Adrienne Rich quotes

  • The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Feminist #Connections #Force

  • I think about the possibilities for empathy, for mutual solidarity among gay men and lesbians, not simply as people who suffer under homophobia, but as people who are also extremely creative, active, and have a particular understanding of the human condition.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Gay #Men #Thinking

  • We must use what we have to invent what we desire.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Desire #Use

  • The kind of poetry that interests me is intellectual and moral and political and sexual and sensual - all of that fermenting together. It can speak to people who have themselves felt like monsters and say: you are not alone, this is not monstrous. It can disturb and enrapture.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #People #Political #Intellectual

  • We can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #People #Way

  • Poetry can add its grain to an accumulation of consciousness against the idea that there is no alternative - that we're just in the great flow of capitalism and it can never be any different - that this is human destiny, this is human nature.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Destiny #Ideas #Different

  • I am the androgyne, I am the living mind you fail to describe in your dead language the lost noun, the verb surviving only in the infinitive the letters of my name are written under the lids of the newborn child
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Children #Names #Mind

  • I think my work comes out of both an intense desire for connection and what it means to feel isolated. There's always going to be a kind of tidal movement back and forth between the two.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Mean #Thinking #Two

  • One of the great functions of art is to help us imagine what it is like to be not ourselves, what it is like to be someone or something else, what it is like to live in another skin, what it is like to live in another body, and in that sense to surpass ourselves, to go out beyond ourselves.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Art #Skins #Body

  • Art and literature have given so many people the relief of feeling connected - pulled us out of isolation. It has let us know that somebody else breathed and dreamed and had sex and loved and raged and knew loneliness the way we do.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Art #Sex #Loneliness

  • A thinking woman sleeps with monsters.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Sleep #Thinking #Monsters

  • Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Strong Women #Hard Work #Mean

  • Every poem breaks a silence that had to be overcome.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Silence #Overcoming #Break

  • We might possess every technological resource... but if our language is inadequate, our vision remains formless, our thinking and feeling are still running in the old cycles, our process may be 'revolutionary' but not transformative.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Running #Thinking #Romance

  • 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

    #Mean #Aquariums #Essentials

  • No woman is really an insider in the institutions fathered by masculine consciousness. When we allow ourselves to believe we are, we lose touch with parts of ourselves defined as unacceptable by that consciousness; with the vital toughness and visionary strength of the angry grandmothers, the fierce market women of the Ibo's Women's War, the marriage-resisting women silk workers of pre-Revolutionary China, the millions of widows, midwives, and the women healers tortured and burned as witches for three centuries in Europe.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Inspiring #War #Believe

  • The more I live, the more I think, two people together is a miracle.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Thinking #Two #People

  • 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

    #Desire #Might #Revolutionary

  • Sleeping. Turning in turn like planets rotating in their midnight meadow: a touch is enough to let us know we're not alone in the universe, even in sleep.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Sleep #Midnight #Enough

  • The unconscious wants truth. It ceases to speak to those who want something else more than truth.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Truth #Want #Speak

  • War is an absolute failure of imagination, scientific and political. That a war can be represented as helping a people to 'feel good' about themselves, or their country, is a measure of that failure.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Country #War #People

  • For now, poetry has the capacity - in its own ways and by its own means - to remind us of something we are forbidden to see.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Mean #Way #Capacity

  • One line typed twenty years ago can be blazed on a wall in spraypaint to glorify art as detachment or torture of those we did not love but also did not want to kill.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Art #Wall #Years

  • Weather abroad and weather in the heart alike come on Regardless of prediction.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Heart #Weather #Predictions

  • One does not give birth in a void, but rather in a cultural and political context. Laws, professional codes, religious sanctions, and ethnic traditions all affect women's choices concerning childbirth.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Religious #Law #Giving

  • There is no 'the truth','a truth' - truth is not one thing, or even a system. It is an increasing complexity. the pattern of the carpet is a surface. When we look closely, or when we become weavers, we learn of the tiny multiple threads unseen in the overall pattern, the knots on the underside of the carpet
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Unseen #Looks #Patterns

  • Until we know the assumptions in which we are drenched, we cannot know ourselves.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Assumption

  • We move but our words stand become responsible for more than we intended and this is verbal privilege
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Moving #Our Words #Privilege

  • There is no 'the truth,' 'a truth'--truth is not one thing, or even a system. It is an increasing complexity.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Truth Is #Complexity

  • If you think you can grasp me, think again: my story flows in more than one direction, a delta springing from the river bed with its five fingers spread.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Thinking #One Direction #Rivers

  • My heart is moved by all I cannot save: so much has been destroyed I have to cast my lot with those who age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Heart #Age #World

  • The serious revolutionary, like the serious artist, can't afford to lead a sentimental or self-deceiving life.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Artist #Self #Sentimental

  • 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

    #Mind #Trying #Relief

  • Whatever is unnamed, undepicted in images, whatever is omitted from biography, censored in collections of letters, whatever is misnamed as something else, made difficult-to-come-by, whatever is buried in the memory by the collapse of meaning under an inadequate or lying language - this will become, not merely unspoken, but unspeakable.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Memories #Lying #Letters

  • Poems are like dreams: in them you put what you don't know you know.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Dream

  • I am a feminist because I feel endangered, psychically and physically, by this society and because I believe that the women's movement is saying that we have come to an edge of history when men - insofar as they are embodiments of the patriarchal idea - have become dangerous to children and other living things, themselves included
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Children #Believe #Bad Ass

  • False history gets made all day, any day, the truth of the new is never on the news.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #New Day #News #Made

  • We who were loved will never unlive that crippling fever.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Love #Fever

  • To write as if your life depended on it; to write across the chalkboard, putting up there in public the words you have dredged; sieved up in dreams, from behind screen memories, out of silence-- words you have dreaded and needed in order to know you exist.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Dream #Memories #Writing

  • Life on the planet is born of woman.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Inspirational Life #Born #Planets

  • The danger lies in forgetting what we had. The flow between generations becomes a trickle, grandchildren tape-recording grandparents' memories on special occasions perhaps-no casual storytelling jogged by daily life, there being no shared daily life what with migrations, exiles, diasporas, rendings, the search for work. Or there is a shared daily life riddled with holes of silence.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Memories #Lying #Grandchildren

  • Courage is not defined by those who fought and did not fall, but by those who fought, fell and rose again.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Fall #Recovery #Rose

  • Every journey into the past is complicated by delusions, false memories, false namings of real events.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Fake People #Memories #Real

  • The words are purposes./The words are maps./I came to see the damage that was done/and the treasures that prevail.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Purpose #Done #Maps

  • An honorable human relationship- that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word "love"- is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other. It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation. It is important to do this because in doing so we do justice to our own complexity. It is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Love #Self #Two

  • Art means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of power which holds it hostage.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Art #Mean #Tables

  • We need to imagine a world in which every woman is the presiding genius of her own body. In such a world women will truly create new life, bringing forth not only children if and as we choose but the visions, and the thinking, necessary to sustain, console and alter human existence-a new relationship to the universe. Sexuality, politics, intelligence, power, motherhood, work, community, intimacy will develop new meanings; thinking itself will be transformed. This is where we have to begin.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Children #New Relationship #Motherhood

  • Poetry is the liquid voice that can wear through stone.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Writing #Voice #Stones

  • I feel more helpless with you than without you.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Without You #Feels #Helpless

  • 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

    #Rejection #Males #Way

  • The mother's battle for her child with sickness, with poverty, with war, with all the forces of exploitation and callousness that cheapen human life needs to become a common human battle, waged in love and in the passion for survival.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Mother #Children #War

  • Lying is done with words and also with silence.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Truth #Integrity #Lying

  • If you are trying to transform a brutalized society into one where people can live in dignity and hope, you begin with the empowering of the most powerless. You build from the ground up.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Peace #Ubuntu #People

  • There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Inspirational #Warrior #Down And

  • You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Writing

  • I came to explore the wreck.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Wrecks

  • It's exhilarating to be alive in a time of awakening consciousness; it can also be confusing, disorienting, and painful.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Inspirational #Time #Pain

  • Behind all art is an element of desire...Love of life, of existence, love of another human being, love of human beings is in some way behind all art — even the most angry, even the darkest, even the most grief-stricken, and even the most embittered art has that element somewhere behind it. Because how could you be so despairing, so embittered, if you had not had something you loved that you lost?
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Art #Grief #Love Life

  • 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

    #Relationship #Language #Concentration

  • When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Creating #Telling The Truth #Possibility

  • Re-vision -- the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction - is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Eye #Survival #Vision

  • When the landscape buckles and jerks around, when a dust column of debris rises from the collapse of a block of buildings on bodies that could have been your own, when the staves of history fall awry and the barrel of time bursts apart, some turn to prayer, some to poetry: words in the memory, a stained book carried close to the body, the notebook scribbled by hand--a center of gravity.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Notebook #Memories #Prayer

  • ... passion for survival is the great theme of women's poetry.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Passion #Poetry #Survival

  • Can you remember? when we thought the poets taught how to live?
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Life #Poetry #Taught

  • Change is not a threat to your life, but an invitation to live.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Threat #Invitations

  • Reality, the oppressor's tongue.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Reality #Poetry #Tongue

  • ... 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

    #Spiritual #Voice #Aquifers

  • ... if, as women, we accept a philosophy of history that asserts that women are by definition assimilated into the male universal,that we can understand our past through a male lens--if we are unaware that women even have a history--we live our lives similarly unanchored, drifting in response to a veering wind of myth and bias.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Philosophy #Past #Wind

  • We have seen over and over that white male historians in general have tended to dismiss any history they didn't themselves write,on the grounds that it is unserious, unscholarly, a fad, too "political," "merely" oral and thus unreliable.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Writing #White #History

  • False history gets made all day, any day, the truth of the new is never on the news False history gets written every day ... the lesbian archaeologist watches herself sifting her own life out from the shards she's piecing, asking the clay all questions but her own.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #History #Clay #Watches

  • To become a token woman--whether you win the Nobel Prize or merely get tenure at the cost of denying your sisters--is to become something less than a mansince men are loyal at least to their own world-view, their laws of brotherhood and self-interest.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Winning #Men #Self

  • The belief that established science and scholarship--which have so relentlessly excluded women from their making--are "objective"and "value-free" and that feminist studies are "unscholarly," "biased," and "ideological" dies hard. Yet the fact is that all science, and all scholarship, and all art are ideological; there is no neutrality in culture!
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Art #Feminist #Culture

  • The decision to feed the world is the real decision. No revolution has chosen it. For that choice requires that women shall be free.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Real #Choices #Decision

  • ... this world gives no room to be what we dreamt of being
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Giving #World #Rooms

  • When my dreams showed signs of becoming politically correct no unruly images escaping beyond borders ... then I began to wonder
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Dream #Escaping #Political

  • To work and suffer is to be at home. All else is scenery ...
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Home #Suffering #Scenery

  • The dialectic between change and continuity is a painful but deeply instructive one, in personal life as in the life of a people.To "see the light" too often has meant rejecting the treasures found in darkness.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Change #Light #People

  • ... how have I used rivers, how have I used wars to escape writing of the worst thing of all-- not the crimes of other, not even our own death, but the failure to want our freedom passionately enough so that blighted elms, sick rivers, massacres would seem mere emblems of that desecration of ourselves?
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Freedom #War #Writing

  • What would it mean to live in a city whose people were changing each other's despair into hope?-- You yourself must change it.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Hope #Mean #Cities

  • It is the lesbian in us who is creative, for the dutiful daughter of the fathers in us is only a hack.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Daughter #Father #Creativity

  • A life I didn't choose chose me: even my tools are the wrong ones for what I have to do.
    -- Adrienne Rich

    #Life #Tools