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December 21 , 2010

The School Among the Ruins: Poems 2000-2004


"Trust Rich, a clarion poet of conscience, to get the fractured timbre of the times just right." – Booklist, starred review

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Who is Slobodan Milosevic?Is he the next Saddam Hussein, the leader of a renegade nation who will continue to torment the United States for years to come? Or is he the next Moammar Qaddafi, an international outcast silenced for good by a resolute American bombing campaign?The war in Kosovo in the spring of 1999 introduced many…

In this new collection Adrienne Rich confronts dislocations and upheavals in the United States at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The title poem, in a young schoolteacher's voice, evokes the lessons that children ("Not of course here") learn amid violence and hatred, "when the whole town flinches / blood on the undersole thickening to glass." "Usonian Journals 2000" intercuts faces and conversations, building to a dystopic/utopic vision. Throughout these fierce and musical poems, Rich traces the imprint of a public crisis on individual experience: personal lives bent by collective realities, language itself held to account.

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