Arts of the Possible
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Arts of the Possible : Essays and Conversations

By (author) Adrienne Rich

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These essays trace a distinguished writer's engagement with her time, her arguments with herself and others. "I am a poet who knows the social power of poetry, a United States citizen who knows herself irrevocably tangled in her society's hopes, arrogance, and despair," Adrienne Rich writes. The essays in Arts of the Possible search for possibilities beyond a compromised, degraded system, seeking to imagine something else. They call on the fluidity of the imagination, from poetic vision to social justice, from the badlands of political demoralization to an art that might wound, that may open scars when engaged in its work, but will finally suture and not tear apart. This volume collects Rich's essays from the last decade of the twentieth century, including four earlier essays, as well as several conversations that go further than the usual interview. Also included is her essay explaining her reasons for declining the National Medal for the Arts. "The work is inspired and inspiring."-Alicia Ostriker "[S]o clear and clean and thorough. I learn from her again and again."-Grace Paley

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  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 141.7 x 211.3 x 14.2mm | 240.41g
  • 17 May 2002
  • WW Norton & Co
  • New York
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0393323129
  • 9780393323122
  • 513,122

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Author Information

Widely read, widely anthologized, widely interviewed and widely taught, Adrienne Rich (1929-2012) was for decades among the most influential writers of the feminist movement and one of the best-known American public intellectuals. She wrote two dozen volumes of poetry and more than a half-dozen of prose. Her constellation of honors includes a National Book Award for poetry for Tonight, No Poetry Will Serve, a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant in 1994, and a National Book Award for poetry in 1974 for Diving Into the Wreck. That volume, published in 1973, is considered her masterwork. Ms. Rich's other volumes of poetry include The Dream of a Common Language, A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far, An Atlas of the Difficult World, The School Among the Ruins, and Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth. Her prose includes the essay collections On Lies, Secrets, and Silence; Blood, Bread, and Poetry; an influential essay, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence," and the nonfiction book Of Woman Born, which examines the institution of motherhood as a socio-historic construct. In 2006, Rich was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Foundation. In 2010, she was honored with The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry's Lifetime Recognition Award.

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