Life on the planet is born of woman.

Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich

Profession: Poet
Nationality: American


Life on the planet is born of woman. Adrienne Rich

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

There is always an unspeakable where, perhaps, the nucleus of the living relation between the poem and the world resides.

Probably there is nothing in human nature more resonant with charges than the flow of energy between two biologically alike bodies, one of which has lain in amniotic bliss inside the other, one of which has labored to give birth to the other. The materials are here for the deepest mutuality and the most painful estrangement.

I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language guessing at some words while others keep you reading and I want to know which words they are.

Because even the alphabet is precious.

A poem can't free us from the struggle for existence, but it can uncover desires and appetites buried under the accumulating emergencies of our lives, the fabricated wants and needs we have had urged on us, have accepted as our own. It's not a philosophical or psychological blueprint; it's an instrument for embodied experience.

Any woman who has moved from the playing fields of male discourse into the realm where women are developing our own descriptions of the world knows the extraordinary sense of shedding, as it were, the encumbrance of someone else's baggage, of ceasing to translate.

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.

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.

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.

The moment the feeling enters the body is political.

What kind of beast would turn its life into words?

The living, politicized woman claims to be a person whether she is attached to a family or not, whether she is attached to a man or not, whether she is a mother or not.

Until we know the assumptions in which we are drenched, we cannot know ourselves.