Midnight Salvage: Poems 1995-1998

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9780393319842: Midnight Salvage: Poems 1995-1998
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"An impressive new volume. . . . Rich's admirers will recognize the complex symbiosis between the activist and the maker of new language, each propelling, describing, provoking the other's words."―Publishers Weekly

"Look: with all my fear I'm here with you, trying what it means, to stand fast; what it means to move." In these astonishing new poems, Adrienne Rich dares to look and to extend her poetic language as witness to the treasures―the midnight salvage―we rescue from fear and fragmentation. Rich's work has long challenged social plausibilities built on violence and demoralizing power. In Midnight Salvage, she continues her explorations at the end of the century, trying, as she has said, "to face the terrible with hope, in language as complex as necessary, as communicative as possible―a poetics which can work as antidote to complacency, self-involvement, and despair. I have wanted to assume a theater of voices rather than the restricted I. To write for both readers I know exist and those I can only imagine, finding their own salvaged beauty as I have found mine." "In her vision of warning and her celebration of life, Adrienne Rich is the Blake of American letters."―Nadine Gordimer

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Review:

W.H. Auden chose Adrienne Rich for the Yale Younger Poet series when she was a mere 21. In Midnight Salvage, a half century later, in an act part homage, part defiance, Rich challenges the reader to reconsider whether poetry matters:

if a woman as vivid as any artist
can fling any day herself from the 14th floor

would it relieve you to decide Poetry
doesn't make this happen?

As we've come to expect from a writer who insists that "all kinds of language fly into poetry, like it or not" and "real acts are not simple," Rich sparks necessary epiphanies. Her Whitmanesque embrace of the silenced--the homeless woman, the drag queen, the paraplegic--forces us to question and redefine who and what poetry is for. This desire to widen art's access, to reject the "death mask / and the english cemetery all so under control and so / eternal," this refusal to play by the rules, infuses every poem. In "The Art of Translation," for instance, Rich celebrates the translator who allows access to the canon-excluded, to the poet whose work is itself an act of translation, and to any reader who speaks from the heart, "a zone that remains otherwise untranslatable."

Daring in their passion to inform and incite, these poems remind us that complacency is never an option. "I wanted to go somewhere / the brain had not yet gone," she confesses in "Letters to a Young Poet." Midnight Salvage is evidence of a destination reached. --Martha Silano

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.

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Book Description WW Norton & Co, United States, 1999. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English. Brand new Book. "Look: with all my fear I'm here with you, trying what it means, to stand fast; what it means to move." In these astonishing new poems, Adrienne Rich dares to look and to extend her poetic language as witness to the treasures-the midnight salvage-we rescue from fear and fragmentation. Rich's work has long challenged social plausibilities built on violence and demoralizing power. In Midnight Salvage, she continues her explorations at the end of the century, trying, as she has said, "to face the terrible with hope, in language as complex as necessary, as communicative as possible-a poetics which can work as antidote to complacency, self-involvement, and despair. I have wanted to assume a theater of voices rather than the restricted I. To write for both readers I know exist and those I can only imagine, finding their own salvaged beauty as I have found mine." "In her vision of warning and her celebration of life, Adrienne Rich is the Blake of American letters."-Nadine Gordimer. Seller Inventory # AAV9780393319842

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