To commemorate the passing of Adrienne Rich, I wanted to offer a different kind of experience: my failure to understand her canonical poem the first time I encountered it.
Cathy Park Hong:
I had a period when I reacted against her in college. This was when multicultural relativism was having its swan song in the late 90’s. I was taking a feminist lit theory course and the pronoun we was poison. Don’t include me in your we. It was a reaction against white bourgeois feminism who assumed their plight was universal. What about working-class women? Marxist? Queer? Chicano? The disabled? We cannot speak for each other with all our differences. Don’t assume your common language is mine.