The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977

The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977

by Adrienne Rich


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“Certain lines had become like incantations to me, words I’d chanted to myself through sorrow and confusion” —Cheryl Strayed, Wild

The Dream of a Common Language explores the contours of a woman’s heart and mind in language for everybody—language whose plainness, laughter, questions and nobility everyone can respond to. . . . No one is writing better or more needed verse than this.”—Boston Evening Globe

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393346008
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 04/01/2013
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 165,688
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Widely read, widely anthologized, widely interviewed, and widely taught, Adrienne Rich (1929–2012) was for decades among the most influential writers of the feminist movement and one of the best-known American public intellectuals. She wrote two dozen volumes of poetry and more than a half-dozen of prose. Her constellation of honors includes two National Book Awards, a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, and a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Foundation. Ms. Rich’s volumes of poetry include The Dream of a Common Language, A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far, An Atlas of the Difficult World, The School Among the Ruins, and Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth. Her prose includes the essay collections On Lies, Secrets, and Silence; Blood, Bread, and Poetry; an influential essay, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” and the nonfiction book Of Woman Born, which examines the institution of motherhood as a socio-historic construct. In 2010, she was honored with The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry's Lifetime Recognition Award.

Table of Contents

I Power

Power 3

Phantasia for Elvira Shatayev 4

Origins and History of Consciousness 7

Splittings 10

Hunger 12

To a Poet 15

Cartographies of Silence 16

The Lioness 21

II Twenty-One Love Poems

I Wherever in this city, screens flicker 25

II I wake up in your bed. I know I have been dreaming 25

III Since we're not young, weeks have to do time 26

IV I come home from you through the early light of spring 26

V This apartment full of books could crack open 27

VI Your small hands, precisely equal to my own 27

VII What kind of beast would turn its life into words 28

VIII I can see myself years back at Sunion 28

IX Your silence today is a pond where drowned things live 29

X Your dog, tranquil and innocent, dozes through 29

XI Every peak is a crater. This is the law of volcanoes 30

XII Sleeping, turning in turn like planets 30

XIII The rules break like a thermometer 31

XIV It was your vision of the pilot 31

(The Floating Poem, Unnumbered) 32

XV If I lay on that beach with you 32

XVI Across a city from you, I'm with you 33

XVII No one's fated or doomed to love anyone 33

XVIII Rain on the West Side Highway 34

XIX Can it be growing colder when I begin 34

XX That conversation we were always on the edge 35

XXI The dark lintels, the blue and foreign stones 35

III Not Somewhere Else, But Here

Not Somewhere Else, but Here 39

Upper Broadway 41

Paula Becker to Clara Westhoff 42

Nights and Days 45

Sibling Mysteries 47

A Woman Dead in Her Forties 53

Mother-Right 59

Natural Resources 60

Toward the Solstice 68

Transcendental Etude 72

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Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974 - 1977 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
quantumbutterfly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A beautiful collection of modern poetry here. Reminds me of a line from Audre Lorde: "For women, poetry is not a luxury." Rich puts forth vital words here.
MatthewHittinger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Twenty One Love Poems" was a pivotal sequence for me, especially as I grew to understand why I tend to write in sequences. I spent the month of December that year transcribing one poem each day, rewriting and retyping each word to really inhabit what she had done on the page.