Adrienne Rich was an award-winning poet, influential essayist, radical feminist, and a major intellectual voice of her generation. The Essential Essays gathers twenty- five of Rich's most renowned essays into one volume, demonstrating the lasting brilliance of her voice and her prophetic vision. Her thoughts on feminism, poetry, race, homosexuality, and identity are still powerful and relevant today. Discussing everything from her fearless poetic vision to her revolutionary views on social justice, Rich's essays unite the political, personal, and poetical.
Included are Rich's landmark essays "Motherhood as Experience and Institution"; "What Is Found There," about the need to reexamine the canon; "Why I Refused the National Medal for the Arts"; "When We Dead Awaken"; and "Compulsory Heterosexuality and the Lesbian Existence." As Sandra M. Gilbert writes in her introduction, "To re-read and to re-think Rich's prose as a complete oeuvre is to encounter a major public intellectual-- responsible, self-questioning, and morally passionate."