"There's a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill..."

Adrienne Rich

What Kind of Times Are These

"There's a lot of what I would call comfortable poetry around...But then there is all this other stuff going on -- which is wilder, which is bristling; it's juicier, it's everything that you would want. And it's not comfortable. That's the kind of poetry that interests me…" Adrienne Rich was born in 1929 in Baltimore, Maryland. By the age of 22, the same year she graduated from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she had published her first book of poetry, A Change of World, for which she had been awarded the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize. The title foreshadowed her own personal, political and artistic evolution. The Encyclopedia of American Poetry (2001), states "…no poet's career reflects the cultural and poetic transformations undergone in the United States during the 20th century better than that of Adrienne Rich." The poem "What Kind of Times Are These" from Rich's book Dark Fields of the Republic, makes reference to the Bertolt Brecht poem "For Those Born Later": "What kind of times are these/ When it's almost a crime to talk about trees/ Because it means keeping still about so many evil deeds?"

To read this and other poems by Adrienne Rich, as well as biographical information about the poet, please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.