To a significant extent, all poets are concerned with transformation. The very making of a poem involves a transformation from perceived reality or experience into a verbal utterance shaped by the poet's imagination and craft. For Adrienne Rich, however, transformation goes beyond the act of writing; it extends to the culture at large through the poem's ability to challenge given assumptions and offer new visions. Rich delineated her poetics relatively early in her career in a 1971 essay, "When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision":
For a poem to coalesce, for a character or an action to take shape, there has to be an imaginative transformation of reality which is in no way passive... Moreover, if the imagination is to transcend and transform experience, it has to question, to challenge, to conceive of alternatives, perhaps to the very life you are living at that moment.
Transformation is thus private as well as public, and Rich's poetry and essays have explored the space where these realms intersect, incorporating feminist, lesbian, historical, non-capitalist, humanitarian, multi-racial, and multi-cultural points of view. The form of her poems has evolved with her content, moving from tight formalist lyrics to more experimental poems using a combination of techniques: long lines, gaps in the line, interjections of prose, juxtaposition of voices and motifs, didacticism, and informal expression. Indeed, no poet's career reflects the cultural and poetic transformations undergone in the United States during the 2Oth century better than that of Adrienne Rich.
Rich demonstrated talent carly in life, writing poems under her father's tutelage as a child. By the time she graduated from Radcliffe College her first book, A Change of World (1951), had been selected by W.H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Prize. This and her second book, The Diamond Cutters (1955), capture alienation and loss through the distancing devices of Modernist... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2010, 12). Essays. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 12, 2010, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Essays-535354.html
"Essays" StudyMode.com. 12 2010. 12 2010 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Essays-535354.html>.
"Essays." StudyMode.com. 12, 2010. Accessed 12, 2010. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Essays-535354.html.