Canadian poetry generally being superior to American poetry, I found Rich’s work the usual Yankee-style, uninspired, tedious chopped-up prose, freighted with faux profundity and all those boring classical allusions American poets seem unable to write without (a poem about pushing ones broken down car down the road must needsbe evoke Sisyphus…), even at my angry-young-feminist worst.
Plus she was crazy.
Listen: I can attest to this from intensive personal experience —
Many people deeply involved in leftist political movements are mentally disturbed. Neurotic. Just not “normal.”
I literally lived and worked with them for years.
I was one of them.
So behold, a woman who clearly thought she knew best, felt it was her duty and birthright to tell other Americans how to live, had a platform from which to do so, and was rewarded with prestigious honors:
Of her politics I will say little. She was against the Vietnam War and for the Black Panthers. Auden, writing of the death of Yeats said “Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.” The Vietnam War and the Civil Rights era hurt Adrienne Rich beyond measure. The people who knew her at the time don’t think she was sane during some of those years. She left her husband Alfred Conrad and he committed suicide the following year. Poets and politics make for a highly combustible mixture. She seems to have found happiness with Michelle Cliff, her [female] companion since 1976.
The difference between women like Adrienne Rich and homeless bag ladies is that homeless bag ladies mostly talk to themselves.
Now multiply this woman by the hundreds, possibly thousands, then and now.
Glenn Beck ever so slightly misses the point when he focuses months at a time forensically unveiling these people as “progressives” and now (so I hear) “communists.”
He was never in the movement, so he doesn’t understand that those are just fancy words for “insane.”