The Young Insurgent’s Commonplace-Book: Adrienne Rich’s “Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law”

1960s: Days of Rage


“I wish I could remember when I first read ‘Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law.’ It could have been in 1963, when the eponymous book appeared, but if it had, it would have been a revelation (which I did not have for some years) that other women poets were grappling with the issues I was at twenty, that there might be dialogue and exchange, if not in conversations and letters, in the way a poem in a book calls another poet back to notebook and pen. Like Rich herself at twenty, my literary dialogues on and off the page were largely with men: on one hand, Auden, Lowell, Berryman, on the other, the acolytes of the ‘San Francisco Renaissance‘ talking of and reading the work of Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan to their East Coast juniors. I read Ariel in 1963, and like other women poets of…

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