Remembering Adrienne Rich

During the days and weeks following the death of someone who is important, I find myself wishing I had given more attention to who they were before this happened, and devoting time now to remembering.  For me this is a reminder to pay attention to how I spend my days and hours now with those I cherish most. But in thinking about the many writers and artists who I do not know personally, but who have influenced my life in such significant ways, I am again reminded of the importance of our choices in relation to what we read, Adrienne Richwhat we view on television and film, and who we honor in our conversations.  I cannot say that I have read everything that Adrienne Rich has written, and I certainly did not know her personally.  But her death is a huge loss not only for me personally, but for the world.  Her book “Of Woman Born” became a centerpiece informing not only how I view the world, but also who I became as a feminist scholar.  Her poetry is beyond comparison in its depth, richness, clarity of conviction. I have returned over and over again to her essays – particularly one title “Claiming an Education,” reprinted in the Collection of her prose “On Lies, Secrets and Silence.” (of which I have an autographed copy!).  I have tucked in her book a little pamphlet that bears the title “Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying” which is a collection of many of her quotes.  Among these is the line “Lying is done with words, but also with silence.”

The video that I am including here is a wonderful reminder of the honesty and integrity with which Adrienne Rich lived her life … and with which she wrote.  It is well worth the time you will spend watching it.  It was posted today on “Democracy Now.” It includes Amy Goodman’s interview with Alice Walker and with Francis Goldin, and also a clip of Adrienne Rich reading her poem “What Kinds of Times are These.”  I hope you will take the time now to join me in paying tribute to the memory of the incomparable Adrienne Rich.

Adrienne Rich (1929-2012): Alice Walker & Frances Goldin on the Life of the Legendary Poet & Activist.

About Peggy L Chinn

feminist, nurse activist, writer, founding editor of ANS Advances in Nursing Science, quilter, grandmother nurturing the future of the amazing children in my life.
This entry was posted in Art, Books, Education, Feminism, Making change, Politics, Reflections, Social Issues and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Remembering Adrienne Rich

  1. Dawn Wood says:

    Hey Peggy! This is a beautiful blog enty I randomly ran across while reading various articles online remembering Adrienne. I publish a free, independant feminist zine and would love to include your words in our next issue. You really put how I and a lot of others feel about this loss into words well. Please email me at to discuss details, if your interested. Namaste sister (oh and check out our facebook page,

  2. Cassie says:

    I’m amazed by Adrienne Rich because she uses the simplest words to convey the biggest messages. Thank you for sharing this and reminding me how much there is to love about her. I have read a lot of her books and poems, but not “Of Women Born.” I will now.

  3. leegaluska says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing this.
    I had heard about the passing of Adrienne Rich yesterday on NPR. Amazing story and an amazing woman. It is very humbling to learn of leaders like her and Alice Walker, and as another nurse and I discussed today, some of the nursing scholars who are making such an incredible difference with their work. We were in the presence of some of them at ENRS this week.

    • peggychinn says:

      Yes indeed, we have so many wonderful women who provide such inspiration for all of us! Adrienne Rich’s death has reminded me of how important it is to focus on women like her who give us so much!

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