The final volume of poems by America’s most powerful and distinctive poetic voice.
Later Poems: Selected and New brings together a remarkable body of work by the celebrated poet. Included are Adrienne Rich’s own selections from twelve volumes of published works, including the National Book Award–winning Diving into the Wreck, An Atlas of the Difficult World, and her final volume, Tonight No Poetry Will Serve, along with ten powerful new poems, previously uncollected. This collection testifies to a monumental career that distinguished American literature in the late twentieth century, and will continue to inspire readers for years to come.
This big and important selection begins at the point where Rich (who died in March 2012) became a national political figure: Diving into the Wreck (1973), with its often-quoted title poem, became a must-read for 1970s feminists, while The Dream of a Common Language (1977), with its central sequence Twenty-One Love Poems, set a new standard for writing on love between women. The long phrases of Yom Kippur 1984 look back at her Jewish heritage, showing how a writer s solitude interacts with an activist s solidarity; An Atlas of the Difficult World (1991) found phrases harsh and mild for American landscapes, especially her adoptive home in California, where the light of outrage is the light of history,/ springing upon us when we re least prepared. Rich could depict calls to action and prophetic near-despair, but her white spaces and broken-up lines, recurring symbols (solitary mammals, lost boats, telescopes) and isolated terms could also portray an inner life as complex as it was committed. Those portrayals resound anew through the 10 new poems, among them an inspiring address For the Young Anarchists and the last of her many responses to Wallace Stevens. What s concrete for me: from there I cast out further, she wrote; this inspiring retrospective shows just how much she could take in.