You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Adrienne Rich

The World As It Is: Learning To Read Adrienne Rich

The words are purposes.
​The words are maps.

            —Adrienne Rich, from Diving into the Wreck

When I think of Adrienne Rich, I think about the differences between maps and routes, between shortcuts and whole geographies. I think about the difference between following directions that lead you straight from A to B and sitting down with your Atlas of the Difficult World with no destination yet in mind. I think about trying to take in all that maps have to tell you with your heart and eyes open, about looking to learn without knowing what you will find or where this new knowledge will lead you. When I think about Adrienne Rich, I think of the different ways we learn, the different ways we come to know the world, ourselves, and vice versa. 

Adrienne Rich, 1929 - 2012

“The words are maps,” Adrienne Rich writes in “Diving Into the Wreck,” and, indeed, for my generation of feminists, Rich’s words have provided the compass by which we were able to orient ourselves and reorient our thinking through many stages of our work over many decades. I teach an essay or poem of hers in virtually every course, every semester. To read Rich and to teach her is to engage with the words of a beautiful sensitive writer and the thought of a tough, responsive and deeply committed intellectual who takes nothing for granted.

Passover poetry: Re-telling the story of our own lives

National Poetry Month officially began yesterday. It is not altogether clear why the Academy of American Poets chose April as the month to celebrate poets and poetry.

A poem for Adrienne

Another Obituary

 

Adrienne Rich: navigating hope

The news of Adrienne Rich’s death yesterday at age 82 sent me immediately to my bookshelves and an extended swim through the currents of words she has left behind. All writers believe in the power of words—and maybe especially poets, whose words are fewer and so carefully chosen—but for me Rich’s writing particularly and persuasively argued for the ability of words, language, expression to create new realities, to change the world.

Enthusiastic agitators: Jewish women on birth control

I'm not the first one to point out how outrageous it is that in 2012, birth control is a controversial political issue. In these trying times, it helps to look back to the Jewish women who have come before us--and already fought this war for us--for outrage, guidance, and inspiration.

Below are some thoughts from Jewish women on contraception, taken from the handy book, The Quotable Jewish Woman, edited and compiled by Elaine Bernstein Partnow.

Art, justice, and Adrienne Rich

Here we are, poised on the edge of a "holiday weekend" in which we celebrate America's independence through those ever-meaningful traditions of barbeque, fireworks, and shopping sales.

Adrienne Rich rejects National Medal for the Arts

July 3, 1997

Poet Adrienne Rich made headlines by refusing to accept the National Medal for the Arts.

Women's Studies in the United States

Jewish women have played an impressive part in creating women’s studies as an academic discipline in the United States.

Poetry in the United States

The contributions of Jewish women poets to American literary history and political activism, as well as to the enrichment of Jewish culture and practice, are astounding.

Pages

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Adrienne Rich." (Viewed on November 24, 2014) <http://jwa.org/taxonomy/term/12019>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs