I finished Hilary Holladay’s wonderful biography of the poet Adrienne Rich, titled The Power of Adrienne Rich (Talese 2020). It can be found here.
This masterful, heartfelt biography provided deep insight into the poet Adrienne Rich as well as to myself, insofar as I’ve reflected upon my own engagement with Rich (for the most part with her latter oeuvre of 1991-2012 or so, compared to the span of 1951-2012).
Holliday’s biography takes you through the making of the poet, so to speak, and this is fascinating. The heart of this biography involves her 1960s and especially 1970s feminist work, and quite detailed and insightful. I myself was born by the time Adrienne Rich already was famous; I have been most engaged with and influenced by her anti-globalization 1990s and 2000s books, especially Midnight Salvage and Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth, to name two. If nothing else, what great titles!
Now, I am sort of reading through her Collected Poems, recently released. It’s interesting to see how she went from a formalist poet we all know to a sort of leaping imagists phase, before settling into a more diartistic imagistic intuitive balance by the early 1970s that made her famous and produced poems like, “Diving Into the Wreck.”
I am not sure I have the time needed to truly revisit her poetry with the sounding leisure that I’d prefer. I am sure there will be much absorbed even if escaping recollection. Nevertheless . . . onward.
G. H. Mosson