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Adrienne Rich: A Voice Of Liberation 1929-2012

About the poet

Adrienne Cecile Rich (May 16, 1929 March 27, 2012) was an
American poet, essayist and feminist. She was called "one of the
most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th
century", and was credited with bringing "the oppression of women
and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse.
She was born in Baltimore in May 16, 1929. Her father, the
renowned pathologist Arnold Rice Rich belonged to a Jewish family,
was the Chairman of Pathology at The Johns Hopkins Medical
School, and her mother, Helen Elizabeth (Jones) Rich (a Southern
Protestant), was a concert pianist (before she married) and a
Rich died on March 27, 2012, at the age of 82 in her Santa Cruz,
California home. Her son, Pablo Conrad, reported that her death
resulted from long-term rheumatoid arthritis.

Selected awards and honours1950: Yale Younger Poets Award for A Change of World.
1952: Guggenheim Fellowship
1960: National Institute of Arts and Letters Award
1970: Shelley Memorial Award
1974: National Book Award for Poetry (a split award) for Diving into the Wreck
1979: Honorary Doctorate Smith College
1986: Inaugural Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize
1989: Honorary doctorate from Harvard University
1989: National Poetry Association Award for Distinguished Service to the Art of Poetry
1990: William Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement (for gay or lesbian writing)
1991: Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service
1991: Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1992: Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize
1992: Poets' Prize for Atlas of the Difficult World
1992: Frost Medal
1992: Academy of American Poets Fellowship
1994: MacArthur Fellowship
1996: Wallace Stevens Award
1997: National Medal of Arts (refused)
1999: Lifetime Achievement Award from the Lannan Foundation
2006: National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
2010: Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Poetry Prize

Rich's works
Non fiction books
Each year links to its corresponding "[year] in literature"
1976: Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and
Institution. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-31284-3.
1979: On Lies, Secrets and Silence: Selected Prose, 19661978
1986: Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose, 19791985
(Includes the noted essay: "Compulsory Heterosexuality and
Lesbian Existence")
1993: What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics
2001: Arts of the Possible: Essays and Conversations. W.W.
Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-05045-5.
2007: Poetry and Commitment: An Essay
2009: A Human Eye: Essays on Art in Society, 19972008

Poetry collections
1951: A Change of World. Yale University Press.
1955: The Diamond Cutters, and Other Poems. Harper.
1963: Snapshots of a daughter-in-law: poems, 1954-1962. Harper & Row.
1966: Necessities of life: poems, 1962-1965. W.W. Norton.
1967: Selected Poems. Chatto & Hogarth P Windus.
1969: Leaflets. W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-03-930419-5.
1971: The Will to Change: Poems 1968-1970. Norton.
1973: Diving into the Wreck. W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-31163-1.
1975: Poems: Selected and New, 1950-1974. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-04392-1.
1976: Twenty-one Love Poems. Effie's Press.
1978: The Dream of a Common Language. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-04502-4.
1982: A Wild Patience Has Taken Me this Far: Poems 1978-1981. W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated.
ISBN 978-0-393-31037-5. (reprint 1993)
1983: Sources. Heyeck Press.
1984: The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems Selected and New, 1950-1984. W. W. Norton & Company,
Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-393-31075-7.
1986: Your Native Land, Your Life: Poems. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-02318-3.
1989: Times Power: Poems, 1985-1988. Norton. 1989. ISBN 978-0-393-02677-1.
1991: An Atlas of the Difficult World: Poems 1988-1991. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-03069-3.
1993: Collected Early Poems, 1950-1970. W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-393-31385-7.
1995: Dark Fields of the Republic: Poems, 1991-1995. W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-03868-2.
1996: Selected poems, 1950-1995. Salmon Pub.. ISBN 978-1-897648-78-0.
1999: Midnight Salvage: Poems, 1995-1998. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-04682-3.
2001: Fox: Poems 1998-2000. W W Norton & Co Inc. ISBN 978-0-393-32377-1. (reprint 2003)
2004: The School Among the Ruins: Poems, 2000-2004. W. W. Norton & Co.. ISBN 978-0-393-32755-7.
2007: Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth: Poems 20042006. ISBN 978-0-393-06565-7.
2010: Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010. ISBN 0-393-07967-8.

6 Powerful Adrienne Rich Quotes

1. Great advice for Sports Illustrated swimsuit models right here:
"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
2. Wise words for writers: "You must write, and read, as if your life depended
on it."
3. Consider this in relationships: "Lying is done with words, and also with
4. The connections between women: "The connections between and among
women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most
potentially transforming force on the planet."
5. On war: "War is an absolute failure of imagination, scientific and political.
That a war can be represented as helping a people to 'feel good' about
themselves, or their country, is a measure of that failure."
6. Inspiration about activism: "If you are trying to transform a brutalized
society into one where people can live in dignity and hope, you begin with
the empowering of the most powerless. You build from the ground up."

Aunt Jennifers Tigers

Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen,
Bright topaz denizens of a world of green.
They do not fear the men beneath the tree;
They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.
Aunt Jennifer's finger fluttering through her wool
Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand.

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie

Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.
The tigers in the panel that she made
Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.

Few Word meanings

Prance- To walk or move about spiritedly

Denizens-An inhabitant; a resident
Pace-A step made in walking
Sleek-Smooth and lustrous as if polished; glossy
Chivalric- of having the qualities idealized by knighthood,
such as bravery, courtesy, honour, and gallantry
Panel - A flat, usually rectangular piece forming a raised,
recessed, or framed part of the surface in which it is set
Ordeals- A difficult or painful experience
The tigers are Aunt Jennifer's means of escape from the things that
upset her the most. These creatures are what the protagonist uses to
illustrate the side of her that no one is able to see.


Tigers-freedom and courage

Topaz-brightness and
Wedding ring-oppression


An Analysis of "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" It is difficult to depict a primary

poetic technique within this poem. The reason being that, many devices
are used to bring forth the message that Rich has embedded within it.
However, symbolism is the most prominent. The poem is set in a
traditional format, using simple rhyme and meter to give the reader a
sense of formality. Adrienne Rich's "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers", depicts an
audacious woman trapped within a timid and suppressed life. Marriage
and the culture that supports it have effected the character in this poem
greatly. Reality seems inescapable because of the ring that "sits heavily
upon Aunt Jennifer's hand". The tapestry that Aunt Jennifer is creating
in the poem, is very symbolic of her potential. When you picture a tiger,
the words power, fluidity, nobility, and strength may accompany that
image. Those same words accompany the hidden life of Aunt Jennifer.
The first stanza opens the poem with a truly bold image of tigers as
"They pace in sleek chivalric certainty". The tigers obviously have a very
significant symbolic purpose in this poem. They portray the fearlessness,
assertion and power, that Aunt Jennifer displaces in order to lead her

Wedding Bands

I:\Aunt Jennifer's Tigers.mp4

I:\Aunt Jennifer's tigers-the poem.mp4