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Feminist poet Adrienne Rich dies at 82

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Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich, a pioneering feminist poet and essayist who has been called “one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century” has died at her home in Santa Cruz, Calif. She was 82.

The Los Angeles Times reported that, according to her son Pablo Conrad, the cause of death was due to complications from the rheumatoid arthritis that had plagued her for much of her life.

Rich, who had been in a relationship with the Jamaican-American author Michelle Cliff since 1976, was the recipient of, among others, the Yale Young Poets prize, the National Book Award and the Dorothea Tanning Award, the latter awarded by the Academy of American Poets.

She was best known as an advocate of women’s rights, which formed the dominant motif of both her prose and poetry, but also engaged with sexual politics and foreign policy, especially in her strong anti-war stance. She was a native of Baltimore, and attended Radcliffe College.

In her controversial work Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution, published in 1976, Rich acknowledged that, for her, lesbianism was both a political as well as a personal issue, writing, “The suppressed lesbian I had been carrying in me since adolescence began to stretch her limbs.”

The direct treatment of lesbian desire and sexuality in her writing were themes that ran throughout her work afterwards.

Rich is survived by Cliff; her three sons, David, Pablo and Jacob Conrad; her sister, Cynthia; and two grandchildren.

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Posted by on Apr 12, 2012. Filed under Entertainment News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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