Poetry and Commitment

Adrienne Rich

Feminist, theorist, critic, poet—Adrienne Rich has had one of the most distinguished careers of any American writer. Her commitment to both poetry and politics gives her the unique position to write this essay. Rich limns poetry’s relevance in a world that seems more bent on genocide and war all the time. So what’s the role of the poet in a world that also contains Iraq, Palestine, Darfur—not to mention the violence in American cities and against women and children throughout the world? To produce more poetry, says Rich. It gives us the capacity to see the world clearly, bear witness and bring about change. There is no poetry without commitment. If that concept is hard to understand, think of bacon and eggs. The hen is involved; the hog is committed. May we all be hogs for poetry.