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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Poetry: A relationship to everything


Poetry is above all a concentration of the power of language, which is the power of our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe.” – Adrienne Rich

Born in May 1929, American poet, essayist and radical feminist Rich was called "one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century."  Her first collection of poetry, A Change of World, was selected by renowned poet W. H. Auden for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award in 1950 and she never looked back from there.  Winner of more than two dozen major writing awards, she also received a MacArthur Genius Grant and Lifetime Achievement Award from the Griffin Poetry Prize Foundation.  She died in 2012.
As I was reading some of her diverse and often wrenching poetry,     
I came across a poem that, while written 30 years ago, still resonates today.  So, for Saturday’s Poem, here is Rich’s,

Prospective Immigrants, Please Note

Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.
If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.
Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.
If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily
to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely
but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?
The door itself
makes no promises.
It is only a door.