National LGBTQ Task Force Blog

By Hans Johnson, Vice Co-Chair, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Board of Directors

Feminist poet Adrienne Rich, who died this week at the age of 82, was a staggering intellect, with a voice of shattering clarity. Both will echo long after her passing.

It is impossible to exaggerate the impact she has had on two complete generations of students and scholars. Rich’s awards across 60 years — from the Yale Younger Poets Prize in 1951 to a MacArthur Fellowship and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Lannan Literary Foundation — hint at her productivity.  In 1981, she received the Fund for Human Dignity Award of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and in 1993, she attended the Task Force’s Creating Change Conference in Durham, N.C., where she did a book signing.

Rich traveled tirelessly in the ’70s, ’80s, and into the ’90s, leveraging a then-flourishing network of…

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