Poet Adrienne Rich (1929-2012) On Being Responsible To Yourself

Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you…it means that you do not treat your body as a commodity with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security; for our bodies to be treated as objects, our minds are in mortal danger. It means insisting that those to whom you give your friendship and love are able to respect your mind. It means being able to say, with Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre: “I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all the extraneous delights should be withheld or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”

—Celebrated lesbian poet Adrienne Rich, who died Tuesday at age 82, in Taking Women Students Seriously.

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  • mike 07042

    Such a beauthiful, powerful voice. She wrote like an angel. RIP

  • Ginasf

    She was both a great poet and a nasty hater of trans women who edited the “The Transsexual Empire” by Janice Raymond, and was thanked by her in the acknowledgements as having a big influence on the book (which is, perhaps, the most transphobic book of the 20th Century). So, while I totally understand people appreciating her impact on many aspects of feminism, the positive parts of her social activism and her writing, she doesn’t deserve a free pass… especially on a supposedly LGBTQ site.

  • Tyson

    Compulsory Heterosexuality and the Existence of Lesbians was just one of her many works that lit up the literary sky like fireworks. Her work empowered women, lesbians, men, and society.
    I and many women were inspired by her. Bless her in heaven.

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