Best 277 of Adrienne Rich quotes - MyQuotes

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Adrienne Rich
By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

It is important to possess a short-term pessimism and a long-term optimism.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Poetry is above all a concentration of the power of language, which is the power of our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe.

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 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

The [Vietnam War Memorial] Wall became a magnet for citizens of every generation, class, race, and relationship to the war perhaps because it is the only great public monument that allows the anesthetized holes in the heart to fill with a truly national grief.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

A crucial moment in human consciousness, then, arrives when man discovers that it is he himself, not the moon or the spring rains or the spirits of the dead, who impregnates the woman; that the child she carries and gives birth to is *his* child, who can make *him* immortal, both mystically, by propitiating the gods with prayers and sacrifices when he is dead, and concretely, by receiving the patrimony from him. At this crossroads of sexual possession, property ownership, and the desire to transcend death, developed the institution we know: the present-day patriarchal family with its supernaturalizing of the penis, its division of labor by gender, its emotional, physical, and material possessiveness, its ideal of monogamous marriage until death (and its severe penalties for adultery by the wife), the "illegitimacy" of a child born outside wedlock, the economic dependency of women, the unpaid domestic services of the wife, the obedience of women and children to male authority, the imprinting and continuation of heterosexual roles.

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 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Whatever is unnamed, undepicted in images, whatever is omitted from biography, censored in collections of letters, whatever is misnamed as something else, made difficult-to-come-by, whatever is buried in the memory by the collapse of meaning under an inadequate or lying language - this will become, not merely unspoken, but unspeakable.

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

Every journey into the past is complicated by delusions, false memories, false namings of real events.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

The mother's battle for her child with sickness, with poverty, with war, with all the forces of exploitation and callousness that cheapen human life needs to become a common human battle, waged in love and in the passion for survival.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Heterosexuality has been forcibly and subliminally imposed on women. Yet everywhere women have resisted it, often at the cost of physical torture, imprisonment, psychosurgery, social ostracism, and extreme poverty.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

What kind of beast would turn its life into words?

By Anonym 20 Sep

Adrienne Rich

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.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Saw you walking barefoot taking a long look at the new moon's eyelid later spread sleep-fallen, naked in your dark hair asleep but not oblivious of the unslept unsleeping elsewhere Tonight I think no poetry will serve Syntax of rendition: verb pilots the plane adverb modifies action verb force-feeds noun submerges the subject noun is choking verb disgraced goes on doing now diagram the sentence

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Reality, the oppressor's tongue.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Poetry is, among other things, a criticism of language.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

I feel more helpless with you than without you.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Art means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of power which holds it hostage.

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

Since we're not young, weeks have to do time for years of missing each other.Yet only this odd warp in time tells me we're not young.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Love, our subject: we've trained it like ivy to our walls.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

When one woman tells her truth, it makes a space for other women to tell their truths.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

The liar often suffers from amnesia. Amnesia is the silence of the unconscious.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

There is no simple formula for the relationship of art to justice...In the end, I don’t think we can separate art from overall human dignity and hope. My concern for my country is inextricable from my concerns as an artist.

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 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 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

White hate crimes, white hate speech. I still try to claim I wasn't brought up to hate. But hate isn't the half of it. I grew up in the vast encircling presumption of whiteness - that primary quality of being which knows itself, its passions, only against an otherness that has to be dehumanized. I grew up in white silence that was utterly obsessional. Race was the theme whatever the topic.

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 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

I believe that words can help us move or keep us paralyzed, and that our choices of language and verbal tone have something - a great deal - to do with how we live our lives.

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 18 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Poems are like dreams: in them you put what you don't know you know.

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 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all the extraneous delights should be withheld or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.

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

Pride is a tricky, glorious, double-edged feeling.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Adrienne Rich

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

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

I am suspicious - first of all, in myself - of adopted mysticisms of glib spirituality, above all of white people's tendency to ... vampirize American Indian, or African, or Asian, or other 'exotic' ways of understanding.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Vous travaillez pour l'armee, madame?' (You are working for the army?), a Frenchwoman said to me early in the Vietnam war, on hearing I had three sons.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

I've known great happiness in my life along with great darkness, and a question that has repeatedly entered my poetry has been, how do we use the direct experience of happiness that may be given us, whether of love and sexuality or creativity or the sense of connectedness with other beings, human and otherwise?

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

But nothing less than the most radical imagination will carry us beyond this place, beyond the mere struggle for survival, to that lucid recognition of our possibilities which will keep us impatient, and unresigned to mere survival.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

The longer I live the more I mistrust theatricality, the false glamour cast by performance, the more I know its poverty beside the truths we are salvaging from the splitting-open of our lives. -from "Transcendental Etude

By Anonym 19 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Time is male and in his cups drinks to the fair. Bemused be gallantry we hear our mediocrities over-prized, indolence read as abnegation, slattern thought styled intuition every lapse forgiven, our crime only to cast too bold a shadow or smash the mold straight off.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

In the interstices of language lie powerful secrets of the      culture.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

... passion for survival is the great theme of women's poetry.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Adrienne Rich

No woman is really an insider in the institutions fathered by masculine consciousness.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

There is the falsely mystical view of art that assumes a kind of supernatural inspiration, a possession by universal forces unrelated to questions of power and privilege or the artist's relation to bread and blood. In this view, the channel of art can only become clogged and misdirected by the artist's concern with merely temporary and local disturbances. The song is higher than the struggle.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Adrienne Rich

Behind all art is an element of desire...Love of life, of existence, love of another human being, love of human beings is in some way behind all art — even the most angry, even the darkest, even the most grief-stricken, and even the most embittered art has that element somewhere behind it. Because how could you be so despairing, so embittered, if you had not had something you loved that you lost?

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

We need to imagine a world in which every woman is the presiding genius of her own body. In such a world women will truly create new life, bringing forth not only children if and as we choose but the visions, and the thinking, necessary to sustain, console and alter human existence-a new relationship to the universe. Sexuality, politics, intelligence, power, motherhood, work, community, intimacy will develop new meanings; thinking itself will be transformed. This is where we have to begin.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Adrienne Rich

War is an absolute failure of imagination, scientific and political.