adrienne rich

Adrienne Rich And Fixing Our “Half-Finished Houses”

This week would have been the 85th birthday of Adrienne Rich, the Jewish feminist poet who died three years ago leaving behind a tremendous legacy of ideas and words that helped shape many people’s gender identities and inspired the work of feminist activism.

Adrienne Rich

On Adrienne Rich, R.I.P., and Radical Transformation

For the first half of her life, the woman born Adrienne Cecile Rich, in Baltimore, 1929, lived the life you would have expected.  She was baptized and raised in the Episcopalian church; her father was a medical professor at Johns Hopkins; her mother a pianist and composer.  Adrienne went to Radcliffe and wrote poetry.  By 1950, the kingmaker of mid-century poets, W.H. Auden, helped her publish her first collection, “A Change of World,” which featured accomplished if rather dull formal English verse—punctual meters, rhymes, etc.

The Agony and Ecstasy of Jewish Book Awards

After Howard Jacobson won Britain's premier literary award, the Man Booker Prize, last year, for his very Jewish novel, "The Finkler Question," I celebrated with a heavy heart.  On the one hand, it was thrilling to see such a thickly-themed Jewish book--and an extremely good one--win Britain's highest award, especially at a time when even liberals are getting a little anxious about how much casual anti-semitism passes in polite company these days. 

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