Poetry As More Than Pretty Words


When a great feminist poet dies—a poet powerful enough to have left her mark in the minds of several generations of young women and men, powerful enough to have her obituary on the front page of the New York Times’ website—who do you want to write the obituary? Why, another feminist poet, of course, one whose work is also shaping the minds, etc.

So don’t miss Katha Pollitt, in The New Yorker, examining Adrienne Rich’s place in poetry and the 20th century, and poetry’s shifting place in the nation. Some of the highlights: 

The death of Adrienne Rich marks not only the end of a long and transcendent literary career—thirty books of poetry and prose, prizes beyond counting—but the end of a kind of poetry that mattered in the world beyond poetry… .

Rich’s career reminds us that poetry can be more than aesthetic, more than lyrics of personal feeling—although she wrote many beautiful lyrics. It can engage with the biggest issues of its day and speak to a large and passionate readership. 

Do go read the rest. 

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