Widely read, widely anthologized, widely interviewed, and widely taught, Adrienne Rich (1929-2012) was for decades among the most influential writers of the feminist movement and one of the best-known American public intellectuals. She wrote two dozen volumes of poetry and more than a half-dozen of prose. Her constellation of honors includes two National Book Awards, a MacArthur Foundation genius grant, and a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Foundation. Ms. Rich's volumes of poetry include The Dream of a Common Language, A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far, An Atlas of the Difficult World, The School Among the Ruins, and Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth. Her prose includes the essay collections On Lies, Secrets, and Silence; Blood, Bread, and Poetry; an influential essay, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence, and the nonfiction book Of Woman Born, which examines the institution of motherhood as a socio-historic construct. In 2010, she was honored with The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry's Lifetime Recognition Award. Sandra M. Gilbert has published numerous volumes of criticism and poetry, for which she has won many awards, including, in 2017, an honorary doctorate from Harvard University, and in 2012, together with frequent collaborator Susan Gubar, the National Book Critics Circle's Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in Berkeley, California.
Rich urges us to stand up, look around and question outdated politics in a startlingly modern flourish. These essays are aptly named; they are indeed essential. -- The Irish Times I once read that a blue whale's arteries are so large that an adult human could swim through them. That's what entering these essays feels like - to flow along with the pulses of Rich's intelligence, to be enveloped by her capacious heart and mind. -- International New York Times