“A Language to Hear Myself”: Feminist Poets Speak

“A Language to Hear Myself”: Feminist Poets Speak exhibition

“A Language to Hear Myself”: Feminist Poets Speak opens on February 29, 2016, and runs through June 17, 2016.

The exhibition will be on view on the first floor of the Schlesinger Library, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Free and open to the public.

“A Language to Hear Myself”: Feminist Poets Speak celebrates the ways that feminist poets fashioned words and ideas into a powerful form of personal and political expression.

In the US women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s, poetry experienced a renaissance as a political artform that gave women the means to articulate their shared lived experiences. Poetry and activism entered into a dynamic exchange, becoming spaces where women could reimagine the world.

This exhibition features Schlesinger Library’s collections of five renowned poets who had a profound impact on the literary world, the women’s movement, and individual women’s lives: June Jordan, Eve Merriam, Honor Moore, Adrienne Rich, and Jean Valentine. Their work reveals the intersection of sexual politics and personal expression, and this exhibition highlights their legacy as artists and activists who continue to inspire new feminisms.

The poet Audre Lorde said,

“For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is the vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we give name to the nameless so it can be thought.”

The title of the exhibition comes from a stanza of the poem “Tear Gas” (1969) by Adrienne Rich:

I need a language to hear myself with

to see myself in

a language like pigment released on the board

blood-black, sexual green, reds

veined with contradictions