It wasn’t always obvious to me that there was a problem.

Adrienne Rich, the groundbreaking poet, gave a talk at the Radcliffe Institute my junior year of college. I had just been accepted into the creative thesis program in poetry, and my advisor, Peter Richards, made me go. He also invited me to a small fireside chat with her that week, with other poetry thesis writers.

Her compact body was almost insignificant from where I sat in the Radcliffe auditorium. But her voice — all fire and brimstone — bowled me over and filled the space. I don’t remember what she said, but…