Adrienne Rich

1999 Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement

photo of Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich (1929 - 2012) was an American poet, essayist, feminist, and public intellectual. In 1951 W.H. Auden selected her for the Yale Younger Poets Award, when she was 21 years old. She published more than 30 books over seven decades, including the collections of poetry Diving into the Wreck, The Dream of a Common Language, The Fact of a Doorframe: Selected Poems 1950—2001, An Atlas of the Difficult World: Poems 1988—1991, Dark Fields of the Republic: Poems 1991—1995, Midnight Salvage, Fox, The School Among the Ruins, Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth, as well as the prose book Of Woman Born and the collection of essays, A Human Eye: Essays on Art in Society.

Her numerous awards included the inaugural Ruth Lilly Prize (1986), the Wallace Stevens Award (1996), a Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award (1999), and a National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

In 2010, Rich received a Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Poetry Prize. In presenting the award, Carolyn Forché said, "By her fierce attention to the world as it is and could be, in a poetics of political intimacy and lyric intensity, she opened a space for us, for our lives and work, and we wish to thank her tonight, for this and for her formidable contribution to the poetic art, for her poetry that announces: I am an instrument in the shape/ of a woman trying to translate pulsations/ into images/ for the relief of the body/ and the reconstruction of the mind."

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