Skip to comments.Adrienne Rich, Feminist Poet and Essayist, Dead at 82; Rich Influenced a Generation of Women Writers
Posted on 03/29/2012 12:40:19 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Rich explored topics such as women's rights, racism, sexuality and economic justice
Adrienne Rich, a fiercely gifted, award-winning poet whose socially conscious verse influenced a generation of feminist, gay rights and anti-war activists, has died. She was 82.
Rich died Tuesday at her Santa Cruz home from complications from rheumatoid arthritis, said her son, Pablo Conrad. She had lived in Santa Cruz since the 1980s.
Through her writing, Rich explored topics such as women's rights, racism, sexuality, economic justice and love between women.
(Excerpt) Read more at nydailynews.com ...
Outside of English Lit majors, I'm not sure she was read.
Her demise is no loss to society...move on.
I recall her being shoved down my throat in college by my leftist humanities instructor. Also shoved down my throat was Herbert Marcuse. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
“Rich explored topics such as women’s rights, racism, sexuality and economic justice”
How come I never hear about poets exploring normal things like gun rights or the pleasures of a single malt scotch?
Never heard of ‘em.
One thang for shore, she never wrote lyrics to Earl Scruggs’ compositions. Now, who’s the third one?
How does one become a “a fiercely gifted” poet? There’s big money in that, isn’t there?
“You must choose between me and your cigar.”
— BREACH OF PROMISE CASE, CIRCA 1885.
Open the old cigar-box, get me a Cuba stout,
For things are running crossways, and Maggie and I are out.
We quarrelled about Havanas — we fought o’er a good cheroot,
And I knew she is exacting, and she says I am a brute.
Open the old cigar-box — let me consider a space;
In the soft blue veil of the vapour musing on Maggie’s face.
Maggie is pretty to look at — Maggie’s a loving lass,
But the prettiest cheeks must wrinkle, the truest of loves must pass.
There’s peace in a Larranaga, there’s calm in a Henry Clay;
But the best cigar in an hour is finished and thrown away —
Thrown away for another as perfect and ripe and brown —
But I could not throw away Maggie for fear o’ the talk o’ the town!
Maggie, my wife at fifty — grey and dour and old —
With never another Maggie to purchase for love or gold!
And the light of Days that have Been the dark of the Days that Are,
And Love’s torch stinking and stale, like the butt of a dead cigar —
The butt of a dead cigar you are bound to keep in your pocket —
With never a new one to light tho’ it’s charred and black to the socket!
Open the old cigar-box — let me consider a while.
Here is a mild Manila — there is a wifely smile.
Which is the better portion — bondage bought with a ring,
Or a harem of dusky beauties, fifty tied in a string?
Counsellors cunning and silent — comforters true and tried,
And never a one of the fifty to sneer at a rival bride?
Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes,
Peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close,
This will the fifty give me, asking nought in return,
With only a Suttee’s passion — to do their duty and burn.
This will the fifty give me. When they are spent and dead,
Five times other fifties shall be my servants instead.
The furrows of far-off Java, the isles of the Spanish Main,
When they hear my harem is empty will send me my brides again.
I will take no heed to their raiment, nor food for their mouths withal,
So long as the gulls are nesting, so long as the showers fall.
I will scent ‘em with best vanilla, with tea will I temper their hides,
And the Moor and the Mormon shall envy who read of the tale of my brides.
For Maggie has written a letter to give me my choice between
The wee little whimpering Love and the great god Nick o’ Teen.
And I have been servant of Love for barely a twelvemonth clear,
But I have been Priest of Cabanas a matter of seven year;
And the gloom of my bachelor days is flecked with the cheery light
Of stumps that I burned to Friendship and Pleasure and Work and Fight.
And I turn my eyes to the future that Maggie and I must prove,
But the only light on the marshes is the Will-o’-the-Wisp of Love.
Will it see me safe through my journey or leave me bogged in the mire?
Since a puff of tobacco can cloud it, shall I follow the fitful fire?
Open the old cigar-box — let me consider anew —
Old friends, and who is Maggie that I should abandon you?
A million surplus Maggies are willing to bear the yoke;
And a woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke.
Light me another Cuba — I hold to my first-sworn vows.
If Maggie will have no rival, I’ll have no Maggie for Spouse!
The Army Musket—1700-1815
In the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise—
An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes—
At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.
Though her sight was not long and her weight was not small,
Yet her actions were winning, her language was clear;
And everyone bowed as she opened the ball
On the arm of some high-gaitered, grim grenadier.
Half Europe admitted the striking success
Of the dances and routs that were given by Brown Bess.
When ruffles were turned into stiff leather stocks,
And people wore pigtails instead of perukes,
Brown Bess never altered her iron-grey locks.
She knew she was valued for more than her looks.
“Oh, powder and patches was always my dress,
And I think am killing enough,” said Brown Bess.
So she followed her red-coats, whatever they did,
From the heights of Quebec to the plains of Assaye,
From Gibraltar to Acre, Cape Town and Madrid,
And nothing about her was changed on the way;
(But most of the Empire which now we possess
Was won through those years by old-fashioned Brown Bess.)
In stubborn retreat or in stately advance,
From the Portugal coast to the cork-woods of Spain,
She had puzzled some excellent Marshals of France
Till none of them wanted to meet her again:
But later, near Brussels, Napoleon—no less—
Arranged for a Waterloo ball with Brown Bess.
She had danced till the dawn of that terrible day—
She danced till the dusk of more terrible night,
And before her linked squares his battalions gave way,
And her long fierce quadrilles put his lancers to flight:
And when his gilt carriage drove off in the press,
“I have danced my last dance for the world!” said Brown Bess.
If you go to Museums—there’s one in Whitehall—
Where old weapons are shown with their names writ beneath,
You will find her, upstanding, her back to the wall,
As stiff as a ramrod, the flint in her teeth.
And if ever we English had reason to bless
Any arm save our mothers’, that arm is Brown Bess!
Never heard of her
Joe Diffie (Written by Dave Gibson.)
My favorite poet is Nipsey Russell.
I wonder if her “poetry” is as nauseating as Maya Angelou’s.