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Note on Adrienne Rich’s Poetry

January 8, 2013

Sometimes, between thoughts/scenes of a story I’m working on, I’ll do others things like sketch. It keeps the “creative wheels” turning. Today I worked on this sketch of Adrienne Rich (1929-2012).

I only recently discovered who she was in a monthly review someone lent me for reading. I found a few of her poems, Liberté and Ballad of the Poverties. I like both, especially the latter, which I will discuss here.

Each line describes the hapless things that sometimes happen in life, or more than that: hapless lives. The last line of each stanza is: “ There are poverties and there are poverties.”

This poem is addressed to “Princes.”

Throughout the poem are hard choices and struggle.

I believe that Adrienne Rich is describing people in America and talking to the government. For she says: “Princes of Predation,” “Princes of Finance,” “Princes of Weaponry,” who have not ever tasted war.

I find a lot of meaning(s) in this poem: the rich get richer, the poor stay poor. Whatever we are going through, probably there is somebody somewhere going through worse. Don’t judge or think you are better than those less fortunate. Because in the end, she says, “Here’s a mirror you can look into: take it: it’s yours.”

I just truly like this poem, and I understand it, but it’s more of an unspoken understanding. I find it difficult to decide whether I’ve explained clearly or completely–that happens when things are so profound.

That’s another thing I love about poetry. No matter how clearly written, it’s still ambiguous, because different readers will have different thoughts. If you can find this poem and read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.


From → Art, BLOG

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