Excellent magnetic-tape video of Adrienne Rich reading on the West Coast recently became available online, among many recordings from the Poetry Center’s American Poetry Archives at San Francisco State University.
The San Francisco State reading took place in April 1974 (less than a week after Rich accepted the National Book Award for Diving into the Wreck jointly with Alice Walker and Audre Lorde, “refusing the terms of patriarchal competition and declaring that we will share this prize among us, to be used as best we can for women”).
The first half includes “Incipience,” “When We Dead Awaken,” “The Stranger,” “Dialogue,” “August,” and “The Phenomenology of Anger,” all from Diving Into the Wreck. The reading continues with newer work that would appear in Poems Selected & New 1950–1974: “Family Romance,” “Essential Resources,” “For L.G., Unseen for Twenty Years,” “White Night,” “Re-forming the Crystal,” and ends with the sixteen-part “From an Old House in America.” Rich is introduced by Kathleen Fraser (1935-2019) director of the Poetry Center at the time.
Also recently available are audio files of Adrienne Rich reading on two separate occasions at the University of Arizona in Tucson. The first was recorded three months before the San Francisco State event, and the second is 15 years later — in March 1989.
The 1989 event consists almost entirely of work from her then-forthcoming book Time’s Power. The recordings are among more than a thousand readings and talks going back to 1963 at the UA Poetry Center’s Voca website.