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Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose 1979-1985 (Norton Paperback)
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on April 26, 2015
A gripping and inspiring read. Great for discussion. A clear definition of radical feminism, which may surprise some.
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HALL OF FAMEon October 19, 2001
"Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose 1979-1985" brings together a thought-provoking collection of essays and speeches by Adrienne Rich. A prolific poet, Jewish woman, feminist, lesbian, political activist, and mother of three sons, Rich attempts to bring all of the pieces of herself into play as she confronts a host of intellectual, artistic, and ethical issues.
As the book's subtitle indicates, all of these pieces were written between 1979 and 1985, and thus the book as a whole serves as a valuable document of the intellectual work of a radical thinker under the neo-conservative shadow of the Reagan era. The book also evokes the waning decade of the Cold War.
Rich writes with great passion about feminism, and with great anger about the violence and oppression directed at lesbians from centuries past to the time in which these pieces were written. She often quotes or pays tribute to other writers who have inspired and impacted her: James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and others.
Rich covers much intriguing ground in these prose pieces. "The Problem of Lorraine Hansberry" may inspire you to re-read Hansberry's classic play "A Raisin in the Sun." "Split at the Root: An Essay on Jewish Identity" is a compelling autobiographical piece that examines her mixed Jewish/gentile heritage, her marriage and life as a mother, and her eventual emergence as a lesbian. A number of essays deal with her interest in the Sandinista revolution of Nicaragua.
Despite the often grim and humorless subject matter, I find Rich to be a remarkably engaging writer. At best, her work is challenging and genuinely thoughtful. As companion texts to this worthwhile collection I recommend the following: Audre Lorde's essay collection "Sister Outsider" and Tony Kushner's two-part play "Angels in America." For complementary perspectives on revolutionary Nicaragua, try the poetry of Gioconda Belli and Daisy Zamora. Finally, check out the two inaugural addresses of Reagan as well as former New York Governor Mario Cuomo's keynote address to the 1984 Democratic Convention; these political speeches can be found in the more recent editions of "A Documentary History of the United States," edited by Richard Heffner.
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on June 25, 2001
Adrienne Rich's prose collection Blood, Bread and Poetry spans almost sixteen years of writing. Those who are familiar with Rich's poems will find themselves in familiar intellectual and emotional territories. While I enjoy Rich's poetry much more than her prose (who doesn't enjoy poetry more than prose), Blood,... still had a freshness of voice and language that was surprising for a book that tackles philosophical and political material. For those who are interested in really delving into Rich's poetry (and her writings in general) the book is definitely worth reading at least once. I also feel the book is a must for anyone who is serious about writing. Overall, it was a satisfying read that I've come back to on occasion
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on August 10, 2009
If you are interested in Rich's work, this book is a must-buy. It contains famous essays (like "Compulsory Heterosexuality") and other key works. It is easy to read, well-organized, and essential for the Rich fan or scholar.
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on January 13, 2002
This book, and all of Rich's books, are the kind you want to give to everyone you know. Thoroughly enriching. They should be read by all poets, thinkers, women,....and , yes, men too.
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