Adrienne Rich - Biography and Works

Adrienne Rich born in Baltimore, Maryland was an American poetess and essayist best known for her observation of the experiences of women in society. Her poems often deal with the historical development of women’s roles in society. During her career, Rich has also been active in the women’s movement, and much of her poetry reflects this concern. During 1960s Rich and her husband Conrad were active in radical politics and the antiwar movement.

Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)

Her poetry is so provocative and it even encourages political action. Like Plath, she writes about women’s roles and experiences but she moved beyond Plath in discovering ways to apply her anger not to self-destruction but to pointed critiques and re-envisioning of society. Her poetry provides a chronicle of the evolving consciousness of the modern women. Written in a period of rapid and dramatic social change, her work explores the experience of women, who reject patriarchal definitions of femininity by separating themselves from the political and social reality that trivializes and subordinate females. Her prime concern has been for all who are silenced and crippled by the “world masculinity unfit for women or men.”

As a feminist poet Rich insists on the importance of the “imaginative identification with all women (and with the ghostly woman in all men)” and commits herself to the re-creation of a female community that is dedicated to a nurturing ethos and a reverence for life. Rich hopes that the community of all women “the poet, the housewife, the lesbian, the mathematician, the mothers, the waitress….” will not only resist the crippling and damaging effects of patriarchy but will also create a culture in which women have equal economic, social, and political rights with men. She also strove to convey a sense of immediacy, even urgency. “Instead of poems about experiences I am getting poem that are experiences,” Rich wrote in 1964.

Her poems have been published in many collections, including Collected Early Poems: 1950-1970 (1993), The Will to Change (1971), The Fact of a Doorframe (1984), and An Atlas of the Difficult World (1991). She has also written What Is Found There (1993) and other books of prose.

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Sharma, Kedar N. "Adrienne Rich - Biography and Works" BachelorandMaster, 19 Oct. 2013,