Treasure Island

Adrienne Rich

(16 May 1929 – 27 March 2012 / Baltimore, Maryland)

Quotations

  • ''As her sons have seen her: the mother in patriarchy: controlling, erotic, castrating, heart-suffering, guilt-ridden, and guilt-provoking; a marble brow, a huge breast, an avid cave; between her legs snakes, swampgrass, or teeth; on her lap a helpless infant or a martyred son. She exists for one purpose: to bear and nourish the son.''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet. Of Woman Born, ch. 8 (1976).
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  • ''My children cause me the most exquisite suffering of which I have any experience. It is the suffering of ambivalence: the murderous alternation between bitter resentment and raw-edged nerves, and blissful gratification and tenderness. Sometimes I seem to myself, in my feelings toward these tiny guiltless beings, a monster of selfishness and intolerance.''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet. Of Woman Born, ch. 1 (1976).
  • ''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.''
    Adrienne Rich (20th century), U.S. author. Of Women Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution (1976).
  • ''It is ... crucial that we understand lesbian/feminism in the deepest, most radical sense: as that love for ourselves and other women, that commitment to the freedom of all of us, which transcends the category of "sexual preference" and the issue of civil rights, to become a politics of asking women's questions, demanding a world in which the integrity of all women—not a chosen few—shall be honored and validated in every respect of culture.''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet. On Lies, Secrets, and Silence, foreword (1980).
  • ''the true nature of poetry. The drive
    to connect. The dream of a common language.''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and lesbian feminist. "Origins and History of Consciousness," part 1, lines 11-12 (1972-1974).
  • ''No one lives in this room
    without confronting the whiteness of the wall
    behind the poems, planks of books,
    photographs of dead heroines.
    Without contemplating last and late
    the true nature of poetry. The drive
    to connect. The dream of a common language.''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet. Origins and History of Consciousness, The Dream of a Common Language (1978).
  • ''children are dying my death
    and eating crumbs of my life.''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet. Orion (l. 29-30). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''Pity is not your forte.
    Calmly you ache up there
    pinned aloft in your crow's nest,
    my speechless pirate!''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet. Orion (l. 31-34). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''Only to have a grief
    equal to all these tears!''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet. "Peeling Onions," Snaphots of a Daughter-in-Law (1963).
  • ''... this world gives no room
    to be what we dreamt of being''
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet and feminist. "Pieces," section 3, lines 12-13 (1969).

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