Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Memorable quotes by Adrienne Rich about life, love, motherhood, woman and other things.

88 Memorable Quotes By Adrienne Rich, The Author Of Diving Into The Wreck

Quick Facts

Famous As: American poet

Born On: May 16, 1929

Died On: March 27, 2012

Born In: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Died At Age: 82

Adrienne Cecile Rich was a vocal feminist, poet and essayist from the United States, who became one of the most well-known poets of the latter part of the 20th century and has also been credited for being one of the most influential voices on feminism during her time. She studied at Radcliffe College and then went to Oxford University on a Guggenheim Fellowship but she did not complete her course. Rich’s first book of poetry collections titled ‘A Change of the World’ received plaudits and she got the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award for the book. Some of her noted works include ‘The Dream of a Common Language’, ‘Diving Into the Wreck’, ‘Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law’, ‘A Wild Patience Has Taken Me this Far’ and ‘An Atlas of the Difficult World’, among others. On the other hand, she has also written a bit of non-fiction on issues about which she felt strongly. Some of the important ones are ‘Blood, Bread and Poetry: Selected Prose’, ‘Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution’ and 'On Lies, Secrets and Silence’ among others. Rich was one of the most important intellectuals of her time and her books are still read all over the world due to their literary richness. Here are some of the best quotes by Adrienne Rich.

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There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors.

Adrienne Rich

Lying is done with words, and also with silence.

Adrienne Rich

Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.

Adrienne Rich

You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.

Adrienne Rich

I keep coming back to you in my head, but you couldn't know that, and I have no carbons

Adrienne Rich

When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.

Adrienne Rich

I feel more helpless with you than without you.

Adrienne Rich

No one has imagined us. We want to live like trees, sycamores blazing through the sulfuric air, dappled with scars, still exuberantly budding, our animal passion rooted in the city.

Adrienne Rich

[Poetry] is the liquid voice that can wear through stone.

Adrienne Rich

Until we know the assumptions in which we are drenched, we cannot know ourselves.

Adrienne Rich

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.

Adrienne Rich

It will take all your heart, it will take all your breath It will be short, it will not be simple

Adrienne Rich

My heart is moved by all I cannot save: so much has been destroyed I have to cast my lot with those who age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world.

Adrienne Rich

I touch you knowing we weren't born tomorrow, and somehow, each of us will help the other live, and somewhere, each of us must help the other die.

Adrienne Rich

The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.

Adrienne Rich

I don't trust them but I'm learning to use them.

Adrienne Rich

No person, trying to take responsibility for her or his identity, should have to be so alone. There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep, and still be counted as warriors.

Adrienne Rich

...you look at me like an emergency

Adrienne Rich

A thinking woman sleeps with monsters that beak which grips her, she becomes.

Adrienne Rich

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.

Adrienne Rich

If you think you can grasp me, think again: my story flows in more than one direction a delta springing from the riverbed with its five fingers spread

Adrienne Rich

The unconscious wants truth. It ceases to speak to those who want something else more than truth.

Adrienne Rich

Sleeping. Turning in turn like planets rotating in their midnight meadow: a touch is enough to let us know we're not alone in the universe, even in sleep.

Adrienne Rich

I choose to love this time for once with all my intelligence -from "Splittings

Adrienne Rich

The serious revolutionary, like the serious artist, can't afford to lead a sentimental or self-deceiving life.

Adrienne Rich

Not biology, but ignorance of ourselves, has been the key to our powerlessness

Adrienne Rich

When I talk of taking a trip I mean forever.

Adrienne Rich

The moment of change is the only poem.

Adrienne Rich

I am an instrument in the shape/ of a woman trying to translate pulsations/ into images for the relief of the body/ and the reconstruction of the mind.

Adrienne Rich

And I ask myself and you, which of our visions will claim us which will we claim how will we go on living how will we touch, what will we know what will we say to each other.

Adrienne Rich

Poems are like dreams: in them you put what you don't know you know.

Adrienne Rich

These scars bear witness but whether to repair or to destruction I no longer know.

Adrienne Rich

Love, our subject: we've trained it like ivy to our walls.

Adrienne Rich

A thinking woman sleeps with monsters.

Adrienne Rich

If I cling to circumstances I could feel not responsible. Only she who says she did not choose, is the loser in the end.

Adrienne Rich

For now, poetry has the capacity - in its own ways and by its own means - to remind us of something we are forbidden to see.

Adrienne Rich

What we see, we see and seeing is changing

Adrienne Rich

In a world where language and naming are power, silence is oppression, is violence.

Adrienne Rich

What kind of beast would turn its life into words?

Adrienne Rich

To do something very common, in my own way.

Adrienne Rich

There is nothing revolutionary whatsoever about the control of women's bodies by men. The woman's body is the terrain on which patriarchy is erected.

Adrienne Rich

I've had to guess at her, sewing her skin together as I sew mine, though with a different stitch

Adrienne Rich

Most women have not even been able to touch this anger, except to drive it inward like a rusted nail.

Adrienne Rich

There is no 'the truth,' 'a truth'--truth is not one thing, or even a system. It is an increasing complexity.

Adrienne Rich

You touched me in places so deep I wanted to ignore you.

Adrienne Rich

It is always what is under pressure in us, especially under pressure of concealment--that explodes in poetry.

Adrienne Rich

But from here on I want more crazy mourning, more howl, more keening -from "A Woman Dead in Her Forties

Adrienne Rich

I came to explore the wreck. The words are purposes...are maps...I came to see the damage that was done and the treasures that prevail

Adrienne Rich

We are not supposed to go down into the darkness of the core. Yet, if we can risk it, the something born of that nothing is the beginning of truth.

Adrienne Rich

Nothing can be done but by inches. I write out my life hour by hour, word by word . . . imagining the existence of something uncreated this poem our lives.

Adrienne Rich

A language is a map of our failures

Adrienne Rich

Every journey into the past is complicated by delusions, false memories, false namings of real events

Adrienne Rich

If you unquestioningly accept one piece of the culture that despises and fears you, you are vulnerable to other pieces.

Adrienne Rich

I wanted to choose words that even you would have to be changed by Take the word of my pulse, loving and ordinary Send out your signals, hoist your dark scribbled flags but take my hand

Adrienne Rich

Those who speak largely of the human condition are usually those most exempt from its oppressions - whether of sex, race, or servitude.

Adrienne Rich

- this is where I live now. If you had known me once, you'd still know me now though in a different light and life. This is no place you ever knew me.

Adrienne Rich

We move but our words stand become responsible for more than we intended and this is verbal privilege

Adrienne Rich

Poetry is, among other things, a criticism of language.

Adrienne Rich

We are, I am, you are by cowardice or courage the one who find our way back to this scene carrying a knife, a camera a book of myths in which our names do not appear.

Adrienne Rich

No one’s fated or doomed to love anyone. The accidents happen, we’re not heroines, they happen in our lives like car crashes, books that change us, neighborhoods we move into and come to love.

Adrienne Rich

The liar has many friends, and leads an existence of great loneliness.

Adrienne Rich

The possibilities that exist between two people, or among a group of people, are a kind of alchemy. They are the most interesting thing in life. The liar is someone who keeps losing sight of these possibilities

Adrienne Rich

She had to possess the courage to enter, through language, states which most people deny or veil with silence.

Adrienne Rich

I came to explore the wreck. / The words are purposes. / The words are maps. / I came to see the damage that was done / and the treasures that prevail.

Adrienne Rich

I have a notion that genius knows itself; that Dickinson chose her seclusion, knowing she was exceptional and knowing what she needed.

Adrienne Rich

Yet we can't wait for the undamaged to make our connections for us; we can't wait to speak until we are wholly clear and righteous. There is no purity, and, in our lifetimes, no end to this process.

Adrienne Rich

I write for the still-fragmented parts in me, trying to bring them together. Whoever can read and use any of this, I write for them as well.

Adrienne Rich

This is why the classical of the jazz music station plays? to give a ground of meaning to our pain?

Adrienne Rich

We must use what we have to invent what we desire.

Adrienne Rich

I know you are reading this poem in a room where too much has happened for you to bear where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed and the open valise speaks of flight but you cannot leave yet.

Adrienne Rich

Only to have a grief equal to all these tears! There's not a sob in my chest. Dry hearted Peer Gynt I pare away, no hero, merely a cook.

Adrienne Rich

The thing I came for: [...] the thing itself and not the myth

Adrienne Rich

In every room, the furniture reflects you larger than life, or dwindling

Adrienne Rich

But it is the subjects, the conversations, the facts we shy away from, which claim us in the form of writer's block, as mere rhetoric, as hysteria, insomnia, and constriction of the throat.

Adrienne Rich

I don't think we can separate art from overall human dignity and hope

Adrienne Rich

...because life is short and you too are thirsty.

Adrienne Rich

Can you remember? When we thought the poets taught how to live?

Adrienne Rich

And yet, protest it if we will, Some corner of the mind retains The medieval man, who still Keeps watch upon those starry skeins And drives us out of doors at night To gaze at anagrams of light.

Adrienne Rich

An education is not something that you get, but something that you claim.

Adrienne Rich

The friend I can trust is the one who will let me have my death. The rest are actors who want me to stay and further the plot.

Adrienne Rich

Vous travaillez pour l'armee, madame?' (You are working for the army?), a Frenchwoman said to me early in the Vietnam war, on hearing I had three sons.

Adrienne Rich

Silence can be a plan rigorously executed the blueprint to a life It is a presence it has a history a form Do not confuse it with any kind of absence

Adrienne Rich

Who neither touched nor spoke? whose nape, whose finger-ends nervelessly lied the hours away?

Adrienne Rich

There is a cop who is both prowler and father: he comes from your block, grew up with your brothers, had certain ideals.

Adrienne Rich

You grieve in loneliness, and if I understand you fuck in loneliness.

Adrienne Rich

Those years you never looked at any of us. Staring into your own eyelids. Like you saw a light there. Can you see me now?

Adrienne Rich

Theory-the seeing of patterns, showing the forest as well as the trees

Adrienne Rich