Respected feminist poet and essayist Adrienne Rich has passed away at her home in Santa Cruz, she was 82-years-old. Rich died from complications brought on by her rheumatoid arthritis, a condition she suffered with for much of her life.
Rich is best known for her poems and essays that attacked what she considered to be the “myths” of the American Dream.
The poets best work came about during social upheaval in the 1960s and 1970s, a time when she was known as a strong advocate for women’s rights. Rich also strongly opposed the war movement at the time and she often wrote about how such wars marginalized the poor and underprivileged.
Rich could often be found attending rallies against the Vietnam war, marching for women’s rights and organizing poetry readings.
In her 1968 women’s rights poem “On Edges,” she wrote:
taste blood, yours or mine, flowing
from a sudden slash, thancut all day
with blunt scissors on dotted lines
like the teacher told.
Albert Gelpi, an emeritus professor of American Literatur at Stanford tells the LA Times:
“Her experiences “resonated with the political and social environment of the time … That is what made her poetry so powerful.”
With women’s rights seemingly taking a step backwards on the campaign trail and throughout our society in recent years the loss of Andrienne Rich couldn’t come at a worse time for women’s rights. On the other hand her work will likely be brought to the forefront of many people’s reading lists in the near future.