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Tag Archives: Adrienne Rich

Personal Weather: Rereading Adrienne Rich for the Anthropocene

Adrienne Rich once said that poetry is “liberative language, connecting the fragments within us, connecting us to others like and unlike ourselves,” and whether or not that’s true, I’ve found that her work does have something to tell us about the fragmented individual and the collective whole—not just historically, but in the context of today’s muted urgencies, within the mutual ruin of the Anthropocene.

Thirteen Ways of Talking About a Volcano

I recall standing on a platform before a television set, which was shrouded in funereal black cloth, and which played on loop a talk given by a grave white-haired scientist in a lab coat. The screen was grainy in a way I discerned to be fake: each trawling black worm was evenly sized, evenly spaced on the screen. The actor playing the scientist would cough when the screen broke up, due to an untimely earthquake disrupting the calm of his lab; the cough gave him away as an actor. My suspicion that the scientist was an actor made the film in which he appeared no less terrifying to me, a sensitive child, a nervous child.