Get to know the poet who forged a new language for sexuality and war politics for generations to come: Adrienne Rich.
For Adrienne Rich, poetry was not intended to massage an egotistical dream of the aesthetic. She wrote to bring change into being, to break taboos and to challenge perceived truth. Hear from some of the voices who have been deeply inspired by Rich, the revolutionary poet still considered today as one of the most poignant voices behind the 1960’s anti-war, feminist and LGBT rights movements.
Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck College and is a Fellow of the British Academy. Over the years, her books have ranged from the social and economic history of Ireland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, to social histories of the British working classes between 1860 and 1960s, to cultural histories of military conflict between the Anglo-Boer war and the present. She has worked on the history of the emotions, particularly fear and hatred, and the history of sexual violence. Joanna is also the author of Pain and Poetics: Forty Years of Adrienne Rich.
Mary Jean Chan is a poet, academic and editor from Hong Kong. Her work has appeared in The 2018 Forward Book of Poetry and The Poetry Review amongst others. Her debut pamphlet will be published by ignitionpress in 2018. Chan’s writing is informed by ruminations on the state of mental health amongst LGBTQ youths in a city she fled from, yet constantly wishes to return to. Chan describes Adrienne Rich to be a poet that ‘open[ed] up a whole new word for me in which poetry was not only enjoyable, but vital to life.’
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