Adrienne Rich Honored at CLAGS

On Friday, November 17th, Adrienne Rich delivered the
15th Annual David R. Kessler Lecture in Lesbian and Gay
Studies. In her talk, Rich paid homage to those whose work
laid the groundwork for her own. She quoted from Walt
Whitman, James Baldwin, Judy Grahn, Carolyn Forsche,
Robert Pinsky, and others, to argue for the importance of
poetry as a form of art, activism, and inspiration. CLAGS Executive
Director Paisley Currah opened the event and CLAGS
founder Martin Duberman introduced Rich.
Rich, a much sought after speaker, was pleased to be honored
by CLAGS. “The company, the warmth of the audience,
and the many old friends and acquaintances
who showed up at the reception.
It was a memorable and moving occasion
for me, seeing faces from my old
New York life, former students, young
people full of zest and new energy,”
Rich wrote to CLAGS after the event.
The David R. Kessler Award,
which has been given each year since
1992, honors an individual who has
made a lifetime contribution to gay
and lesbian studies. The previous
awardees are: Joan Nestle, Edmund
White, Barbara Smith, Monique
Wittig, Esther Newton, Samuel R.
Delany, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, John
D’Emilio, Cherrie Moraga, Judith
Butler, Jonathan Ned Katz, Gayle Rubin, Isaac Julian, and Carole S. Vance.
Rich is the author of more than fi fteen volumes of poetry, including Dark Fields of the Republic: Poems
1991-1995, Midnight Salvage, and Fox, as well as four books of non-fi ction prose, including Of Woman Born:
Motherhood as Experience and Institution and What is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics. Her most
recent book of essays is entitled Arts of the Possible: Essays & Conversation. Last fall, the National Book Foundation
awarded Rich the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.