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... show more
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Rich's interview for American Poetry Review, which presents a full and frank discussion of her work; and her previously unpublished commentary on the genesis of the poem "Yom Kippur 1984."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.