America's enduring poet of conscience reflects on the proven and potential role of poetry in contemporary politics and life.
In 29 essays Rich explores what poets do to politics and what politics does to poets. She begins by struggling along with a sculptural Jacob in the embrace of an angel, and ends with the new "Six meditations in place of a lecture" in which she struggles with the existence and purpose of poetry in a post-9/11 world. Along the way she shares her reactions to things of the world in her letters, journal entries, and close readings of dozens of writers also reacting to things of the world, past and present. She finds poetry imbues politics, not as an immediate political function with a foreseeable or desired result, but as part of a nobler effort to touch the hearts and minds of other humans, political and otherwise through language as we all struggle with our particular political angels. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)