Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich (1929–2012) was an American poet, essayist, and feminist. She is known for her truthful and often confrontational work and is recognized for bringing the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront in poetry. She was involved in anti-war, civil rights, and feminist movements, and received many awards in her lifetime, including the National Book Award and the the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award.

Poetry in Person

“In the fall of 1970, at the New School in Greenwich Village, a new teacher posted a flyer on the wall,” begins Alexander Neubauer’s introduction to this remarkable book. “It read ‘Meet Poets and Poetry, with Pearl London and Guests.’ ” Few students responded.

All We Know of Pleasure: Poetic Erotica by Women

Here is the good stuff: poetry written by women that actually excites the thinking reader. This anthology, spanning work of the last 75 years, will broaden its readers’ notions of what defines erotic poetry.

An Atlas of the Difficult World: Poems 1988–1991

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In this, her thirteenth book of verse, the author of “The Dream of a Common Language” and “Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law” writes of war, oppression, the future, death, mystery, love and the magic of poetry.

The Aesthetics of Power: The Poetry of Adrienne Rich

In The Aesthetics of Power, Claire Keyes examines the shape and scope of Rich's poetry as it applies to Rich's female aesthetic. Keyes uncovers the process by which Rich embraces, then rejects, accepted uses of power, achieving a vision of beneficent female power.

Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution

Adrienne Rich’s influential and landmark investigation concerns both the experience and the institution of motherhood. The experience is her own―as a woman, a poet, a feminist, and a mother―but it is an experience determined by the institution, imposed on all women everywhere.

On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966–1978

In this collection of prose writings, one of America’s foremost poets and feminist theorists reflects upon themes that have shaped her life and work.

Essential Essays: Culture, Politics, and the Art of Poetry

A career-spanning selection of the lucid, courageous, and boldly political prose of National Book Award winner Adrienne Rich.

The Politics of Women’s Spirituality: Essays by Founding Mothers of the Movement

This feminist classic (first published in 1982) presents a chorus of voices exploring their authentic spirituality. The essays are active rather than reactive, revolutionary rather than reformist, and express a broad political awareness.


Adrienne Rich: "For Ethel Rosenberg"

In this excerpt from the documentary "Unknown Secrets: Art & the Rosenberg Era" Adrienne Rich is captured reading her poem, 'For Ethel Rosenberg" at Boston's Faneuil Hall.

Arts of the Possible: Adrienne Rich on Writing, Capitalism, Freedom, and How Silence Fertilizes the Human Imagination

“The impulse to create begins—often terribly and fearfully—in a tunnel of silence. Every real poem is the breaking of an existing silence.”


Gloria Steinem