Adrienne Rich, a pioneering lesbian feminist, poet, and essayist who was considered to be one of America’s most influential contemporary poets, has died. She was 82. Her son, Pablo Conrad, reported that her death resulted from long-term rheumatoid arthritis.

Adrienne Rich was born in Baltimore, Maryland on May 16, 1929,. She attended Radcliffe College, graduating in 1951, and was selected by W.H. Auden for the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize for A Change of World that same year.  Over-time, Rich earned renown for her left leaning politics as well as her exploratory  and impassioned poetry. Rich received the Bollingen Prize, the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the National Book Award, and a MacArthur Fellowship; she is also a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

LA Times reports:

[Rich] came of age during the social upheavals of the 1960s and ’70s and was best known as an advocate of women’s rights, which she wrote about in both her poetry and prose. But she also wrote passionate antiwar poetry and took up the causes of the marginalized and underprivileged.

From her first book of poems in the early 1950s, Rich, a Baltimore native who attended Radcliffe College, showed her feminist bearings. Twenty years later, her image was set when universities began introducing courses in women’s studies and Rich was among the most likely writers to be included.

A full obituary will follow on LambdaLiterary.org shortly.


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  • Ron Fritsch

One Response to “Poet Adrienne Rich, 82, has died”

  1. Corinne Diana 31 March 2012 at 10:41 AM #

    When my son emailed me that Adrienne Rich died, I wrote back that she was difficult to read. That was my memory and it was skewed. I had forgotten that I had several (5 actually) of her books, but I read them in the decades before I came out as a Lesbian, before I could even say, “lesbian” out loud, much less describe myself as such. But on Wednesday I found a volume on my bookshelf that I has not yet read, “A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far.” I didn’t even sit down when I began reading it. How wonderful it is to read something of hers that is new to me in my sixth decade of life. I find she is not so difficult to read, after all. Rather, I cry with her and feel renewed.



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