Art and Anger

Poetry can sometimes offer to the young a piercingly accurate formulation of their inchoate suffering. I remember reading, at twenty-three, two lines in a new book:  For to be young Was always to live in other people’s houses.  Perhaps some poet had said it before, but if so, I hadn’t come across it. I learned from those lines what I was — a provincial girl in a house constituted by persons so alien to me that they were in effect “other people.” It had not occurred to me that one could think of one’s parents as “other people.” It was not “our house” — it was “their house.” And where, then, was my house, and how could I find it? And who were my people, if not those in the house with me?  The poem containing those lines was “The Middle-Aged,” written in her twenties by Adrienne Rich. It is

Thank you for reading!

To continue reading this article you must be a subscriber and be logged in to this site. If you already have a subscription, please log in now.