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.
Combining all of Berryman's earlier 77 Dream Songs (which won the 1965 Pulitzer Prize) and His Toy, His Dream, His Rest (which won the 1969 National Book Award), this one-volume edition contains no fewer than 385 entries in what the critic Denis Donoghue has called Berryman's "dream diary." The book also has an index of first lines, an index of titles, and a note by the author.
This collection of poems put you in the mind of Terrence Dixon, the protagonist of my upcoming novel, “The Chronicles of Hope.” The novel examines four graduating friend’s lives as the luster of college fades into the stark vortex of adulthood. A part-time used car salesman, student and young writer, Terrence represents the black man, less spoken for. The unacknowledged that beat the odds of mortality rates, and artfully elude trap-ridden exit routes from corroded communities. The ones who follow the school blueprint by any means possible, enslaving themselves to debtors for the sake of an education, just so they may contribute to a society not meant for them to thrive in.
From Terrence’s perspective, in an array of poetry ranging from Prose to Spoken Word to Triolets, “The Dream Deferred” gives an up close and personal look of a young man identifying with the complexities of a world far greater than the public housing he escaped. Away at college he learns the ways of the world, the ways of his country, and his place in it. He captures the gravity of a cancerous upbringing, the shrewd reality of an American Dream dissolved, the audacity of a nation’s blatant disregard for its youth, and the hope it takes to persevere.