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Farewell to Adrienne Rich

It is a bit embarrassing to admit that I sleep with my Blackberry next to the bed.  It is not because I am that compulsive (though Jim would disagree), but because I am too lazy/busy to buy a proper alarm clock.  So I use the Blackberry.  Before I drag myself out of bed, I often check the email–not because I am that complusive, but because I don’t want to leave the warm sheets–and I can then see what my American friends and family have written during the night.

Adrienne Rich died today at 82.

This morning, I had an email from my daughter, Caitlin, telling me Adrienne Rich had died.  She told me she had discovered Rich as a junior in college.  It reminded me of my own introduction to Rich in a graduate class at the University of Texas many years ago.  But my daughter also pointed to something that we both share with Rich and that is the conviction that sexual sovereignty is the key to the future for women.  She sent me this quote from Rich, which I have subsequently sent to others during the day: ”The repossession by women of our bodies will bring far more essential change to human society than the seizing of the means of production by workers.”

Later, reading some of the obituaries online, I learned of Rich’s flowering as a feminist during the 1960s and 1970s (when many of us “flowered” in that particular way).  One critic observed that Rich’s transformation was  “astonishing to watch . . . .  In one woman the history of women in the 20th century, from careful traditional obedience to cosmic awareness, defying the mode of our time.”  What a great comment on a person’s life.

As my daughter observed, we lost a good sister today.


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