Leaflets is Adrienne Rich's fifth book of poems. It contains twenty-eight new poems, five adaptations of Dutch, Yiddish, and Russian poets, and a sequence of seventeen poems loosely based on the ghazal, a common form in Middle Eastern poetic tradition; these ghazals comprise a kind of notebook of a month in the summer of 1968.
The themes of this book are the poetics of violence and the poetics of love. Its impulse is the deepening of recognitions through language, in a time of ignorance and mutilation.
Miss Rich has written: "For a poet...there is this primary labor with words. But I have the notion that how you live your life has something to do with itthat morality, for a poet, is a refusal of blinders, of traditional consolations, a courage to be alone, or wounded....A willingness to step out into the fog, to take paths which may lead nowhere. Certainty, predictability, are the first supports that have to go. I see the poetry of things as standing in resistance to brute mechanistic force, the charge of the rhinoceros with its head down. To discoverliterallythis poetry and re-create it in language is a poet's essential action."
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.