Study Guide

Power Calling Card

By Adrienne Rich

Calling Card

Mad Props to the Ladies

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 activism. And so Rich wrote a whole lot of poems that expressed her ideas about women's roles in patriarchal societies. In particular, Rich had a habit of writing about women who were just as awesome as she was, and who influenced a culture that was often hostile to women.

In "Power," Rich delves into one of the most celebrated women of the 20th century, Marie Curie. But Rich examines other famous and not-so-famous women too in her work; in the poem "Phantasia for Elvira Shatayev," for example, Rich writes about the leader of an all-women's mountain climbing team, and in "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers," Rich tells the story of a woman burdened by her marriage to an abusive husband. Whether a famous scientist, or an everyday housewife, Rich found that every woman has a story to tell, and she helped tell a whole lot of those stories in her poems.