Poet and essayist

16th. May 1929 - 27th. March 2012

I choose to be a figure in that light,
half blotted by darkness, something moving
across that space, the color of stone
greeting the moon, yet more than stone:
a woman. I choose to walk here. And to draw this circle.

Adrienne Rich was an American poet. Back in the mid 80s, when I first came across her poems, you would rarely find her books on an English bookshop shelf. I had to specially order in expensive, imported copies of her collections. But it was worth it. I regard her as one of the foremost poets of the second half of the twentieth century. I am not a woman, let alone a lesbian, so I could never own Adrienne's writings. But she did reinforce my belief in the commonality of all people, a commonality grounded in our experience of love, the joy of its discovery and the pain of its loss.

It was only a few weeks ago that I checked on Wikipedia to see if Adrienne was still alive. I was so happy to discover that she was. Today, I'm not so happy. Today, in fact, I am sad. But it's the bitter sweet sadness you feel on the death of a person who has lived long and well; a person of integrity; a person who achieved a heck of a lot and made life worth living for many, many people who owe much of their present happiness and freedom to her, at least in part.

She was also drop dead gorgeous.



  1. Memory Eternal!

    I think she’d appreciate my 1980s pinko solidarity compene~ra talk, so I’ll put it that way:

    !Adrienne, Presente!

  2. I too greatly admired her poetry and was sad to read of her passing. From the obits last night I was surprised to learn that (1) she was born and raised in Baltimore, about a mile from where I live; and (2) she was brought up Episcopalian. Her father was Jewish, her mother Christian. In later life she identified more as a Jew, apparently.

    It seems to me she followed her calling as faithfully and as passionately as anyone could, and will surely rest in peace and rise in glory.