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Adrienne Rich (1929–2012)

Author of The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977

90+ Works 8,844 Members 77 Reviews 32 Favorited

About the Author

Adrienne Cecile 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 show more 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. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: photo credit: Lilian Kemp

Works by Adrienne Rich

Your Native Land, Your Life (1986) 207 copies
The Best American Poetry 1996 (1996) — Editor — 170 copies
Muriel Rukeyser: Selected Poems (1951) — Editor — 104 copies
Fox: Poems 1998-2000 (2001) 99 copies
Collected Poems: 1950-2012 (2016) 86 copies
Poetry and Commitment (2007) 68 copies
Leaflets: Poems 1965-1968 (1969) 67 copies
Selected Poems (1967) 46 copies
Necessities of Life (1966) 30 copies
Sources (1983) 26 copies
A Change of World: Poems (1951) 24 copies
Twenty-One Love Poems (1976) 18 copies
Sinister Wisdom 21 (1982) — Editor; Contributor — 9 copies
Sinister Wisdom 16 (1981) — Editor — 7 copies
Sinister Wisdom 17 (1981) — Editor — 6 copies
Antología poética (1981) 6 copies
Sinister Wisdom 18 (1981) — Editor — 6 copies
Sinister Wisdom 19 (1982) — Editor — 5 copies
Sinister Wisdom 24 (1983) — Editor — 5 copies
Um die Freiheit schreiben (1990) 3 copies
Poemas (1963-2000) (2002) 2 copies
Sinister Wisdom — Editor — 1 copy
Rescate a medianoche (2020) 1 copy
“Power” 1 copy
White Knight 1 copy
Two Songs 1 copy
Song 1 copy
The Trees 1 copy
Amends 1 copy
Pieces 1 copy
Snow Queen 1 copy
Upcountry 1 copy

Associated Works

The Art of the Personal Essay (1994) — Contributor — 1,382 copies
The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (2000) — Contributor — 1,267 copies
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 926 copies
The Best American Essays of the Century (2000) — Contributor — 780 copies
The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry (1990) — Contributor — 757 copies
The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (1993) — Contributor — 410 copies
Contemporary American Poetry (1962) — Contributor, some editions — 385 copies
Literature: The Human Experience (2006) — Contributor — 341 copies
The Essential Feminist Reader (2007) — Contributor — 320 copies
The Penguin Book of Women Poets (1978) — Contributor — 298 copies
The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse (1983) — Contributor — 237 copies
The Works of Anne Bradstreet (1981) — Foreword, some editions — 233 copies
The Best American Poetry 2001 (2001) — Contributor — 223 copies
The Best American Poetry 1999 (1999) — Contributor — 208 copies
The Art of Losing (2010) — Contributor — 203 copies
The Best American Poetry 2002 (2002) — Contributor — 182 copies
The Best American Poetry 2005 (2005) — Contributor — 177 copies
Erotica: Women's Writing from Sappho to Margaret Atwood (1990) — Contributor — 168 copies
Work of a Common Woman: The Collected Poetry of Judy Grahn 1964-1977 (1978) — Introduction, some editions — 167 copies
The Faber Book of Beasts (1997) — Contributor — 141 copies
The Best American Poetry 2009 (2009) — Contributor — 134 copies
Take Back the Night: Woman on Pornography (1980) — Afterword, some editions — 131 copies
The Best American Poetry 1993 (1993) — Contributor — 129 copies
No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women (1973) — Contributor — 124 copies
The Best American Poetry 2010 (2010) — Contributor — 121 copies
Granta 111: Going Back (2010) — Contributor — 113 copies
Poems from the Women's Movement (2009) — Contributor — 109 copies
Emergency Kit (1996) — Contributor, some editions — 109 copies
Working It Out (1977) — Foreword — 105 copies
The Best American Poetry 1992 (1992) — Contributor — 102 copies
Twentieth-Century American Poetry (1777) — Contributor — 98 copies
The Norton Book of Friendship (1991) — Contributor — 96 copies
Poems Between Women (1997) — Contributor — 93 copies
My Lover Is a Woman (1996) — Contributor — 90 copies
Granta 118: Exit Strategies (2012) — Contributor — 83 copies
The Best American Poetry 2013 (2013) — Contributor — 82 copies
American Sonnets: An Anthology (2007) — Contributor — 66 copies
The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink (2012) — Contributor — 63 copies
The Vintage Book of American Women Writers (2011) — Contributor — 57 copies
The Ecopoetry Anthology (2013) — Contributor — 49 copies
The Seasons of Women: An Anthology (1995) — Contributor — 46 copies
The Yale Younger Poets Anthology (1998) — Contributor — 33 copies
Atomic Ghost: Poets Respond to the Nuclear Age (1995) — Contributor — 30 copies
60 Years of American Poetry (1996) — Contributor — 28 copies
Race: An Anthology in the First Person (1997) — Contributor — 28 copies
Sinister Wisdom 33: Wisdom (1987) — Contributor — 23 copies
Sinister Wisdom 43/44: The 15th Anniversary Retrospective (1991) — Contributor — 20 copies
Crossing State Lines: An American Renga (2011) — Contributor — 20 copies
The Poetry Cure (2005) — Contributor — 19 copies
Queer Nature: A Poetry Anthology (2022) — Contributor — 16 copies
Modern Women Poets (2005) — Contributor — 13 copies
What Is Gender Nihilism? A Reader — Contributor — 9 copies
Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology (2018) — Contributor — 9 copies
Sinister Wisdom 20 (1982) — Editor — 6 copies
Sinister Wisdom 10: On Being Old and Age (1979) — Contributor — 6 copies
Sinister Wisdom 14 (1980) — Contributor — 5 copies
The Analog Sea Review: Number Four (2022) — Contributor — 4 copies
Sinister Wisdom 15: Violence (1980) — Contributor — 4 copies
Sinister Wisdom 6: Secrets. Taboos. (1978) — Contributor — 2 copies
Poems by Ghalib (The Hudson Review) — Translator — 2 copies
Sinister Wisdom 4 (1977) — Contributor — 1 copy
Sinister Wisdom 5 (1978) — Contributor — 1 copy
In'hui, No.9 — Contributor — 1 copy


20th century (187) Adrienne Rich (69) American (169) American literature (232) American poetry (168) anthology (1,186) collection (99) criticism (50) essay (65) essays (808) feminism (542) feminist (52) fiction (254) gay (79) glbt (53) history (62) lesbian (281) lgbt (90) LGBTQ (65) literary criticism (111) literature (458) motherhood (77) nature (65) non-fiction (576) own (92) poems (72) poetics (57) poetry (4,572) poetry anthology (88) politics (49) queer (99) read (107) reference (107) short stories (97) textbook (93) to-read (601) unread (70) women (247) women's studies (152) writing (170)

Common Knowledge



Adrienne Rich is probably the poet who has spoken most deeply to me since I “discovered” her in the early ‘90s. Her language, her topics feel so much like home to me. I also have many of her later books, but not the early books that comprise this collection, and it was wonderful to see her growth as a poet in these early works. My favorite poem in this collection is "I Dream of the Death of Orpheus." Favorite lines from it:
"I am a woman in the prime of life, with certain powers
and those powers are severely limited
by authorities whose faces I rarely see.
I am a woman in the prime of life
driving her dead poet in a black Rolls Royce
through a landscape of twilight and thorns."
… (more)
bschweiger | Feb 4, 2024 |
Not really a poetry lover but some I can read and actually enjoy. Adrienne's poetry is accessible.
Sixty years of poems from pioneering writer, activist, and intellectual Adrienne Rich―“the Blake of American letters” (Nadine Gordimer). Adrienne Rich was the singular voice of her generation, bringing discussions of gender, race, and class to the forefront of poetical discourse. This generous selection from all nineteen of Rich’s published poetry volumes encompasses her best-known work―the clear-sighted and passionate feminist poems of the 1970s, including “Diving into the Wreck,” “Planetarium,” and “The Phenomenology of Anger”―and offers the full range of her evolution as a poet. From poems leading up to her feminist breakthrough through bold later work such as “North American Time” and “Calle Visión,” Selected Poems celebrates Rich’s prophetic vision as well as the inventiveness that shaped her enduring art.… (more)
Karen74Leigh | Sep 23, 2023 |
“even you, fellow-creature, sister
sitting across from me, dark with love,
working like me to pick apart
working with me to remake
this trailing knitted thing, this cloth of darkness
this woman's garment, trying to save the skein”

cbwalsh | 6 other reviews | Sep 13, 2023 |
It’s simple to wake from sleep with a stranger,
dress, go out, drink coffee,
enter a life again. It isn’t simple
to wake from sleep into the neighborhood
of one neither strange nor familiar
whom we have chosen to trust. Trusting, untrusting,
we lowered ourselves into this, let ourselves
downward hand over hand as on a rope that quivered
over the unsearched... We did this. Conceived
of each other, conceived each other in a darkness
which I remember as drenched in light.
I want to call this, life.
… (more)
cbwalsh | 10 other reviews | Sep 13, 2023 |



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