Adrienne Rich's Later Poems Selected and New displays the strong trajectory of the work of one of the most distinguished artists of American letters. After her death Rich left a manuscript that speaks for her concern with a poetics of relation along with a passionate attention to craft.
In addition to her selections from twelve volumes of published work, Later Poems Selected and New contains ten powerful new poems. Among these, "From Strata" is a kind of archaeology of the present day; "Itinerary" searches for an "indefinite future" in a menaced landscape; "For the Young Anarchists" offers a trope of skilled labour for political action; and the haunting voice of the "Teethsucking Bird" reminds us of what we have been told to forget. These and other poems look back into history and forward into the future while engaging with contemporary moments. Rich's singular command of language continues to the end.
Widely read, widely anthologized, widely interviewed, and widely taught, Adrienne Rich (1929-2012) was for decades among the most influential writers of the feminist movement and one of the best-known American public intellectuals. She wrote two dozen volumes of poetry and more than a half-dozen of prose. Her constellation of honors includes a National Book Award for poetry for Tonight, No Poetry Will Serve, a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant in 1994, and a National Book Award for poetry in 1974 for Diving Into the Wreck. That volume, published in 1973, is considered her masterwork. Ms. Rich's other volumes of poetry include The Dream of a Common Language, A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far, An Atlas of the Difficult World, The School Among the Ruins, and Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth. Her prose includes the essay collections On Lies, Secrets, and Silence; Blood, Bread, and Poetry; an influential essay, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence," and the nonfiction book Of Woman Born, which examines the institution of motherhood as a socio-historic construct. In 2006, Rich was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Foundation. In 2010, she was honored with The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry's Lifetime Recognition Award.