Thursday, March 04, 2021

"As if language were too much to bear": Trying to read Adrienne Rich out loud

My seminar on Adrienne Rich this term will begin with her sequence "An Atlas of the Difficult World" from 1990-1991. But Rich's selected poems, "The Fact of a Doorframe, 1950-2001", leaves out three of the thirteen sections of that sequence, so I am reading them out loud to the transcription software in Microsoft Word. However, in section III, I had to type her lines about her late husband because I could not read them without choking up: "now it's twenty years since last I heard that intake / of living breath, as if language were too much to bear, / that voice overcast like klezmer with echoes, uneven, / edged, torn". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 4 March 2021)

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