the number 2 pencil to mark one choice and one choice only?

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Poetry can add its grain to an accumulation of consciousness against the idea that there is no alternative - that we're just in the great flow of capitalism and it can never be any different - that this is human destiny, this is human nature.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

I wanted him [my father] to cherish and approve of me, not as he had when I was a child, but as the woman I was, who had her own mind and had made her own choices.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Adrienne Rich

If you are curious and open to the life around you, if you are disturbed as to how, by, and against whom wealth and political power is held and used, if you sense there must be good reasons for your unease, if your curiosity and openness drive you toward wanting to act with others, to "do something," you have much in common with the writers of the three essays in Manifesto.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Abortion is violence; a deep, desperate violence inflicted by a woman upon, first of all, herself.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Lies are usually attempts to make everything simpler - for the liar - than it really is, or ought to be.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

That's why I want to speak to you now. To say: 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. (I make up this strange, angry packet for you, threaded with love.) I think you thought there was no such place for you, and perhaps there was none then, and perhaps there is none now; but we will have to make it, we who want an end to suffering, who want to change the laws of history, if we are not to give ourselves away.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

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.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Not biology, but ignorance of ourselves, has been the key to our powerlessness

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

The word revolution itself has become not only a dead relic of Leftism, but a key to the deadendedness of male politics: the revolution of a wheel which returns in the end to the same place; the revolving door of a politics which has liberated women only to use them, and only within the limits of male tolerance.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Mothers and daughters have always exchanged with each other - beyond the verbally transmitted lore of female survival - a knowledge that is subliminal, subversive, preverbal: the knowledge flowing between two alike bodies, one of which has spent nine months inside the other.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

I define "politics" as the on-going collective struggle for liberation and for the power to create - not only works of art, but also just and nonviolent social institutions.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Theory -the seeing of patterns, showing the forest as well as the trees- theory can be a dew that rises from earth and collects in the rain cloud and returns to earth over and over. But if it doesn't smell of the earth, it isn't good for earth. -Notes Toward a Politics of Location

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

No woman is really an insider in the institutions fathered by masculine consciousness. When we allow ourselves to believe we are, we lose touch with parts of ourselves defined as unacceptable by that consciousness; with the vital toughness and visionary strength of the angry grandmothers, the fierce market women of the Ibo's Women's War, the marriage-resisting women silk workers of pre-Revolutionary China, the millions of widows, midwives, and the women healers tortured and burned as witches for three centuries in Europe.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Re-vision -- the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction - is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Adrienne Rich

The Stranger Looking as I’ve looked before, straight down the heart of the street to the river walking the rivers of the avenues feeling the shudder of the caves beneath the asphalt watching the lights turn on in the towers walking as I’ve walked before like a man, like a woman, in the city my visionary anger cleansing my sight and the detailed perceptions of mercy flowering from that anger if I come into a room out of the sharp misty light and hear them talking a dead language if they ask me my identity what can I say but 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

By Anonym 19 Sep

Adrienne Rich

We murmur moonwords.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Whatever happens with us, your body will haunt mine

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Re-vision – the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction – is for woman more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival. Until we understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we cannot know ourselves. And this drive to self-knowledge, for women, is more than a search for identity: it is part of our refusal of the self-destructiveness of male-dominated society.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Poetry has always mattered, through human history, through all kinds of cultures, all kinds of violence and human desolation, as well as periods of great human affirmation. It's been associated with the power of the word, with the sacred, with magic and transformation, with the oral narratives that help a people cohere.