Compared with her first collection of prose (On Lies, Secrets
and Silence, published in 1979) this 1986 volume’s selections
are “less about poems themselves, and more about the social and historical conditions of their making.” It includes her
long essay “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence”
with an appended critical exchange, critical essays on women’s studies and feminist politics, and “Split at the Root,”
Rich’s autobiographical essay examining her own Jewish identity.