Plath and Sexton have given me all kinds of angles onto the Real Story. Rich has never given me a one. But I don't necessarily blame that on either of us so much as I do on the word political, which critics are always using as a label for Rich's work and which, as soon as I hear it ascribed to a poet, makes me want to walk straight out the door. The term leads me suspect I'll be reading a Gloria Steinem or Betty Friedan polemic instead of poetry; and frankly, I don't go to poems for feminist reassurance or camaraderie or outrage, even though I may well vote on those platforms. This is not to say that politics should be separated from poetry. What is Hayden Carruth's poem about Eichmann if not political? Yet he comes to the politics backwards, as it were, through the window of himself.
And maybe Rich is doing that as well, so I think I owe her the chance to show me what she does. In other words, expect some blat about Adrienne Rich this week. I'll bring her along to my Massachusetts gig, and we'll see what happens.