Adrienne Rich began her career by winning the Yale Younger Poets Award in 1950. Over the next seven decades, she went on to win nearly every major prize for poetry that exists—including a 1997 National Medal of the Arts, which she turned down in protest, saying, “Art means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of the power which holds it hostage.” Her example has served as a guiding light for lesbian artists in America for generations, and with Hilary Holladay’s The Power of Adrienne Rich, she has finally received the towering biography she deserves, which will share her legacy with generations yet to come. Holladay brings the lyricism of a poet and the diligence of a scholar to her subject, creating a book that is both beautiful and revealing.

The Power of Adrienne Rich by Hilary Holladay. Published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. The editor is Nan A. Talese; the agent is Janet Reed. The Power of Adrienne Rich is a finalist for the Publishing Triangle’s Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction; the winner will be announced on May 12.