One of humanity’s greatest poets and custodians of dignity explores the relationship between art, power, and truth

Arts-of-the-possibleThe poet is Adrienne Rich and the exploration a remarkable 1997 lecture that became the title piece in Arts of the Possible: Essays and Conversations — the same anthology that gave us the spectacular letter with which Rich became the only person to decline the National Medal of Arts in one of creative culture’s most courageous acts of political dissent.

Rich begins by considering the perilous interplay of the market and the mind in capitalist culture:

We have become a pyramidic society of the omnivorously acquisitive few, an insecure, dwindling middle class, and a multiplying number of ill-served, throwaway citizens and workers [resulting in] a kind of public breakdown, with symptoms along a spectrum from acute self-involvement to extreme anxiety to individual and group violence.”

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