Feminist poet Adrienne Rich died on Tuesday (March 27) at her home in Santa Cruz, Calif., reports the New York Times. She was 82 and had struggled with rheumatoid arthritis for years. Rich is considered one of the most influential voices of the feminist movement and one of America’s best-known poets.
In her poems and essays, Rich explored women’s rights, racism, socialism, sexuality and love between women — she was a lesbian.
In 1974, she won a National Book Award for her collection of poems “Diving into the Wreck.”
Rich came of age in the 1950s and married a Harvard economist. She had three sons with him, but left him in 1970 and eventually settled with her partner, writer/editor Michelle Cliff.
“She was very courageous and very outspoken and very clear,” Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and friend W.S. Merwin tells the New York Daily News. “She was a real original, and whatever she said came straight out of herself.”