Today is the birthday of Adrienne Rich, a contemporary American poet who is very famous for her political and powerful writing. I spent many years hating Rich for being too into politics and feminism and for being too playful with language. But after writing about her for a paper in my American lit class last year, I began to develop a fondness for Rich. Shes not as fun to read as other poets, but her work is important and necessary.
Heres one of my favorite Adrienne Rich poems, Power. Its about the Nobel Prize-winning scientist, Marie Curie, who Ive been obsessed with since high school, when I read a biography about her. I like the idea of two fascinating women – Rich and Curie – coming together in this piece. Enjoy!
Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth
for living on this earth in the winters of this climate
she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness
the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil
her wounds came from the same source as her power
Poem of the Week: MCMXIV, by Philip Larkin
Poem of the Week: Power, by Adrienne Rich
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