Dark Fields of the Republic: Poems, 1991-1995

Dark Fields of the Republic: Poems, 1991-1995

by Adrienne Rich
     
 

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"When does a life bend towards freed? grasp its direction" asks Adrienne Rich in Dark Fields of the Republic, her major new work. Her explorations go to the heart of democracy and love, and the historical and present endangerment of both.
A theater of voices of men and women, the dead and the living, over time and across continents, the poems of Dark Fields of

Overview

"When does a life bend towards freed? grasp its direction" asks Adrienne Rich in Dark Fields of the Republic, her major new work. Her explorations go to the heart of democracy and love, and the historical and present endangerment of both.
A theater of voices of men and women, the dead and the living, over time and across continents, the poems of Dark Fields of the Republic take conversations, imaginary and real, actions taken for better or worse, out of histories and songs to extend the poet's reach of witness and power of connection—and then invites the reader to participate.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In poems written since 1991, Rich conceives a spare but variegated poetic landscape where the borders of politics, art and personal relationships dissolve to unloose disembodied, truth-telling voices: ``...this is not somewhere else but here,/ our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,/ its own ways of making people disappear.'' Two sections, ``What Kind of Times Are These'' and ``Then Or Now,'' explore the individual mind's impress on the world, sometimes drawing from the lives of political visionaries and intellectuals. In the 10-part poem, ``Calle Visin,'' a real place becomes a topography of human memory and imagination. Ideas (``surely the love of life is never-ending'') undulate with imagistic details (``a cat drinks from a bowl of marigolds'') in poems with often shorter lines than in her last book, An Atlas of the Difficult World; forms like couplets and quatrains are also more frequently used here. Distilled to shorthand, this is political, deeply personal poetry that emerges from Rich's experience of the world's horrors and beauty, and her knowledge that ``The beauty of darkness/ is how it lets you see.'' (Sept.)
Library Journal
"This is not somewhere else but here,/our country moving closer to its own truth and dread," warns Rich in the grand, admonitory poem that opens her 20th collection. But this new work is not thoroughgoingly foreboding despite "acceptable levels of cruelty, steadily rising." Rich displays omnivorous avidity ("Whatever you bring in your hands I need to see it"); sure, pure imagery from "this my labyrinthine filmic brain"; testiness "because in times like these/to have you listen at all, it's necessary/to talk about trees"; and even occasional, incremental succor: "and yes, you can feel happy/with just one piece of your heart." Both particular and portentous, these poems continue the testament of one of our most committed poets, who reflects in the volume's closing strophes, "These are the extremes I stoke/into the updraft of this life/still roaring/into the thinnest air." Highly recommended.Thomas Tavis, San Francisco P.L.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393313987
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
09/01/1995
Pages:
90
Sales rank:
985,926
Product dimensions:
8.16(w) x 7.92(h) x 0.30(d)

Meet 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 a National Book Award for poetry for Tonight, No Poetry Will Serve, a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 1994, and a National Book Award for poetry in 1974 for Diving Into the Wreck. That volume, published in 1973, is considered her masterwork. Ms. Rich’s other 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 2006, Rich was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Foundation. In 2010, she was honored with The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry's Lifetime Recognition Award.

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