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

Poem of the Week: The One Girl at the Boys Party,…

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