By Adrienne Rich
"Rich's lyrics are strong 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 full of traps and snares and difficulties that circulate in circles. She’s so deft, in a few enigmatic approach, that she manages to tug off references and turns of word that may sink the other poet’s paintings, that might look pretentious or overwrought in different fingers. within the nine-part “Draft #2006,” that may be my favourite piece during this quantity, she fees Karl Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach partly 4, visits a farmer swallowing pesticide in Andhra Pradesh partially six, and talks concerning the “thereness” of a specific thing partially 9 -- and but by some means, via anything edgier and brainier than magic, the poem is rarely heavy-handedly political or philosophical. It’s simply thought-provoking. And round. And tough. 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 rules and photographs that offer 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 through/ arrangement.” there's something undying approximately this poem, even if it’s approximately timeliness:
They requested me, is that this time worse than another.
I stated, for whom?
Wanted to teach them anything. whereas I wrote at the
chalkboard they drifted out. I became again to an empty room.
Maybe I couldn’t write quick sufficient. probably it used to be too soon.
“Draft #2006” made me take into consideration what it should suggest to seize this second in historical past with a poem. There are poets who've succeeded in grabbing a second, epically and perpetually -- T.S. Eliot’s “Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” does it, and Ginsburg’s “Howl,” and several other of Auden’s poems and, perhaps such a lot completely, Dan Pagis’s “Written in Pencil within the Sealed Railway Car.” As I begin to give it some thought, such a lot of powerful poems do catch 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, attractive and perhaps inevitable.
There are puzzles and their attainable strategies all through this quantity, and the lifeless -- skeletons, ghosts, casualties of battle and famine, composers via their song, well-known philosophers via their phrases, William Blake -- emerge many times 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 outside of boredom/ indecipherable fear.” There are strangely apt convergences, unforeseen rules and issues that make experience jointly, as in “Hubble pictures: After Sappho”:
These impersonae, although we name them
won’t invade us as on motion picture screens
they are so outdated, so new, we're not 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 won't damage them
These are the works of a mature poet, a person who speaks many metaphorical languages -- math, technology, politics, track, grief -- and smoothes all of them into one historical, new language. it truly is infrequent that somebody within the twenty first Century, a person with a posh schooling and a thorough bent and laurels to relaxation on, doesn’t lose it as a poet, turning predictable, writing approximately trivialities with no exposing greater than what’s at the web page. yet by some means, Adrienne wealthy is trickily handling it, needling on the pores and skin, writing actual, actual poems. there are such a lot of dreadful instructions wealthy could’ve long past, following on mistaken turns taken by means of such a lot of different once-great 20th century poets -- maudlin speeches, off-putting, phony sagas of gooey Californian intercourse, predictable memoirs. as an alternative, in her seventies, Adrienne wealthy has written a magnetic, fascinating masterwork."