Remember you can follow the SadPanda on Twitter - To stay updated on the latest articles just follow @StreetlampBlog.

You can talk to the SadPanda too. E-mail:

You can also now find us on Facebook , if that's your thing.


To re-direct to wikileaks please click here. We will endeavour to keep this redirect updated in the event of an IP address change.

Lovely people who read The Streetlamp

Friday, 30 March 2012

Adrienne Rich: The tigers will go on prancing, proud and unafraid

It is with great regret that the Streetlamp learned of the death, earlier this week, of the great American, feminist poet and essayist Adrienne Rich. Rich had her first works published in the early 1950s and, from that point on, continued to grow and develop as a poet. Interestingly, the content of her work became increasingly confrontational throughout the years; exploring such themes as women’s role in society, racism, and the Vietnam war. For many of us on the left, however, she will be most proudly and fondly remembered for her refusal, in 1997, of the National Medal of Arts, stating that;

"I could not accept such an award from President Clinton or this White House because the very meaning of art, as I understand it, is incompatible with the cynical politics of this administration."
Going on to say:
"(Art) means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of the power which holds it hostage."

Rich's family have stated that the cause of her death was related to complications of rheumatoid arthritis, from which she had suffered for most of her adult life. Readers unfamiliar with her work can read below one of my own favourite's Aunt Jennifer's Tigers. Written when Rich was in her early twenties, the poem contains, as one of its central themes, a celebration of the ability of a work of art to outlive the person who created it. I need add no more.

Aunt Jeniffer's tigers

Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen,

Bright topaz denizens of a world of green.

They do not fear the men beneath the tree;

They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.

Aunt Jennifer's finger fluttering through her wool

Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.

The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band

Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand.

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie

Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.

The tigers in the panel that she made

Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.

Here, also, is a musical interpretation of Rich's most celebrated work, Diving Into the Wreck,set to music by ThOmas.W


No comments:

Post a Comment