Jewish Women on the Map - Santa Cruz, CA - Home of Poet Adrienne Rich
From her home in Santa Cruz on July 3, 1997, poet Adrienne Rich informed Jane Alexander, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, that she would not accept the National Medal for the Arts. To accept the award, she felt, would be hypocritical in view of the country's widening socio-economic gap. In her typical hard-hitting style, Rich wrote that, "art—in my own case the art of poetry—means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of power which holds it hostage." Both the national recognition and Rich's principled refusal were emblematic of the place this poet has come to occupy in American culture.
See also: "Adrienne Rich rejects National Medal for the Arts", This Week in History; Adrienne Cecile Rich, Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia.