Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich began her long beatification in American letters at age 22, when her first collection won the 1951 Yale Younger Poets prize. A Change of World was a prescient title, for Rich, who died March 27 at 82, went on to lead a renaissance in women's writing. "My politics is in my body," she wrote decades later, well aware that she'd won the oppression trifecta--feminist, lesbian, Jewish. But she shouldn't be ghettoized as a political scribe.

I first fell in love with Diving into the Wreck (1973) in college for its carnality and canny use of metaphor as much as...

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