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Quotations From ADRIENNE RICH

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  • 11.
    ... I am an instrument in the shape/of a woman trying to translate pulsations/into images for the relief of the body/and the reconstruction of the mind.
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet and feminist. "Planetarium," lines 42-45 (1968). Thinking of Caroline Herschel (1750-1848), an astronomer.

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  • 12.
    A thinking woman sleeps with monsters.
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet. Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law (l. 26). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.

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  • 13.
    Poetry is above all a concentration of the power of language, which is the power of our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe.
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and feminist. The Work of a Common Woman, by Judy Grahn, introductory essay (1978).

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  • 14.
    A revolutionary poem will not tell you who or when to kill, what and when to burn, or even how to theorize. It reminds you ... where and when and how you are living and might live—it is a wick of desire.
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and lesbian feminist. What Is Found There, ch. 28 (1993).

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  • 15.
    We see daily that our lives are terrible and little, without continuity, buyable and salable at any moment, mere blips on a screen, that this is the way we live now. Memory marketed as nostalgia; terror reduced to mere suspense, to melodrama.
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet and essayist. What is Found There, ch. 3 (1993).

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  • 16.
    The repossession by women of our bodies will bring far more essential change to human society than the seizing of the means of production by workers.
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and lesbian feminist. From Of Woman Born (1986). As quoted in Moving Beyond Words, part 2, by Gloria Steinem (1994).

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  • 17.
    I do not think [poetry] is more, or less, necessary than food, shelter, health, education, decent working conditions. It is as necessary.
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet and essayist. What Is Found There, preface (1993). Written in February 1993.

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  • 18.
    ... in a history of spiritual rupture, a social compact built on fantasy and collective secrets, poetry becomes more necessary than ever: it keeps the underground aquifers flowing; it is the liquid voice that can wear through stone.
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and lesbian feminist. What Is Found There, ch. 16 (1993).

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  • 19.
    ... the 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.
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet, essayist, and lesbian feminist. What Is Found There, ch. 14 (1993). Written in 1991 about the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.: a black granite wall designed by Maya Lin and inscribed with the names of Americans who died in that war.

    Read more quotations about / on: grief, war, heart
  • 20.
    Lesbian existence comprises both the breaking of a taboo and the rejection of a compulsory way of life. It is also a direct or indirect attack on the male right of access to women.
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet. "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence," Blood, Bread and Poetry (1986).

    Read more quotations about / on: women, life
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