Adrienne Rich (Adrienne Cecile Rich) Biography
(1931– ), (Adrienne Cecile Rich), A Change of World, The Diamond Cutters
American poet, born in Baltimore, educated at Radcliffe College. She has held posts at numerous American universities and became Professor of English and Feminist Studies at Stanford University in 1986. A Change of World (1951), her first collection of verse, was notable for the restraint with which her accomplished versification conveyed an underlying sense of vulnerability and impermanence. Strongly implied concern with the cultural distortions of women's experience in The Diamond Cutters (1955) anticipated the emergence of her characteristically feminist idiom in Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law (1963). The collection also initiated the use of richly musical free verse as the essential form of her poetry. The candour with which the title sequence used autobiographical elements led various critics to classify her as a Confessional poet. Necessities (1966), Diving into the Wreck (1972), The Dream of a Common Language (1978), Your Native Land, Your Life (1986), and Atlas of the Difficult World (1991) are among the numerous subsequent collections throughout which she has sustained a tone of uncompromising directness in poetry reflecting her radical feminism and urgent dissatisfaction with America's political status quo. The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems Selected and New 1950–1984 appeared in 1984. Of Woman Born (1976), an examination of the natural and social significances of motherhood, established Rich as an influential theorist of feminism; selections from her essays are contained in On Lies, Secrets, and Silence (1979) and Blood, Bread, and Poetry (1986).