Arts of the Possible: Essays and Conversations

Arts of the Possible: Essays and Conversations

Adrienne Rich

Language: English

Pages: 190

ISBN: 0393323129

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"Adrienne Rich's new prose collection could have been titled The Essential Rich."―Women's Review of Books

These essays trace a distinguished writer's engagement with her time, her arguments with herself and others. "I am a poet who knows the social power of poetry, a United States citizen who knows herself irrevocably tangled in her society's hopes, arrogance, and despair," Adrienne Rich writes. The essays in Arts of the Possible search for possibilities beyond a compromised, degraded system, seeking to imagine something else. They call on the fluidity of the imagination, from poetic vision to social justice, from the badlands of political demoralization to an art that might wound, that may open scars when engaged in its work, but will finally suture and not tear apart. This volume collects Rich's essays from the last decade of the twentieth century, including four earlier essays, as well as several conversations that go further than the usual interview. Also included is her essay explaining her reasons for declining the National Medal for the Arts. "The work is inspired and inspiring."―Alicia Ostriker "[S]o clear and clean and thorough. I learn from her again and again."―Grace Paley

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born in the white section of a hospital that separated Black and white women in labor and Black and white babies in the nursery, just as it separated Black and white bodies in its morgue. I was defined as white before I was defined as female. The politics of location. Even to begin with my body I have to say that from the outset that body had more than one identity. When I was carried out of the hospital into the world, I was viewed and treated as female, but also viewed and treated as white—by

all of whose people participate in both government and production and in which the division between manual and mental labor will be ended. We need such a philosophy as grounding for organizing, since, as she says in Rosa Luxemburg, “without a philosophy of revolution activism spends itself in mere anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism, without ever revealing what it is for.” Dunayevskaya bases her claims for Marx on her reading of his entire work, but attaches special importance to the

by Jan Heller Levi. To enter her work is to enter a life of tremendous scope, the consciousness of a woman who was a full actor and creator in her time. But in many ways Muriel Rukeyser was beyond her time—and seems, at the edge of the twenty-first century, to have grasped resources we are only now beginning to reach for: connections between history and the body, memory and politics, sexuality and public space, poetry and physical science, and much else. She spoke as a poet, first and foremost;

Molodowsky’s great poem “White Night” made a deep impression on me. In 1968 I was invited by the Asia Society to be one of a group of American poets participating in a project to translate the seventeenth-century Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. We were supplied with recordings of the original poems in the ghazal form, historical, cultural, and lexical notes, and literal translations, by the editor, Aijaz Ahmad. For me, this project led to new poetic strategies, including a long poem, distinctly

intellection that enables the emergence of new, transformative, even revolutionary creativity. It occurs at the juncture between the production of art and the exercise of deep critical thought. Conglomerate publishing and marketing have little interest in such junctures. I have been trying to decipher the moral ecology of this nonaccountable economy, this old order calling itself new. What are its effects on our emotional and affectional and intellectual life? Over the past decade I would have

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