Title Essential Essays
Subtitle Culture, Politics, and the Art of Poetry
Author Adrienne Rich
ISBN 9780393355130
List price USD 17.95
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 352
Book size 134 x 216 mm
Publishing year 2019
Original publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“Feminist poet and literary critic Gilbert skillfully selects examples that convey the considerable breadth of Rich’s purview as an essayist and exhibit her characteristic strategy of rejecting surface explanations and turning experience around in the light of subjective truth. Approachable, effective excerpts afford breathtaking encounters with genius.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


“A peerless pleasure.”

New York Times


“[Essential Essays] shows us a woman in full command of her intellect and art.… [Rich] is more relevant than ever.”

San Francisco Chronicle


“An excellent guide to living for anyone invested in the feminist struggle today, or the struggle for self-determination and equality more broadly.”

Pacific Standard


“Reading [Essential Essays], one is struck by the breadth of Rich’s research, the force of her arguments, the elegance and honesty of her personal writing.”



“This collection refreshes an esteemed opinion of Rich’s invaluable contributions to poetry and feminist thought.”

New York Journal of Books


“Rich offers a powerful reminder of the continuous self-reflection required to fight ignorance—one’s own and others’.… A profound and beautiful call to think, and feel, and fight.”

New York Times Book Review


“Vibrant.… [Rich’s] essays, always provocative, clear, and packed with insights, are wise, refreshingly humane, and well worth reading.”

Publishers Weekly


A New York Times Critics’ Pick

A career-spanning selection of the lucid, courageous, and boldly political prose of National Book Award winner Adrienne Rich.

Demonstrating the lasting brilliance of her voice and her prophetic vision, Essential Essays showcases Adrienne Rich’s singular ability to unite the political, personal, and poetical. The essays selected here by feminist scholar Sandra M. Gilbert range from the 1960s to 2006, emphasizing Rich’s lifelong intellectual engagement and fearless prose exploration of feminism, social justice, poetry, race, homosexuality, and identity.


A Note on the Text
Introduction: The Treasures That Prevail

On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966-1978
When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision (1971) • Jane Eyre: The Temptations of a Motherless Woman (1973) • Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily Dickinson (1975)

Poetry and Experience: Statement at a Poetry Reading (1964) • from Caryatid: A Column (1973)

Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution (1976)
Foreword • Anger and Tenderness • Motherhood and Daughterhood

Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose 1979–1985
What Does a Woman Need to Know? (1979) • Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence (1980) • Split at the Root: An Essay on Jewish Identity (1982) • The Eye of the Outsider: Elizabeth Bishop’s Complete Poems, 1927-1979 (1983) • Blood, Bread, and Poetry: The Location of the Poet (1984)

What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics (1993, 2003)
Woman and Bird • Voices from the Air • The Distance Between Language and Violence • Not How to Write Poetry, but Wherefore • “Rotted Names” • A Poet’s Education • Tourism and Promised Lands • Six Meditations in Place of a Lecture

Arts of the Possible (2001)
Muriel Rukeyser: Her Vision (1993) • Why I Refused the National Medal for the Arts (1997) • Arts of the Possible (1997)

A Human Eye (2009)
Permeable Membrane (2005) • Poetry and the Forgotten Future (2006)


About the Author:

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 two National Book Awards, a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, and a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Foundation.  Ms. Rich’s 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 2010, she was honored with The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry’s Lifetime Recognition Award.

Target Audience:

Students and academicians of English Literature, especially those interested in feminism & poetry.


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