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Diving Into the Wreck

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Author: Adrienne Rich

Published: August 17th 1994 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1973)

Format: Paperback , 72 pages

Isbn: 9780393311631

Language: English


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"I came to explore the wreck. / The words are purposes. / The words are maps. / I came to see the damage that was done / and the treasures that prevail." These provocative poems move with the power of Rich's distinctive voice.

30 review for Diving Into the Wreck

  1. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Vacca

    With language as clinically apocalyptic and claustrophobically dystopic as anything to be found in the postmodern nightmares of Ballard and DeLillo, Diving Into the Wreck rages against the heteronormative status quo as Rich points her poetic finger at men and women, both of whom bear the burden of guilt. These poems range across shifting tropes such as ecological destruction, commodification, Vietnam, dreams and violence to showcase Rich's belief that the domestic scene is as much a prison as th With language as clinically apocalyptic and claustrophobically dystopic as anything to be found in the postmodern nightmares of Ballard and DeLillo, Diving Into the Wreck rages against the heteronormative status quo as Rich points her poetic finger at men and women, both of whom bear the burden of guilt. These poems range across shifting tropes such as ecological destruction, commodification, Vietnam, dreams and violence to showcase Rich's belief that the domestic scene is as much a prison as the Hanoi Hotel, except the torture here is being administered specifically on the psyches of women by all the socially acclimated cyborgs, with their gender roles callously installed at an early age and their mass-produced parts clicking and whirling, every one of them leading lives as sinister as a hive mind horde and as banal as a commercial seen for the thousandth time. The titular poem is Rich at her best, weaving an astounding metaphor for the mystery of meaning and identity that rises above simply condemning either gender. Meant to make men squirm and women take a long sober and look at themselves, the short-fused poems found in this collection are an angry swarm of bees written by a very angry poet. A much needed kick to the teeth for every reader.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stephen M

    Wow. That's all. WOW. I was thinking of writing some brilliant review to follow up the madness of inspiration banging around in my head after a day of reading. But, what can I say except that everyone should read this! I found the small amount of ratings of this book to be somewhat shocking considering how powerful it is. There were moments of tingly-goodness on almost every page. Only a few poems fell short for me, but that was only because of the other poems that towered over them. The ones that Wow. That's all. WOW. I was thinking of writing some brilliant review to follow up the madness of inspiration banging around in my head after a day of reading. But, what can I say except that everyone should read this! I found the small amount of ratings of this book to be somewhat shocking considering how powerful it is. There were moments of tingly-goodness on almost every page. Only a few poems fell short for me, but that was only because of the other poems that towered over them. The ones that I found to be just okay, I'm sure would impress me just as much on their own. The opening line of this book declares itself outright, "Out in this desert we are testing bombs". It sets the intensity that pulses throughout every poem. I annoyed the hell out of my friend today by constantly interrupting with select readings. "Hey Stephen, do you want- Shhh! listen to this! 'They were showing / in a glass case, the Man Without A Country. / We held up our passports in his face, we wept for him." My friend quite succinctly summed up the strongest aspect of the writing, it has an abrupt emotionality. It's true that some poetry can leave you feeling cold. Often meaning is obfuscated by extended metaphors, symbols and motifs. But Rich uses metaphors like atom bombs. You absolutely believe that she lived and suffered for her writing. I found this passage to be particularly powerful from the brilliantly-titled poem "The Phenomenology of Anger": "I suddenly see the world as no longer viable: you are out there burning the crops with some new sublimate This morning you left the bed we still share and went out to spread impotence upon the world I hate you. I hate the mask you wear, your eyes assuming a depth they do not possess, drawing me into the grotto of your skull the landscape of bone I hate your words they make me think of fake revolutionary bills crisp imitation parchment they sell at battlefields. Last night, in this room, weeping I asked you: what are you feeling? do you feel anything? Now in the torsion of your body as you defoliate the fields we lived from I have your answer." My only criticism stems somewhat from my praise. Since the work is so powerful and dramatic, it may at times lose you. I sometimes wondered, is it really that bad? Much of the book is a complete condemnation of domesticity. But I kept thinking that it isn't that black and white. Rich expresses the confines of prescribed roles are such that they squelch the individual. The confines which she wishes to break from are literally causing an internal death, as many of the housewives at the time of her writing were experiencing. But, I couldn't help feel, as other feminists have expressed, there is a certain comfort within the home. There is a comfort within being a part of that passive, assigned role. Rich treats the home like a cancer. I think the subject to be a bit more complicated than that. Despite this, it was never enough to shut me out of her writing completely. The power of her writing more than earns her the right to voice these terrors that were eating away at her. I came to understand and respect her plight through this book of poetry.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Raul Bimenyimana

    these scars bear witness but whether to repair or to destruction I no longer know I have a shameful confession to make. This was the first poetry book to have read to completion. I have read some poems, but this was the first time I managed to finish a collection. The reason being that I was afraid of poetry, afraid that I was not smart or capable enough to understand content and meaning. It always felt like there was a layer beneath what I had read and as much as I kept scratching, digging and exca these scars bear witness but whether to repair or to destruction I no longer know I have a shameful confession to make. This was the first poetry book to have read to completion. I have read some poems, but this was the first time I managed to finish a collection. The reason being that I was afraid of poetry, afraid that I was not smart or capable enough to understand content and meaning. It always felt like there was a layer beneath what I had read and as much as I kept scratching, digging and excavating, I could not get to it. This being the first poetry book to have read, I have a faint inkling of the wonders, power, beauty, rawness, understanding I have deprived myself over the years. I did not get everything but what was not understood just as what was, was wondrous. Reading these poems was a wonderful closing to the last year and opening to this new one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ammar

    Everyone’s Favourite Lesbian Poet

  5. 4 out of 5

    mwpm

    When Diving Into the Wreck co-won the the 1974 National Books Award for Poetry (shared with Allen Ginsberg's The Fall of America ) Rich refused to accept the award alone, instead accepting the award accompanied by two other female nominees, Alice Walker (nominated for Revolutionary Petunias: And Other Poems ) and Audre Lorde (nominated for From a Land Where Other People Live ). In her acceptance speech, Rich stated that she was accepting the award on behalf of all woman "whose voices ha When Diving Into the Wreck co-won the the 1974 National Books Award for Poetry (shared with Allen Ginsberg's The Fall of America ) Rich refused to accept the award alone, instead accepting the award accompanied by two other female nominees, Alice Walker (nominated for Revolutionary Petunias: And Other Poems ) and Audre Lorde (nominated for From a Land Where Other People Live ). In her acceptance speech, Rich stated that she was accepting the award on behalf of all woman "whose voices have gone and still go unheard in a patriarchal world." To live, to lie awake under scarred plaster while ice is forming over the earth at an hour when nothing can be done to further any decision to know the composing of the thread inside the spider's body first atom of the web visible tomorrow to feel the fiery future of every matchstick in the kitchen Nothing can be done but by inches. I write out my life hour by hour, word by word gazing into the anger of old women on the bus numbering the striations of air inside the ice cube imagining the existence of something uncreated this poem our lives - Incipience, 1, pg. 11 * She sits with one hand poised against her head, the other turning an old ring to the light for hours our talk has beaten like rain against the screens a sense of August and hear-lighting I get up, go to make tea, come back we look at each other then she says (and this is what I live through over and over) - she says: I do not know if sex is an illusion I do not know who I was when I did those things or who I said I was or whether I willed to feel what I had read about or who in fact was there with me or whether I knew, even then that there was doubt about these things - Dialogue, pg. 21 * You show me the poems of some woman my age, or younger translated from your language Certain words occur: enemy, over, sorrow enough to let me know she's a woman of my time obsessed with Love, our subject: we've trained it like ivy to our walls baked it like bread in our ovens worn it like lead on our ankles watched it through binoculars as if it were a helicopter bringing food to our famine or the satellite of a hostile power I begin to see that woman doing things: stirring rice ironing a skirt typing a manuscript till dawn trying to make a call from a phonebooth The phone rings unanswered in a man's bedroom she hears him telling someone else Never mind. She'll get tired. hears him telling her story to her sister who becomes her enemy and will in her own time light her own way to sorrow ignorant of the fact this way of grief is shared, unnecessary and political - Translations, pg. 40-41 * In a bookstore om the East Side I read a veteran's testimony: the running down, for no reason of an old woman in South Vietnam by a U.S. Army truck The heat-wave is over Lifeless, sunny, the East Side rests under its awning Another summer The flames go on feeding and a dull heat permeates the ground of the mind, the burn has settled in as if it had no more question of its right to go on devouring the rest of a lifetime, the rest of history Pieces of information, like this one blow onto the heap they keep it fed, whether we will it or not, another summer, and another of suffering quietly in bookstores, in the parks however we may scream we are suffering quietly - Burning Oneself In, pg. 46 * We look into the stove tonight as into a mirror, yes, the serrated log, the yellow-blue gaseous core the crimson-flittered grey ash, yes, I know inside my eyelids and underneath my skin Time takes hold of us like a draft upward, drawing at the heats in the belly, in the brain You told me of setting your hand into the print of a long dead Indian and for a moment, I knew that hand, that print, that rock, that sun producing powerful dreams A word can do this or, as tonight, the mirror of the fire of my mind, burning as if it could go on burning itself, burning down feeding on everything till there is nothing in life that has not fed that fire - Burning Oneself Out, for E.K., pg. 47 * Is it true that there is visible on the throat a very extended scar which might throw some doubt upon the soundness of the underlying parts if one were not reassured by the appearance of the scar . . . When I try to speak my throat is cut and, it seems, by his hand The sounds I make are prehuman, radical the telephone is always ripped out and he sleeps on Yet always the tissue grows over, white as silk hardly a blemish maybe a hieroglyph for scream Child, no wonder you never wholly trusted your keepers - Meditations for a Savage Child, 3, pg. 59

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    애드리언 리치의 시는 폭발적이다. 뭔가 속에서 꿈틀대는 것이 폭발하는 느낌은 디킨슨이랑도 비슷하다. 지배적인 anger의 감정과 호전적 페미니스트의 기운. 개인적으로 마음에 들었던 시: Translations You show me the poems of some woman my age, or younger translated from your language Certain words occur: enemy, oven, sorrow enough to let me know she’s a woman of my time obsessed with Love, our subject: we’ve trained it like ivy to our walls baked it like bread in our ovens worn it like lead on our ankles watched it through binoculars as if it were a helicopter bringing food to our famine o 애드리언 리치의 시는 폭발적이다. 뭔가 속에서 꿈틀대는 것이 폭발하는 느낌은 디킨슨이랑도 비슷하다. 지배적인 anger의 감정과 호전적 페미니스트의 기운. 개인적으로 마음에 들었던 시: Translations You show me the poems of some woman my age, or younger translated from your language Certain words occur: enemy, oven, sorrow enough to let me know she’s a woman of my time obsessed with Love, our subject: we’ve trained it like ivy to our walls baked it like bread in our ovens worn it like lead on our ankles watched it through binoculars as if it were a helicopter bringing food to our famine or the satellite of a hostile power I begin to see that woman doing things: stirring rice ironing a skirt typing a manuscript till dawn trying to make a call from a phone booth The phone rings unanswered in a man’s bedroom she hears him telling someone else Never mind. She’ll get tired. hears him telling her story to her sister who becomes her enemy and will in her own time light her own way to sorrow ignorant of the fact this way of grief is shared, unnecessary and political

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I'm so glad the National Book Foundation drew my attention to Adrienne Rich. I wasn't familiar with her work, but I loved this short book of political, emotional, intense poems. I said in an e-mail to a friend that I wanted to take them along with me on a solitary road trip, and I think that is because I think they go very deep and I want to read them again and reflect on them. I will be purchasing this set, well probably all of her work. Here is an excerpt of my favorite one, Waking in the Dark 5 I'm so glad the National Book Foundation drew my attention to Adrienne Rich. I wasn't familiar with her work, but I loved this short book of political, emotional, intense poems. I said in an e-mail to a friend that I wanted to take them along with me on a solitary road trip, and I think that is because I think they go very deep and I want to read them again and reflect on them. I will be purchasing this set, well probably all of her work. Here is an excerpt of my favorite one, Waking in the Dark 5. All night dreaming of a body space weighs on differently from mine We are making love in the street the traffic flows off from us pouring back like a sheet the asphalt stirs with tenderness there is no dismay we move together like undewater plants Over and over, starting to wake I dive back to discover you still whispering, touch me, we go on streaming through the slow citylight forest ocean stirring our body hair But this is the saying of a dream on waking I wish there were somewhere actual we could stand handing the power-glasses back and forth looking at the earth, the wildwood where the split began.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nicky

    I've read some of Adrienne Rich's poetry before, but not all. I came across this by chance in the library today, and decided to bring it home -- I knew Diving into the Wreck itself, but not all of the other poems. They're powerful, painful, beautiful. There are only a couple that didn't really speak to me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    This poet takes risks on every page as she examines the struggles of women as she felt them in the early 1970s. She does not hold back with her reflections, many of which I reread to comprehend all of the layers. I am so glad this book was recommended to me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gearóid

    Brilliant. Poetry to read again and again through your lifetime.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Adriana Scarpin

    Rape There is a cop who is both prowler and father: he comes from your block, grew up with your brothers, had certain ideals. You hardly know him in his boots and silver badge, on horseback, one hand touching his gun. You hardly know him but you have to get to know him: he has access to machinery that could kill you. He and his stallion clop like warlords among the trash, his ideals stand in the air, a frozen cloud from between his unsmiling lips. And so, when the time comes, you have to turn to him, the ma Rape There is a cop who is both prowler and father: he comes from your block, grew up with your brothers, had certain ideals. You hardly know him in his boots and silver badge, on horseback, one hand touching his gun. You hardly know him but you have to get to know him: he has access to machinery that could kill you. He and his stallion clop like warlords among the trash, his ideals stand in the air, a frozen cloud from between his unsmiling lips. And so, when the time comes, you have to turn to him, the maniac’s sperm still greasing your thighs, your mind whirling like crazy. You have to confess to him, you are guilty of the crime of having been forced. And you see his blue eyes, the blue eyes of all the family whom you used to know, grow narrow and glisten, his hand types out the details and he wants them all but the hysteria in your voice pleases him best. You hardly know him but now he thinks he knows you: he has taken down you worst moment on a machine and filed it in a file. He knows, or thinks he knows, how much you imagined; he knows, or thinks he knows, what you secretly wanted. He has access to machinery that could get you put away; and if, in the sickening light of the precinct, and if, in the sickening light of the precinct, your details sound like a portrait of your confessor, will you swallow, will you deny them, will you lie your way home?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I don’t think I understood or appreciated this as much as I wanted to. I sensed a profundity under the surface that escaped my grasp. My favorite individual poem was the multi-part “Meditations for a Savage Child,” inspired by the Wild Boy of Aveyron. Though written 45 years ago, the poems of feminist outrage seem just as relevant today: “my visionary anger cleansing my sight / and the detailed perceptions of mercy / flowering from that anger.” An example is “Rape,” where she shows how sexual as I don’t think I understood or appreciated this as much as I wanted to. I sensed a profundity under the surface that escaped my grasp. My favorite individual poem was the multi-part “Meditations for a Savage Child,” inspired by the Wild Boy of Aveyron. Though written 45 years ago, the poems of feminist outrage seem just as relevant today: “my visionary anger cleansing my sight / and the detailed perceptions of mercy / flowering from that anger.” An example is “Rape,” where she shows how sexual assault is thrown back on the victims: “You have to confess / to him, you are guilty of the crime / of having been forced.” This felt particularly relevant just after the election: “Here in the matrix of need and anger, the / disproof of what we thought possible / failures of medication / doubts of another’s existence / —tell it over and over, the words / get thick with unmeaning— / yet never have we been closer to the truth / of the lies we were living” (from “When We Dead Awaken”)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    When I was a young thing, I would save my pennies to buy everything Adrienne published. This is the pivotal book of poetry, the turning point from the earlier (and beautiful) formal poems into the rough territory of heart and world through which the later books move. Stellar.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Luke

    What a punch to the gut. This is feminist poetry that is a must-read for members of both sexes. Some of the powerful imagery conveyed here by Rich is etched into my mind, not soon to be forgotten. I'm sorry it took me this long to get around to reading her, but better late than never.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aubrey

    Rich isn't the author with whom I've had rockiest relationship with, but my reading history with her is laced with its fair share of disappointment bordering on malcontent. I read On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978 during one of the periods of my life when it would have made the most impact, and for a time, the poet could do no wrong. However, as time went on and I explored literature and my own identity more and more deeply, I came across terminology such as political lesb Rich isn't the author with whom I've had rockiest relationship with, but my reading history with her is laced with its fair share of disappointment bordering on malcontent. I read On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978 during one of the periods of my life when it would have made the most impact, and for a time, the poet could do no wrong. However, as time went on and I explored literature and my own identity more and more deeply, I came across terminology such as political lesbianism, radical feminism, and TERF, and when I came to read Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution, I was aware of how such literature is inextricably riddled in a special kind of dehumanization that justifies most everything in the name of fighting the patriarchy. After that, I left Rich alone out of fatigue as well as due to a lack of new material, but when a copy of this showed up after five years of searching, I took it, and this year it served as part as one of my many plans Reading it now, I am able to pinpoint many a place where my younger self would have flung itself wholeheartedly into love and hurrah, every instance against men and for (cis, possibly white) women that looks good on paper and falls apart if you have less than a solid investment in the theory of a binary of sex and an awareness of Rich's history of aiding and abetting. She fought for Audre Lorde and Alice Walker, but on the precipice of US Pride Month, in the midst of George Floyd, during the descendants of the riots that have wrested rights from settler state lootership for centuries, I think of Marsha P. Johnson, and this book of poetry is not good enough for me to pass over that. Themes of war, brutality, bureaucracy, and anarchism, though I doubt Rich would have called it by that last term: leastwise, not positively, as I do. Still, one does not talk about a fundamental disconnect between what is being enacted in your name overseas and in the streets and your own fundamental conception of humanity without drawing upon such a holism, and while same sex marriage is 'legal', it is 'legal' much as abortion is 'legal', or the black right to life is 'legal', and how much good is that last one doing those in the US these days. The tableau has shifted since Rich' time of composition, and much as more people died of AIDS than died in the Vietnam War, COVID-19 may yet kill more than both combined. Social distancing, curfew, white supremacy captured many times an hour on smartphone cameras: an unfamiliar landscape for someone composing in the 70's, but I would hope Rich would be able to interpret it with the same lens through which she witnessed of self-immolation and self-destruction, although the way she names Norman Morrison and not Paul L. Cabell Jr., much as there is a Wiki for the first and a paywall-compromised record of the second, perhaps demonstrates how much she would relate in a less intersectional sense. On the one hand, much as I've been doing my own diving into the wreck (the title poem, along with 'The Stranger', happen to be the most explicitly gender fluid of the collection, although quite blink-and-you'll-miss amongst the general proscribing of feminine struggle and masculine overlording) for some time, there are many more pitfalls to feminism than its most vocal propagators would admit to, and if you speak to them of it, they're more than capable of matching those they rail against in terms of entitlement, bad faith, and vociferousness. On the other, I would not be who I am, or likely anywhere near as inspired in what I do, had I not read Rich's work, and many a work by those like her, so many years ago. It has all made for a powerful resource, but also for a great deal of unpacking. It's easy to not read nearly as much into this collection as I do here, but my brain has always operated on the principle of the cobweb rather than the point. More importantly, if I do follow through on acquiring a copy of 'Dream of a Common Language' (its closer proximity to the author's involvement in 'The Transsexual Empire' is of some concern) at some point, I want to look back on this and know exactly what I'm getting into, and I won't get that from ranking poems or any such equally on topic tasks. There're still lesbians running around who believe bisexuality is the mark of the coward, the idiot (following nicely in Freud's footsteps), or both, and coupled with the transphobic exigency that is radical feminism, it is impossible for me to read Rich outside of that context. As such, I'll take what quotes I can get and even a measure of theorizing or two, and then I'll move on, much as I do with most authors. There is such a thing as digging too deep when it comes to certain names and bibliographies, and while I'm sure this work acts as a wonderful starting point for many who are in desperate need of a queer reserve of strength to draw upon, there are many especially vocal partisans among those readers who would spit upon that particular descriptor in the service of those who gained a garroting hold on the public milieu during the time of AIDS. Such is why I must be explicit that I am not writing for that kind of person. It's the month of Pride where I'm at, and I will not feed the thing that erases history and calls it social justice, or praise the woman who didn't believe in women. 1. To live, to lie awake under scarred plaster while ice is forming over the earth at an hour when nothing can be done to further any decision to know the composing of the thread inside the spider's body first atoms of the web visible tomorrow to feel the fiery future of every matchstick in the kitchen Nothing can be done but by inches. I write out my life hour by hour, word by word gazing into the anger of old women on the bus numbering the striations of air inside the ice cube imagining the existence of something uncreated this poem our lives -Incipience Rich wrote, and is now being written about. Not gay as in happy, but queer as in.

  16. 4 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    Exasperating and bleak poetry cycles about gender struggle and body politics. Not my usual parvenu, but I appreciated hearing this voice. On the bus.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Roberto

    Gaargh wonderful. More powerful and relevant than ever right now.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brent Mckay

    Stunning, dark collection, full of images of water rushing, flames overwhelming, sexuality arriving and disappearing. Everything around her is either combustible or on the verge of death, wilting or igniting under the horror of it all. "...to feel the fiery future of every matchstick in the kitchen" or "while we sit up smoking and talking of how to live, he turns on the bed and murmurs" or "...the fire you want to go to bed from but cannot leave, burning down but not burnt down." The word "burning" Stunning, dark collection, full of images of water rushing, flames overwhelming, sexuality arriving and disappearing. Everything around her is either combustible or on the verge of death, wilting or igniting under the horror of it all. "...to feel the fiery future of every matchstick in the kitchen" or "while we sit up smoking and talking of how to live, he turns on the bed and murmurs" or "...the fire you want to go to bed from but cannot leave, burning down but not burnt down." The word "burning" appears 14 times in this collection, most memorably for me in the perfect poem, Song, that describes the writer's loneliness as being "wood with a gift for burning." One poem contains one of the most scathing indictments I've encountered: "This morning you left the bed we still share and went out to spread impotence upon the world I hate you. I hate the mask you wear, your eyes assuming a depth they do not possess, drawing me into the grotto of your skull the landscape of bone I hate your words they make me think of fake revolutionary bills crisp imitation parchment they sell at battlefields." One powerful poem of a different type is dedicated to a Soviet dissident, Natalya Gorbanevskaya. It contains the fascinating line: "I have to steal the sense of dust on your floor, milk souring in your pantry after they came and took you." The verb "steal" transforms the meaning, suggesting Rich's need to adopt Gorbanevskaya's lost urgency, like a pet left homeless. Rich's is a powerful, merciless, beautiful rage.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    Diving Into the Wreck is a collection of Adrienne Rich's poems written between 1971 and 1972. The subject matter throughout is incredibly dark, in an 'all roads lead back to the Holocaust' manner - so much so that several of the poems gave me chills. Rich's prose is striking, and she presents such vivid imagery here, a lot of it markedly unpleasant, it must be said. I didn't love every poem, but I certainly admired them all. Diving Into the Wreck is filled to the brim with strength after strengt Diving Into the Wreck is a collection of Adrienne Rich's poems written between 1971 and 1972. The subject matter throughout is incredibly dark, in an 'all roads lead back to the Holocaust' manner - so much so that several of the poems gave me chills. Rich's prose is striking, and she presents such vivid imagery here, a lot of it markedly unpleasant, it must be said. I didn't love every poem, but I certainly admired them all. Diving Into the Wreck is filled to the brim with strength after strength, and I'd certainly love to read more of her poetry. 'This is the place. / And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair / streams black, the merman in his armored body / We circle silently / about the wreck / we dive into the hold. / I am she. / I am he.' (From 'Diving Into the Wreck')

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mino

    Does the primeval forest / weep / for its devourers / does nature mourn / our existence

  21. 4 out of 5

    anna (½ of readsrainbow)

    SHE REALLY JUST DIDN'T PULL ANY FUCKING PUNCHES HUH

  22. 5 out of 5

    William West

    While I do read modern poetry from time to time, I consider myself a more naive reader of verse than any other genre. I don't have the vocabulary to convey why I feel the way I do about poetry. So, in this case, I just have to say that I loved this book. In fact, I can't think of any work of modern poetry, including works by more iconic- and male- poets than Rich, that I found as rewarding. I had heard of Rich but never really thought of reading her until I heard an NPR story about her death. Th While I do read modern poetry from time to time, I consider myself a more naive reader of verse than any other genre. I don't have the vocabulary to convey why I feel the way I do about poetry. So, in this case, I just have to say that I loved this book. In fact, I can't think of any work of modern poetry, including works by more iconic- and male- poets than Rich, that I found as rewarding. I had heard of Rich but never really thought of reading her until I heard an NPR story about her death. They discussed the ways in which her work confronted patriarchy and it intrigued me enough to pick the slim volume up at the library between "planned" readings. Rich's poems struck me, speaking as a hetero-male, as amongst the most authentically "feminist" voices I'd ever encountered. While the abuse and oppression of women are themes touched upon, nothing here invites the label of "victim feminism" or, for that matter, "man-bashing." Rather, humanity seems the victim of an order that has taken the arbitrary form of the patriarchal. The resulting disaster, once observed objectively yet poetically, seems the result of miscalculation and human error. We can do better, Rich seems to hope, but not to prophesize. Perhaps order, society, is bound to sink into the abyss no matter what form it takes, but this does not discount moments of joy and intimacy between women, between humans, before the disaster strikes.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mike Lindgren

    Finally got the combination of time and nerve to take on this landmark of American poetry, and was rewarded with a glimpse into the infinite. This book is ferocious in the way that early P.J. Harvey is ferocious: both feminine and feminist, full of rage and mysticism and sadness, a fearless, avenging voice of the dispossessed, a wail of freedom and grief. What strikes me about the poetry here is that it manages to be polemical, in a way, while also being effortlessly metaphorical; in other words Finally got the combination of time and nerve to take on this landmark of American poetry, and was rewarded with a glimpse into the infinite. This book is ferocious in the way that early P.J. Harvey is ferocious: both feminine and feminist, full of rage and mysticism and sadness, a fearless, avenging voice of the dispossessed, a wail of freedom and grief. What strikes me about the poetry here is that it manages to be polemical, in a way, while also being effortlessly metaphorical; in other words, it has, I think, real organic political force, without the clumsiness that mars almost all such didactic verse. "A woman made this film / against / the law / of gravity," Rich writes; Diving into the Wreck is equally powerful and free. A classic.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas During

    I've recently made an effort to read more poetry, something that I haven't done since school really. So I'm far from being a poetry expert and judging what makes good poetry. But I did love this collection from Rich. Yes, it's very political, radically political. Yes it's very feminist, radically feminist perhaps. And yes it is very personal (I think). Do all these things make good poetry. Of course not. But presenting interesting and original ideas in such superb style (in my base judgement) ma I've recently made an effort to read more poetry, something that I haven't done since school really. So I'm far from being a poetry expert and judging what makes good poetry. But I did love this collection from Rich. Yes, it's very political, radically political. Yes it's very feminist, radically feminist perhaps. And yes it is very personal (I think). Do all these things make good poetry. Of course not. But presenting interesting and original ideas in such superb style (in my base judgement) makes for a good book and good reading. There are better poems and there are worse poems in this collection. But forcing myself to read and enjoy poetry is not very difficult when these are the read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I love this book. I was going to quote from it, but there are too many perfectly stated moments. "wood / with a gift for burning." Clean and methodical, but so flipping passionate. I feel like I just cast the starring role in the movie that will be my comps essay.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alix

    "Is there a law about this, a law of nature? You worship the blood you call it hysterical bleeding you want to drink it like milk you dip your finger into it and write you faint at the smell of it you dream of dumping me into the sea."

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael Shilling

    Her death sent me back to this book, which changed my life like twenty years ago. Reading the title track brought tears to my eyes. So much ferocity paired with so much empathy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jade Kranz

    I feel a tremendous debt to Adrienne Rich. She was a smart woman with a strong voice at a time when such a thing was considered iconoclastic. This collection of poems cuts right to the core.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    A punch in the gut. Political, cynical, urgent.

  30. 4 out of 5

    melis

    3.5 "—tell it over and over, the words get thick with unmeaning— yet never have we been closer to the truth of the lies we were living."

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