Essential Essays: Culture, Politics, and the Art of Poetry

Norton. Aug. 2018. 352p. ed. by Sandra M. Gilbert. notes. index. ISBN 9780393652369. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393355147. LIT
Renowned for her poetry and feminist leadership, National Book Award winner Rich (1929–2012) also created an extensive body of prose work. Among the essays collected here, many published during the author's lifetime, are reviews of other famous literary works, feminist and lesbian critiques, and commentary on the politics marking the third quarter of the 20th century. Excerpts from Rich's journals reveal her evolution from housewife and mother to new identities as well as her encounters with other poets. Clashes with her parents' personalities and social expectations, and confrontations with her own acculturated racism and blooming awareness of Jewish traumas find elegant passages that offer insight into Rich's own historical place and time. Gilbert's engaging introduction sets the tone for readers to explore the selections chosen for this volume.
VERDICT For both popular and academic literature collections and readers across generations.
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