Adrienne Rich Quotes

  • The moment of change is the only poem.

  • Poetry is above all a concentration of the power of language, which is the power of our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe.

  • 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.

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

  • Pride is a tricky, glorious, double-edged feeling.

  • The worker can unionize, go out on strike; mothers are divided from each other in homes, tied to their children by compassionate bonds; our wildcat strikes have most often taken the form of physical or mental breakdown.

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

  • Lying is done with words and also with silence.

  • 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.

  • Poetry can't give us the laws and institutions and representatives, the antidotes we need: only public activism by massive numbers of citizens can do that.

  • 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.

  • I want to gesture toward a poetry of ourselves and others under the conditions of twenty-first-century absolutism, making us dimensional in a time when the human concrete is continually erased by state and religious violence and by disingenuous jargon serving state power.

  • I keep coming back to you in my head, but you couldn't know that, and I have no carbons.

  • Art, whose honesty must work through artifice, cannot avoid cheating truth.

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

  • At twenty, I implicitly dissociated poetry from politics.

  • 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.

  • A thinking woman sleeps with monsters.

  • They can rule the world while they can persuade us our pain belongs in some order is death by famine worse than death by suicide, than a life of famine and suicide?

  • 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.

  • 'Storm Warnings' is a poem about powerlessness - about a force so much greater than our human powers that while it can be measured and even predicted, it is beyond human control. All 'we' can do is create an interior space against the storm, an enclave of self-protection, though the winds of change till penetrate keyholes and 'unsealed apertures.'

  • Life on the planet is born of woman.

  • The mind's passion is all for singling out. Obscurity has another tale to tell.

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

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