Adrienne Rich was a revolutionary. As Margalit Fox wrote in the New York Times, Rich “accomplished in verse what Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique, did in prose. In describing the stifling minutiae that had defined women’s lives for generations, both argued persuasively that women’s disenfranchisement at the hands of men must end.” Rich was a powerful poet. In her National Book Award acceptance speech, she said, “Poetry is not a healing lotion, an emotional massage, a kind of linguistic aromatherapy.” Think seriously instead: “Transfusions of poetic language can and do quite literally keep bodies and souls together.”
Adrienne Rich, The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977 (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1978), 33.