When We Dead Awaken: Reading Adrienne Rich

Monday, July 10, 2017 - 6:00pm to Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 8:00pm

*General registration at this link is closed.

Class Meetings: Monday and Wednesday evenings, 6-8pm, from July 10 to July 19, in the Poetry Center Conference Room 207.

This short course is designed for poets who wish to have a breakthrough in their own writing.

Of what value is Adrienne Rich’s poetry today for the working artist? Let us survey Rich’s greatest hits, which correspond to changes in her consciousness and which, in turn, shaped the consciousness of the time in which she lived and loved. Perhaps no other poet has stretched the subjective affect of the lyric mode to such meditative, narrative, and rhetorical intentions.

We will read her poems with traditional, experimental, and developing discourses in mind. One of the subtexts of this short course will regard our assumptions about truth and beauty, which abound in Middle Eastern, European, African, and Asian thought as much as in the British romanticism to which we North Americans sometimes gravitate in our early, limited study of poems. What is the current thinking about truth and beauty in contemporary poetry, and how are these inherent assumptions, their substitutes, or their counter-arguments represented in her work?

While Adrienne Rich was always on a poetic quest, with its many difficulties, she knew when it is that we thrive as artists and human beings: “When we dead awaken.”


Text: Collected Poems 1950-2012, Adrienne Rich, WW Norton, 2016. With an introduction by Claudia Rankine.