An MP3 of Adrienne Rich in a December 2006 appearance, speaking and reading poetry at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.

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“Poetry, I believe, doesn’t lie down comfortably with symbols, with ‘this stands for that,’ with the boundedness of symbolic thinking. Poetry’s energy is in metaphor. And in metaphor boundaries are broken, one thing changes into another, an image mutates into another, one life-form into another. Metaphor tests edges, is shape-changing. It doesn’t make a static declaration like ‘darkness equals despair; light equals hope.’ It says ‘a horizon has a clenched mouth,’  ‘a cloud is having sex with the moon.’  It keeps the imagination open, and there I think is where hope begins.”

Audio courtesy of JCC-SF’s “Binah” program and KALW.