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Power

Power

by Adrienne Rich

Power Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

"Power" is written in free verse, which means that it doesn't have a stable rhyme scheme or meter. But the poem does have one formal element that really jumps out: it's got an odd pattern of spacin...

Speaker

We don't actually know too much about the speaker of "Power." We can be sure that she reads about Marie Curie (in a book or magazine, perhaps), but we cant be sure of much else. Because Adrienne Ri...

Setting

When we read "Power," we picture the speaker sitting on a porch, thoroughly engaged in a book about Marie Curie. When she reads about her death, she puts down the book, looks out the window at the...

Sound Check

The most significant sound in "Power" is the sound of silence. (Cue Simon and Garfunkel.)No, really, folks. Notice all those long spaces between words? When you read 'em out loud, you've gotta paus...

What's Up With the Title?

"Power."A pretty powerful title, if we may say so ourselves. We can't help but wonder, though, how the poem defines power in the first place. Is Rich talking about the power of knowledge? Of scient...

Calling Card

In addition to being a rad poet, Adrienne Rich was an activist for women's and LGBT rights. Rich didn't even really draw a distinction between her activism and her poetry. For Rich, poetry was acti...

Tough-o-Meter

"Power" isn't the easiest poem on the planet to understand, but it's not the hardest, either. Lucky for you, we've provided you with the scoop on Marie Curie in the "In A Nutshell" section of the s...

Trivia

Marie Curie won two Nobel Prizes—one in Physics, and one in Chemistry. She was the first woman to win a Nobel, the first scientist to win two Nobels, and the only scientist to ever win Nobels in...

Steaminess Rating

There's nothing sexy about radiation poisoning, folks.

Allusions

Marie Curie (throughout)
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