Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook

By Jennifer Scanlon | Go to book overview

ADRIENNE RICH
(1929-)

Sioban Dillon

Adrienne Rich's work includes poetry, scholarly social criticism, teaching, and activism. Growing up in a middle-class suburb of Baltimore, Rich benefited from having parents who encouraged her to read and write in her youth; she published two plays and a group of poems by age twelve. Shortly after graduating from Radcliffe College in 1951, she married Alfred Conrad, a teacher in economics at Harvard University, and bore three sons between 1955 and 1959. Rich remembers this time as a maddening period of her life (possibly marked by an eight-year gap between publications). When her husband began teaching at City College of New York, they moved to New York City. There Rich formed her seminal relationships with Audre Lorde and June Jordan. Included on the roster of schools where Rich has taught are Swarthmore College, Columbia University, Brandeis University, and City College of New York (after her husband died in 1970, Rich continued to teach at Brandeis and in New York City). Among her many prizes and awards is the prestigious National Book Award for Poetry in 1974, which she rejected for herself but accepted with cowinner Audre Lorde in the name of all women. Since 1976, Rich has lived with her partner Michelle Cliff, a writer and historian. She currently spends much of her time in California.

Rich's major contributions to feminist theory break down into two divisions: her poetry and her essays, yet to fix Adrienne Rich within a specific theory of feminism is a difficult task. The categories lesbian-feminist, Jewish-feminist, materialist-feminist, and woman-centered race/class theorist are all partially apropos, but her eclectic essays, poetry, and musings exceed the bounds of these definitions. Her work unifies different "schools" of feminist thought in order to explore the common concerns different oppressions share without negating those differences. Of all the terms Rich utilizes--"lesbian," "race," and "identity" occur repeatedly in her prose--the figure of woman and real women form the core from which she draws her authority to speak out against global injustices. Adrienne Rich never forgets the relentless economic hardships faced by the majority of the

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Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editorial Board ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Bella Abzug (1920-1998) 1
  • Paula Gunn Allen (1939-) 8
  • Gloria AnzaldÚa (1942-) 14
  • Frances Beale (1940-) 22
  • Rita Mae Brown (1944-) 28
  • Charlotte Bunch (1944-) 36
  • Pat Califia (1954-) 44
  • Judy Chicago (1939-) 51
  • Shirley Chisholm (1924-) 55
  • Esther Ngan-Ling Chow (1943-) 60
  • Pearl Cleage (1948-) 66
  • Kate Clinton (1945- ) 73
  • Mary Daly (1928- ) 79
  • Angela Davis (1944-) 86
  • Shulamith Firestone (1945-) 98
  • Jo Freeman (1945-) 104
  • Betty Friedan (1921-) 111
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-) 118
  • Bell Hooks (1952- ) 125
  • Dolores Huerta (1930-) 133
  • June Jordan (1936-) 138
  • Evelyn Fox Keller (1936-) 145
  • Florynce Kennedy (1916-) 150
  • Audre Lorde (1934-1992) 156
  • Catharine Mackinnon (1946-) 163
  • Olga Madar (1915-1996) 174
  • Wilma Mankiller (1945-) 181
  • Del Martin (1921-) 188
  • Kate Millett (1934- ) 194
  • CherrÍe Moraga (1952- ) 201
  • Robin Morgan (1941-) 206
  • Pauli Murray (1910-1985) 213
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (1937-) 218
  • Alice Paul (1885-1977) 223
  • Anna Quindlen (1952-) 231
  • Adrienne Rich (1929-) 238
  • Faith Ringgold (1930-) 245
  • Rosemary Ruether (1936-) 251
  • Joanna Russ (1937-) 257
  • Patricia Schroeder (1940-) 264
  • Eleanor Smeal (1939-) 271
  • Barbara Smith (1946-) 279
  • Gloria Steinem (1934-) 283
  • Margo St. James (1937-) 290
  • Alice Walker (1944- ) 297
  • Rebecca Walker (1969-) 305
  • Michele Wallace (1952-) 311
  • Sarah Weddington (1945-) 317
  • Ellen Willis (1941-) 327
  • Selected Bibliography 335
  • Index 341
  • About the Editor and Contributors 355
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