By Adrienne Rich
"Rich's lyrics are robust and mournful, sopping wet in memory." —San Francisco Chronicle
"Adrienne wealthy is difficult, as a poet and as a philosopher. The poems in cell Ringing within the Labyrinth are jam-packed with traps and snares and difficulties that stream in circles. She’s so deft, in a few enigmatic method, that she manages to drag off references and turns of word that may sink the other poet’s paintings, that might appear pretentious or overwrought in different palms. within the nine-part “Draft #2006,” that may be my favourite piece during this quantity, she prices Karl Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach partially 4, visits a farmer swallowing pesticide in Andhra Pradesh partly six, and talks in regards to the “thereness” of something partly 9 -- and but one way or the other, via whatever edgier and brainier than magic, the poem is rarely heavy-handedly political or philosophical. It’s simply thought-provoking. And round. And difficult. you'll sit down stewing over the 1st line -- “Suppose we got here again as ghosts asking the unasked questions” -- for hours, after which there are principles and photographs that supply natural excitement with their secret. The “border of poetry” is “dreamfaces blurring horrorlands.” In “rooms of mahogany and leather,/ conversations open in overseas code. Thighs and buttocks to open later by way of/ arrangement.” there's something undying approximately this poem, although it’s approximately timeliness:
They requested me, is that this time worse than another.
I stated, for whom?
Wanted to teach them whatever. whereas I wrote at the
chalkboard they drifted out. I grew to become again to an empty room.
Maybe I couldn’t write speedy adequate. probably it used to be too soon.
“Draft #2006” made me take into consideration what it's going to suggest to trap this second in background with a poem. There are poets who've succeeded in grabbing a second, epically and endlessly -- T.S. Eliot’s “Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” does it, and Ginsburg’s “Howl,” and several other of Auden’s poems and, might be so much completely, Dan Pagis’s “Written in Pencil within the Sealed Railway Car.” As I begin to give it some thought, such a lot of robust poems do trap the instant, rigidly and obviously. “Draft #2006,” as I reread it, is the sort of -- it captures a time on the planet, within the human international, that's slippery, beautiful and perhaps inevitable.
There are puzzles and their attainable options all through this quantity, and the lifeless -- skeletons, ghosts, casualties of conflict and famine, composers via their song, recognized philosophers via their phrases, William Blake -- emerge repeatedly to invite questions. They locate solutions in mystery codes -- “ghost limbs pass into spasm within the night,” “history as wallpaper/urgently chosen clipped and pasted/but the room itself nowhere,” “the exits are slick with people/going someplace quickly, ” “And underneath the surface of boredom/ indecipherable fear.” There are strangely apt convergences, unforeseen rules and subject matters that make experience jointly, as in “Hubble photos: After Sappho”:
These impersonae, even if we name them
won’t invade us as on motion picture screens
they are so previous, so new, we aren't to them
we examine them or don’t from in the milky gauze
of our tilted gazing
but they don’t glance again and we can't harm them
These are the works of a mature poet, anyone who speaks many metaphorical languages -- math, technological know-how, politics, tune, grief -- and smoothes all of them into one historic, new language. it really is infrequent that somebody within the twenty first Century, anyone with a posh schooling and a thorough bent and laurels to leisure on, doesn’t lose it as a poet, turning predictable, writing approximately trivia with no exposing greater than what’s at the web page. yet by some means, Adrienne wealthy is trickily coping with it, needling on the dermis, writing precise, actual poems. there are such a lot of dreadful instructions wealthy could’ve long past, following on unsuitable turns taken by way of such a lot of different once-great 20th century poets -- maudlin speeches, off-putting, phony sagas of gooey Californian intercourse, predictable memoirs. as a substitute, in her seventies, Adrienne wealthy has written a magnetic, attention-grabbing masterwork."