We were deeply saddened to hear last week of the passing of poet and political advocate Adrienne Rich. We would like to share with you an article we wrote in tribute of Adrienne, her friendship with Astraea, and her indelible impact on us personally. Last week, a few staff members had the chance to meet others touched by Adrienne’s work for a public reading of some of her poems in Union Square. We have included some beautiful photos in the article as well.
The Astraea staff
Astraea Mourns Passing of Poet and
Political Advocate Adrienne Rich
New York, NY, Mar 29, 2012—Pioneer feminist poet and essayist Adrienne Rich passed away Tuesday, March 27th, at her home in Santa Cruz, California. We mourn the loss of a longtime friend to the Astraea Foundation and send our most heartfelt condolences to her loved ones and all those inspired by her.
An outspoken advocate for women’s rights and civil rights and fearless anti-war activist, Adrienne drew sharp attention to classism, poverty and disparities in the U.S. in her work. She will be remembered for her contributions to economic and social justice. Adrienne’s involvement with the Astraea Foundation dates back to the organization’s early history. In 1981, she was featured at a benefit for Astraea, Poets in Conversation, alongside legendary Audre Lorde. Among Adrienne’s many distinguished awards, she received Astraea Lesbian Writer Fund’s Sappho Award of Distinction Grant in 1993.
To honor Adrienne Rich’s immense impact and indelible voice, we offer a story remembered and shared with Astraea by poet and Lesbian Writer Fund Judge, Sharon Bridgeforth:
Somewhere in downtown L.A. Before it was chic to be there before I knew anything about poets, feminists, lesbians and White people… at a time when all my writing was stuffed in a suitcase – hidden under my bed… My best friend’s older sister took us to a poetry reading. To a reading featuring Adrienne Rich. And though my friend and I went straight to the club (with our fake ID’s) after the reading I remember feeling deeply moved. I remember that all kinds of women including lots of young women of color were present in that room. I remember wanting to be a part of more rooms like that. Rooms filled with perfect words and passion. I remember that Adrienne Rich’s poetry her presence shifted something in me. I am so grateful. Bless you Adrienne Rich. Bless your Soul your Journey. May all the good you Graced this world with in Life return to Guide your Spirit now with Light.
Astraea joins in community today with those so touched by Adrienne’s work, her strength, and her spirit. In remembrance, we thank Adrienne for her dedication to change and justice, her friendship to Astraea, and the remarkable, beautiful and critical words she has left us.
“The moment of change is the only poem”
Astraea staff joined a public reading of Adrienne Rich’s poems in Union Square on March 29th.