Adrienne Rich Archive

Conversations about Trees: Engagement and Retreat in Brecht, Rich, and Marvell

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Nature offers the comforting suggestion of continuity, an awareness of scale; it can be both menacing and welcoming; it’s fertile ground for symbol and simile. However, in times of heightened political tension, poems about trees can feel like a cop-out, or especially irrelevant.

Out with T.S. Eliot, and In with Cathy Park Hong: Poetry Criticism in the 21st Century

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The debate about whether Rupi Kaur’s poetry (and by extension, the whole genre dubbed “instapoetry”) is good or bad has apparently been revived. Whether that debate is actually useful in the terms it has set out for itself remains to be seen. Most often, it seems, when the poet

Poetry, Science, Politics, and Birds

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In watching birds, I understand Adrienne Rich’s idea of triangulation through poetry, science, and politics. Someone thousands of miles across the globe must also value, give voice to, and protect the homes of my most familiar backyard birds.

Review: WRITING HARD STORIES by Melanie Brooks

Sharply written, these intimate and insightful exchanges dispel the myth that perhaps we all, writers or not, have come to believe about our own narratives, our own lives: “The worst story that we can tell ourselves is that we are alone.”

The Resistance Will Also Be Literary

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November has been a heavy month. The results of the U.S. elections came in; Leonard Cohen passed away; and on Sunday 13th, France commemorated the 1-year anniversary of the Paris attacks.

Truth & Dread: Why Poetry Still Matters & The Risk of (Too Much) Empathy

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If the question is whether most Americans are reading poetry, the answer is—I won’t sugarcoat it or fudge the numbers—“no.” My mother doesn’t read poetry, unless it’s mine. Does yours?

What Is The Most Underrated American Poem?

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I conducted short interviews with a group of hotshot poets, scholars, and critics to help out. I invited them to nominate an American poem they think is underrated—a poem they wish more people loved and taught, a poem that might be for many an unknown unknown.

The Compass Points to Julie Marie Wade for Lyric Nonfiction

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Catechism: A Love Story is not a romantic tale. It’s the story of the bride who ran away and the future bride who helped her. Author Julie Marie Wade, Lambda Literary Award winner for her memoir Without: Poems, doesn’t romanticize about finding love in this book-length lyric essay.

“Why not now go towards the things I love?”: The Aftermath of Being Queer

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Some part of me broke last Sunday. I kept scrolling this week through the news articles that listed the victims of the Orlando massacre, the pain in my heart growing with each name. It seems we’re being denied time and space to mourn.

The Ploughshares Round-Down: The State of Poetry in the US

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Early last month, PEN International publicly condemned the killing of Thai poet Mainueng K. Kunthee. The poet had been shot to death on April 23rd, presumably because of his public criticisms of the monarchy and Thailand’s lèse majesté law.  Known as a poet of the people, Kunthee was immensely popular; his work “spoke of social justice,