Adrienne Rich's Poetry and Prose by Adrienne Rich
(Norton Critical Editions)

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This Norton Critical Edition presents the work of one of America's foremost poets. It moves well beyond the scope of its predecessor, Adrienne Rich's Poetry (1975), in giving proper recognition to Rich's extraordinary achievements in both poetry and prose in recent years. The result is a judiciously edited, sensibly annotated volume ideally suited for classroom study of one of our most distinguished working writers.

In both poetry and prose, the editors have chosen selections intended to give readers a clear sense of Rich's evolution and accomplishment. Many of the poems in this expanded collection are from Rich's five recent volumes—The Dream of a Common Language (1978), A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far (1981), Your Native Land, Your Life (1986), Time's Power: Poems 1985-1988 (1989), and An Atlas of the Difficult World (1991). Prose selections include "When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision," Rich's canonical statement on feminism; "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence," on being a lesbian in a heterosexual world; Rich's interview for American Poetry Review, which presents a full and frank discussion of her work; and her previously unpublished commentary on the genesis of the poem "Yom Kippur 1984."

The editors have also taken into account the many essays on Rich and reviews of her work that have been published since 1975. Some earlier biographical selections have been replaced with works that focus on the quality of Rich's writing and her place in twentieth-century American literature—not just as a poet, but as a woman, a lesbian, and a mother. Criticism includes thirteen reviews and interpretations of Rich's work by W. H. Auden, John Ashbery, Margaret Atwood, Helen Vendler, Judith McDaniel, Adrian Oktenberg, Charles Altieri, and Joanna Feit Diehl, among others. A second recent study by Albert Gelpi traces the events in Rich's life from which her work evolves. An updated Chronology and Selected Bibliography, as well as an expanded Index, are included.

About Adrienne Rich

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Adrienne Rich was born in Baltimore, Maryland on May 16, 1929. In 1951 she graduated from Radcliffe College and was selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize by W.H. Auden. She began teaching for City College of New York in 1968, and was also a lecturer and adjunct professor at Swarthmore College and Columbia University School of the Arts. She taught in CUNY's basic writing program during the early 1970s. In the 1970s, she started to be active in the women's liberation movement. Her work has been characterized as confrontational, treating women's role in society, racism, and the Vietnam War. In addition to many collections of poetry, she has also written several books of nonfiction prose, such as Arts of the Possible: Essays and Conversations, What is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics, and Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution. Her last poetry collection was entitled Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010. She has won numerous literary awards, including the 1986 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the 1992 Poets' Prize, the 1997 Wallace Stevens Award of the Academy of American Poets, the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, and the 2006 National Book Foundation Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. She has also received the Bollingen Prize, the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and a MacArthur Fellowship. In 1974, she refused to receive as an individual the National Book Award for Poetry, instead accepting it on behalf of all silenced women. She also refused the National Medal of Arts in 1997, stating that "I could not accept such an award from President Clinton or this White House because the very meaning of art, as I understand it, is incompatible with the cynical politics of this administration." In 2012, she won the Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Poetry Prize. She died from long-term rheumatoid arthritis on March 27, 2012. Barbara Charlesworth Gelpi is Professor of English at Stanford University, where she has taught since 1968. She is the author of Shelleyís Goddess: Maternity, Language, Subjectivity and Dark Passages: The Decadent Consciousness in Victorian Literature , as well as numerous articles on, mainly, feminist and psychological literature. She is an editor of several important volumes, including Feminist Theory: A Critique of Ideologies and Women and Poverty . Albert Gelpi is William Robertson Coe Professor of American Literature at Stanford University, where he has also taught since 1968. His books include Emily Dickinson: The Mind of the Poet, The Tenth Muse: The Psyche of the American Poet , and, most recently, A Coherent Splendor: The American Poetic Renaissance, 1910-1950 . He is the editor of Wallace Stevens: The Poetics of Modernism and Denise Levertov: Selected Criticism and for a decade edited Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture .
Published May 17, 1993 by W. W. Norton & Company. 448 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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