"When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her"
Adrienne Rich May 16, 1929-March 27, 2012
Entering the large airy room where I knew no one was easier than I'd expected. Smiling women sat at the entry table with papers to take. On the program, the quote here one beneath aphoto of Adrienne smiling/gesturing, surrounded by stacks of books.
The colorful nautilus topped number 21 from Twenty-one Love Poems on "a complimentary broadside"... printed on a long sheet of heavy paper. To hold and save as a remembrance.
Hanging from a cord above our heads quotes from her prose and poetry. An email for the event indicated we could sign up to read poems, prose, fragments (3 minutes per reader) from Adrienne's work. I did that.
A woman and I began an intense exchange about where were the organizations--NOW and other politically engaged women's groups from the 1970s.
Lani Jo Leigh, whom I'd met recently online when she invited me to be on a panel of feminists next month, identified me via my 17% button. She had a little 4 x 6 handout about the event,1975 film, an interview with Simone de Beavoir at her newly re-furbished theater. Women meeting and exchanging as in the 1970s. More and more women came into the room. Extra chairs were found.
Seven well known feminist poets read, reflected on personal/political/writing memories from days with Adrienne...Judith Barrington (red vest), Judith Arcana, Francis Payne Adler, Ruth Gundle, Paulann Petersen, Willa Schneberg, Sandy Polishuk (right photo, left), who told me about the event.
Willa Schneberg reminded us of the strong thread in Adrienne's life to social justice activism. This day of our celebration and memorial marked the 2nd anniversary of the murder of Dr. George Tiller, courageous abortion provider. Willa was one of several to speak about Adrienne Rich's Jewishness, her 1982 essay, "Split at the Root" exploringthe complexity of this connection. Like my own.
Mine was prose from my old copy of "Lies, Secrets and Silence," in a 1971 essay, "When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Revision":
"The awakening of consciousness is not like the crossing of a frontier--one step and you are in another country. Much of woman's poetry has been of the nature of a blues song: a cry of pain, of victimization, or a lyric of seduction. And today, much poetry by women--and prose for that matter-- is charged with anger. I think we need to go through that anger, and we will betry our own anger if we try, as Virginia Woolf was trying, for an objectivity, a detachment, that would make us sound like Jane Austen or Shakespeare. We know more than ...[they] knewbecause our lives are more complex...we know more about the lives of women--Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf included."
If you're in town on July 12, let's stir some things up by responding to the voice and image of Simone de Beauvoir on "Why I am a Feminist."