Adrienne Rich: a modulated cantata.



BlaiseP is the pseudonym of a peripatetic software contractor whose worldly goods can fit into an elderly Isuzu Rodeo. Bitter and recondite, he favors the long view of life, the chords of Steely Dan and Umphrey's McGee, the writings of William Vollman and Thomas Pynchon, the taste of red ale and his own gumbo. Having escaped after serving seven years of a lifetime sentence to confinement in hotel rooms, he currently resides in the wilds of Eau Claire County and contemplates the intersection of mixed SRID geometries in PostGIS.

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6 Responses

  1. Avatar John Howard Griffin says:

    I agree that she was a powerful voice, and I learned much about a different way of thinking from her poems.

    I always enjoyed this part from Diving into the wreck:

    “I crawl like an insect down the ladder
    and there is no one
    to tell me when the ocean
    will begin.”

    and, of course, this:

    “We are, I am, you are
    by cowardice or courage
    the one who find our way
    back to this scene
    carrying a knife, a camera
    a book of myths
    in which
    our names do not appear.”

    There is much wisdom in her work. I did not know that she had died. Thanks for remembering her, BlaiseP.Report

  2. Avatar Creon Critic says:

    In light of a pretty provocative comment Murali made the other day on poetry and art, an extract from a Rich essay I heard on NPR yesterday jumped out at me,

    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. Poetry, as Audre Lorde wrote long ago, is no luxury. But for our poetry – the poetries of all of us – to become equal to a time when so much has to be witnessed, recuperated, revalued, we as poets, we as readers, we as social beings, have large questions to ask ourselves and one another.


    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Creon Critic says:

      When did poetry lose its power?   When every angry moron started to write it.  Talk is cheap and so are pen and paper.  Still, words retain their powers.  Though the lawyers and philosophers and political science types know the power of language, they really aren’t masters of language.   They are bemused by words, argue their meanings, attempt to corral words and tame them.  Weaklings and pedants are mastered by language and are never its masters.

      Thought, to such as these, seems supreme.   Thought is only the silly child of language, jumped up and arrogant.   Language laughs and runs away like an unbroken horse, will not be confined to dictionaries.   Poetry is not written from dictionaries, but from those great lumps of language, the lexicons that lack all definitions.   The poet is a great listener, hearing the movement of language in everyday speech, like the movements of whales in the sea.

      Truth is, the good poet is a whiskey distiller.   The poet’s art produces the water of life and puts it away in charred wooden casks.  Best to let it age a while, though some of it is good, neat and new.   Hip-hop knows the power of words.   And like poetry, thought to be the province of the effete, hip hop goes on merrily undermining society, producing a new one.   Poetry is hated because society has always hated the poet.   Society has always hated what it cannot understand and cannot control.Report

  3. Avatar Lauren says:

    Nice tribute. I remembered how exciting and revelatory her ideas were, but forgot just how GOOD the writing was. We’re writing our own tributes to her this week, too!Report