Mary J. Carruthers: On "Power"

The first section, "Power," is about the sources and frustrations of women’s power.  As she has often done before, Rich uses the life of a dead woman (Marie Curie, Elvira Shatayev) as a moral exemplum of woman under patriarchy, fragmented and cut off from the sources of her own power yet grasping towards it. Thus, Marie Curie "died a famous woman denying / her wounds / denying / her wounds came from the same source as her power." Her voice in these poems is meditative and homiletic, rising to a moral pitch which, while sometimes troubling to reviewers, is nothing new to American poetry. Rich would surely prefer that we think of Bradstreet and Dickinson, but I often also hear Robert Lowell in these poems.


Title Mary J. Carruthers: On "Power" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Mary J. Carruthers Criticism Target Adrienne Rich
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 23 May 2020
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication "The Re-Vision of the Muse: Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Judy Grahn, Olga Broumas."
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