April 1, 2012 in Nation/World

Adrienne Rich, poet, essayist

 

Rich
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Santa Cruz, Calif. – Adrienne Rich, a fiercely gifted, award-winning poet whose socially conscious verse influenced a generation of feminist, gay rights and anti-war activists, has died.

Rich, 82, died Tuesday at her Santa Cruz home from complications from rheumatoid arthritis, said her son, Pablo Conrad.

Through her writing, Rich explored topics such as women’s rights, racism, sexuality, economic justice and love between women.

Rich published more than a dozen volumes of poetry and five collections of nonfiction. She won a National Book Award for her collection of poems “Diving into the Wreck” in 1974.

In 2004, she won the National Book Critics Circle Award for her collection “The School Among the Ruins.” According to her publisher, W.W. Norton, her books have sold between 750,000 and 800,000 copies, a high number for a poet.

Harry Crews, cult fiction author

Gainesville, Fla. – Author Harry Crews, a hell-raiser and cult favorite whose hard and crazy times inspired his extreme but comic tales of the rural South, died Wednesday in Gainesville, Fla. He was 76 and had suffered from neuropathy, said his ex-wife, Sally Ellis Crews.

Crews wasn’t widely known, but those who knew him – whether personally or through his books – pledged eternal devotion. A wild man and drunken sage in the tradition of Charles Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson, he wrote bloodied, freakish stories drawn directly from his own experiences, including boxing and karate.

Crews sported a tattoo with a line from an E.E. Cummings poem, “How do you like your blue-eyed boy Mister Death,” on his right bicep under the tattoo of a skull.

Crews wrote 17 novels, including “Feast of Snakes” and “The Knockout Artist,” numerous short stories and novellas and the memoir “A Childhood.” He also taught graduate and undergraduate fiction writing workshops at the University of Florida.


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