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Transcript of Adrienne Rich
The Younger Adrienne Rich
Her Later Life
Early Life and Family Roots
Evident Talent at an Early Age
Her father encouraged her to read and recite poetry as a child.
He was very critical of her work but nevertheless, groomed her writing abilities.
Interestingly, Adrienne was said to have had fingers stained with ink from writing and practicing her penmanship so often.
As a child, she read William Blake, John Keats, Robert Frost, and T.S Eliot.
One of her dreams as a child was to travel to Europe.
She already had some works published as a young girl.
Her Family Upbringings
Adrienne's family was very diverse in religion.
Her father was a Jew and her mother was a Protestant, but she was raised as a Christian and baptized in the Episcopal Church.
She attended Radcliffe College, the sister college to Harvard at that time.
Adrienne began to experiment and develop her writing style. Around that time in 1951, her poetry collection,
A Change of World
, was published and she received an award as a Yale Younger Poet.
Her Personal Life
Adrienne married Alfred Conrad a graduate of Harvard. Her marriage completely dissatisfied her parents, and she broke relations with them shortly after her marriage.
A few years after having three children, Adrienne divorced Alfred Conrad. One year later, he committed suicide.
Her role as a mother and wife strained her career and she wrote a lot on her conflicted purpose of being a mother, wife, and poet.
Near this time, her life shaped many of her early works including,
The Diamond Cutters and Other Poems, Snapshots of a Daughter in Law
Necessities of Life.
Some of Her Works
Leaflets: Poems (1965-1968)
The Will to Change (1971)
Diving into the Wreck: (1971-1972)
Poems: Selected and New (1950-1974)
Twenty-One Love Poems (1976)
The Dream of Common Language (1974-1977)
Other Popular Feminist Writers
Feminist Poets: Barbara Hutchins, Barbara Drake and Margaret Atwood
More about Adrienne Rich
Anti-War Movement during the Vietnam War
Civil Rights activism
Women's Rights activism
Gay Right's activism
She publicly made known her Lesbianism in the 1970s.
She spoke out for many gay right movements, and much of her work expresses her lesbianism.
Her Advocacy and Political Views
She wrote about various political topics including gay rights, feminism, women’s rights, and civil rights. Her left wing views are clearly evident in her political works.
“It will require a courageous grasp of the politics and economics, as well as the cultural propaganda, of heterosexuality to carry us beyond individual cases or diversified group situations into the complex kind of overview needed to undo the power men everywhere wield over women, power which has become a model for every other form of exploitation and illegitimate control” (Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence).
“My mother is a gentile. In Jewish law I cannot count myself a Jew. If it is true that "we think back through our mothers if we are women" (Virginia Woolf)--and I myself have affirmed this--then even according to lesbian theory, I cannot (or need not?) count myself a Jew” (Reading of History).
“The social world in which I grew up was christian virtually without needing to say so-christian imagery, music, language, symbols, assumptions everywhere- It was also a genteel, white, middle-class world in which "common" was a term of deep opprobrium” (Reading of History).
"Adrienne Rich, Feminist Poet and Essayist, Dead at 82; Rich Influenced a Generation of Women Writers." NY Daily News. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.
"Adrienne Rich Photos Profile Photo." Photos of Adrienne Rich. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.
"American Poets of the 20th Century The Poets Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)." Adrienne Rich (1929-2012). N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.
Rich, Adrienne. "Adrienne Rich Reads Prospective Immigrants Please Note." Vimeo. Vimeo, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.
Rich, Adrienne. “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence.” Signs, Vol. 5, No. 4, Women: Sex and Sexuality. (Summer, 1980), pp. 631-660.
Rich, Adrienne. ""Power" Animation (read by Adrienne Rich)." Vimeo. Vimeo, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2014
Rich, Adrienne. "Readings of History." Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law; Poems, 1954-1962. New York: W. W. Norton, 1967. 35-40. Print.
"Rich's Life and Career--by Deborah Pope." Rich's Life and Career--by Deborah Pope. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.
"Zen and Genki." Zen and Genki. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.
"And I won't tell you where it is, so why do I tell you anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these to have you listen at all, it's necessary to talk about
What Kind of Times Are These
Adrienne was born on May 16, 1929 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Her mother, Helen Jones, was a concert pianist and composer but after marriage she gave up her career.
Her father worked as a doctor and professor of pathology.
Growing up the older of two sisters, she lived in a house primarily dominated by women.
(Prospective Immigrants Please Note, Adrienne Rich)
(Power, Adrienne Rich)
Two Selected Poems..
Prospective Immigrants Please Note
This poem is more direct and delivers a specific message to a “prospective immigrant”. She wants the immigrant, to remember his or her origins are rooted in his or her country and to never forget who he or she is. She even advises that while the immigrant may choose to stay or leave his or her country, the door, hence the new country has no guarantees.
The speaker is not known, it could be Rich...
Rich writes the poem about Marie Curie, as a means of exploring a successful woman of science in a time in the 1860s when women rarely held jobs in science fields.
Marie Curie suffered from radiation sickness, thus she died of her own discovery, radium, which is what Rich means when she says that Marie Curie died from the own power which she sought and possessed.