Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cathy Park Hong on Adrienne Rich

I love this essay on Adrienne Rich by Cathy Park Hong:

In person, Adrienne Rich radiated warmth but she was also honest, almost bluntly so. What about the younger generation of feminist poets? I don’t exactly remember what I said though I felt distinctly stumped by it. I tried to find a way to capture our generation’s conflicted desires. I might have rattled off something about trans-gender politics, the influence of rrriot-girl punk, maybe something about the body politic in camp. But that’s so frivolous, said Adrienne.
This reminds me of the one time I wrote to Adrienne Rich, when we were starting Switchback. I sent the letter to her literary agency, and didn't really expect to hear back, but she wrote to me, declining my invitation to serve on our advisory board, but interested in knowing about the existence of a new feminist press. She reminded me that during second-wave feminism, feminist presses were always tied to activism -- in that same blunt-but-warm tone that Cathy describes in this essay.

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