New York Times: Adrienne Rich, 1929-2012
“Adrienne Rich, a poet of towering reputation and towering rage, whose work — distinguished by an unswerving progressive vision and a dazzling, empathic ferocity — brought the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse and kept it there for nearly a half-century, died on Tuesday at her home in Santa Cruz, Calif. She was 82.
The cause was complications of rheumatoid arthritis, with which she had lived for most of her adult life, her family said.”
I loved studying poetry in college and grad school, and Adrienne Rich was one of the poets of that time period for me. We all pass, eventually, but the fact that the disease that we both share finally ended her life saddens me beyond words.
Someone at a table under a brown metal lamp
is studying the history of poetry.
Someone in the library at closing-time
has learned to say modernism,
trope, vatic, text.
She is listening for shreds of music.
He is searching for his name
back in the old country.
They cannot learn without teachers.
They are like us what we were
if you remember.
In a corner of night a voice
is crying in a kind of whisper:
Can you remember? when we thought
the poets taught how to live?
That is not the voice of a critic
nor a common reader
it is someone young in anger
hardly knowing what to ask
who finds our lines our glosses
wanting in this world.