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Popular Topics in Literature
García Lorca, Federico García Lorca, Federico
The works of García Lorca, internationally recognized as Spain's most prominent lyric poet and dramatist of the twentieth century, are filled with thinly veiled homosexual motifs and themes.
Musical Theater
There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.
Michelangelo Buonarroti Michelangelo Buonarroti
Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
African-American Literature: Gay Male African-American Literature: Gay Male
The African-American gay male literary tradition consists of a substantial body of texts and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.
Camp Camp
Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.
Hughes, Langston Hughes, Langston
Langston Hughes, whose literary legacy is enormous and varied, was closeted, but homosexuality was an important influence on his literary imagination, and many of his poems may be read as gay texts.
Baldwin, James Arthur Baldwin, James Arthur
James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.
Wilde, Oscar Wilde, Oscar
Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.
In Memoriam
In Memoriam: Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 03/28/12
Last updated on: 03/29/12
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Adrienne Rich.

Poet Adrienne Rich died on March 27, 2012 at her home in Santa Cruz, California from complications of rheumatoid arthritis. One of the most honored and most widely read poets of her generation, Rich, in the words of Martha Nell Smith, "aestheticized politics and politicized aesthetics."

The recipient of such literary awards as the Yale Younger Poets prize, the National Book Award, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Dorothea Tanning Award given by the Academy of American Poets, the MacArthur Fellowship, the Bollingen Award, and numerous other awards and fellowships, Rich was nevertheless always conscious of her status as an outsider, most particularly as a lesbian-feminist. Indeed, she came to embrace her role as a public poet with a particular responsibility to use her voice to articulate political positions.

In addition to having written some of the English language's most beautiful poems of lesbian love, especially those in Twenty-One Love Poems (1976), Rich authored the controversial, still-debated essay, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Experience" (1980), and for two years co-edited the lesbian-feminist journal Sinister Wisdom.

In 1981, the National Gay Task Force recognized her accomplishments with the Fund for Human Dignity Award; in 1992, she received the William Whitehead Award of the Publishing Triangle for lifetime achievement in letters; and she won two Lambda Literary Awards.

Rich also wrote anti-war poetry and was constantly aware of the manifold ways in which the personal is the political. She also explored her identification as a Jewish woman. Her passion for justice informed both her poetry and her essays.

Rich's National Book Award-winning volume, Diving into the Wreck (1973) is widely considered her defining collection. Other volumes include The Dream of a Common Language (1978), A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far (1981), The Fact of a Doorframe (1984), An Atlas of the Difficult World (1991) and Tonight No Poetry Will Serve (2011).

As Smith observes in her glbtq.com entry on Rich, "Through her monumental gift of poetry and her activism on behalf of lesbian and gay liberation and civil rights for everyone, she has indeed cast her lot with those who reconstitute the world. Her poems, her essays, interviews, and speeches are all a call to action, for they each remind us, as she remarked in 1991, that 'Experience is always larger than language.'"

Rich is survived by poet and novelist Michelle Cliff, her life-partner since 1976; three sons; a sister; and two grandchildren.

In the video below, Rich reads her poem "What Kind of Times Are These."

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