Wendy S. Walters on Rich: “This is why we need each other to get where we are going.”

Adrienne Rich understood that being underestimated afforded one liberty to innovate.

She predicted that most of us would have to revise our perception of power in order to see the world clearly.  She implored us to stop regarding our injuries with disappointment and bless them out of respect for our endurance.

She practiced associative thinking with such dexterity that she made us take for granted how hard it is to employ metaphor without simplifying a subject.  How she maintained a sense of romance while writing a subjective, political poetry remains a mystery.

Many of her poems and essays were provocations.  She goaded us with her convictions.  She asserted that in order to learn how to live, everyone must be compelled to action at some point in their lives.

When she changed her mind about a key aesthetic or political idea and documented how she had come to think differently, she demonstrated that taking note of discontinuity is way of choosing power.

Rich’s work promised that when we truly become ourselves, we will be ourselves alone.  Because everyone shares this fate, it is not unnatural to pursue connections with others.  Relationships alter us like visions, and moments of intimacy can make us change course.  This is why we need each other to get where we are going.