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The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems Selected and New, 1950-1984

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'Rich's writing has always lifted her naturally toward a unifying transcendental vision, a dream, but a dream simultaneously wrenched and weighted by its moral embodiment, called by her at different stages: love, truth, integrity, commonality, silence. She is a true metaphysical poet...(At times) her dialectical fire produces poems of transcendent beauty.'-Carol Muske, New 'Rich's writing has always lifted her naturally toward a unifying transcendental vision, a dream, but a dream simultaneously wrenched and weighted by its moral embodiment, called by her at different stages: love, truth, integrity, commonality, silence. She is a true metaphysical poet...(At times) her dialectical fire produces poems of transcendent beauty.'-Carol Muske, New York Times Book Review


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'Rich's writing has always lifted her naturally toward a unifying transcendental vision, a dream, but a dream simultaneously wrenched and weighted by its moral embodiment, called by her at different stages: love, truth, integrity, commonality, silence. She is a true metaphysical poet...(At times) her dialectical fire produces poems of transcendent beauty.'-Carol Muske, New 'Rich's writing has always lifted her naturally toward a unifying transcendental vision, a dream, but a dream simultaneously wrenched and weighted by its moral embodiment, called by her at different stages: love, truth, integrity, commonality, silence. She is a true metaphysical poet...(At times) her dialectical fire produces poems of transcendent beauty.'-Carol Muske, New York Times Book Review

30 review for The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems Selected and New, 1950-1984

  1. 5 out of 5

    Weinz

    Rich pulls you into the depth of her sorrow like no one else I know. Beautiful and pure. Like all great poetry she should be read out loud. She was read in a park, in the car and home alone and every time she would bring me to that place that I needed to be. Which is exactly what poetry is for. I wouldn't suggest reading her on a daily basis. Such a plan would send you down the spiral of depression and hopelessness never to be seen again. and for the Texan: I don't how anyone could make a poem a Rich pulls you into the depth of her sorrow like no one else I know. Beautiful and pure. Like all great poetry she should be read out loud. She was read in a park, in the car and home alone and every time she would bring me to that place that I needed to be. Which is exactly what poetry is for. I wouldn't suggest reading her on a daily basis. Such a plan would send you down the spiral of depression and hopelessness never to be seen again. and for the Texan: I don't how anyone could make a poem about an ice cream truck sad but she found a way.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    You know, it's always difficult to check the box on a book of poetry that says that I "read" it. Can you ever really say that you're "done" with a poet like Adrienne Rich? I come back to this collection often for how clever it is--sharp words about soft subjects, like love and longing. My favorite poem of hers will always be "Storm Warnings," which you should Google on a rainy day. Focused on the 1970s--"Diving into the Wreck" may have given me an epigraph for my thesis! Unbelievably good. You know, it's always difficult to check the box on a book of poetry that says that I "read" it. Can you ever really say that you're "done" with a poet like Adrienne Rich? I come back to this collection often for how clever it is--sharp words about soft subjects, like love and longing. My favorite poem of hers will always be "Storm Warnings," which you should Google on a rainy day. Focused on the 1970s--"Diving into the Wreck" may have given me an epigraph for my thesis! Unbelievably good.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Udeni

    Utterly compelling: both heartbreaking and uplifting, Rich delivers a punch to the stomach with every poem. Starting from her early, careful poems to the later, experimental works, this book is a snapshot of one of the worlds greatest poets. I'm ashamed I hadn't read her before. I can't ever imagine being 'finished' with this book. Some of my favourites are the '21 love poems' and the deceptively simple nature poems, such as For an Anniversary. Thank you, Carol, because without your kind suggest Utterly compelling: both heartbreaking and uplifting, Rich delivers a punch to the stomach with every poem. Starting from her early, careful poems to the later, experimental works, this book is a snapshot of one of the worlds greatest poets. I'm ashamed I hadn't read her before. I can't ever imagine being 'finished' with this book. Some of my favourites are the '21 love poems' and the deceptively simple nature poems, such as For an Anniversary. Thank you, Carol, because without your kind suggestion I would have missed out on this wonderful poetry. I regret buying the paperback: I couldn't bear being without it these few weeks and have taken to work, to the park, to the cafe, to the pub, in the bath etc. It is already grubby, stained and starting to fall apart!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Vikki Marshall

    Adrienne Rich’s poetry is complex, politically charged, and often openly mysterious. There is a distance in her words, a separation that asks for her readers to dig deeper in order to understand each piece thoroughly. The poems collected in this book span from 1950-2001, it encapsulates much of the vast history which occurred during this time frame. Rich’s words are filled with deep metaphors as well as open defiance, her writing so utterly intelligent that it often comes across as overly calcul Adrienne Rich’s poetry is complex, politically charged, and often openly mysterious. There is a distance in her words, a separation that asks for her readers to dig deeper in order to understand each piece thoroughly. The poems collected in this book span from 1950-2001, it encapsulates much of the vast history which occurred during this time frame. Rich’s words are filled with deep metaphors as well as open defiance, her writing so utterly intelligent that it often comes across as overly calculated when compared with other poets whose writing is arranged with less effort. But to portray Rich’s ideas she must use a deciphering pen. She conveys all of the pain and confusion of the chokingly false perfections of the 1950’s, the protests, assassinations and multiple conflicts of the 1960’s & 70’s as well as the political untruths that have emerged from the struggles of our past. Rich writes with powerful juxtaposition often unflinchingly and with tremendous intimacy, while at other times her work is so exasperatingly abstract that it feels as if you must be an insider to fully grasp her mindset. In life Rich was often shrouded by labels but rather than succumb to the boxes she could have resided within she chose to voice all of her various complexities with such courage and depth that her work is unparalleled and a requirement for any true lover of poetry.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    not sold on these poems yet; am reading them primarily for the ghazals. the length of the lines seems too long, too meandering. there are too many abstractions. too many prescriptions for "the truth." i feel as if i'm being lectured to. we are all just people. perhaps it's because so many of these are responses to Ghalib's ghazals. i find no comfort in prophets. i don't believe them. that being said, there are wee bright spots, unique phrases amongs the familiar tropes. i have a friend who would not sold on these poems yet; am reading them primarily for the ghazals. the length of the lines seems too long, too meandering. there are too many abstractions. too many prescriptions for "the truth." i feel as if i'm being lectured to. we are all just people. perhaps it's because so many of these are responses to Ghalib's ghazals. i find no comfort in prophets. i don't believe them. that being said, there are wee bright spots, unique phrases amongs the familiar tropes. i have a friend who would say that this writer suffers from trope infection. i perservere because of those bright spots though.

  6. 4 out of 5

    C. Varn

    This is a strong introduction to Rich's early and middle period work. Her themes and focus morph each decade, her early formalism gives way to experimentalism. Her early focuses on the natural world and unhappy domestic life give way to her political and linguistic explorations of the 1970s and early 1980s. Her love of the natural world shifts into indignation at its destruction, and her political and feminist concerns become more and more dominant. An important and engaging collection. This is a strong introduction to Rich's early and middle period work. Her themes and focus morph each decade, her early formalism gives way to experimentalism. Her early focuses on the natural world and unhappy domestic life give way to her political and linguistic explorations of the 1970s and early 1980s. Her love of the natural world shifts into indignation at its destruction, and her political and feminist concerns become more and more dominant. An important and engaging collection.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joanie

    I wish I felt I could give this a higher rating, because she's such an influential poet, but ultimately her poems were just too esoteric for me. I can handle a little interpretation, but there were large swathes of the collection that I could make nothing of. But what was in there that I could understand, I loved, particularly her poetry from the mid-seventies to early nineties, which probably was the best in the book. I might seek out the original books that these poems were taken from. I wish I felt I could give this a higher rating, because she's such an influential poet, but ultimately her poems were just too esoteric for me. I can handle a little interpretation, but there were large swathes of the collection that I could make nothing of. But what was in there that I could understand, I loved, particularly her poetry from the mid-seventies to early nineties, which probably was the best in the book. I might seek out the original books that these poems were taken from.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Jackson

    Some amazing poems throughout this collection, especially the early and mid-period work. During those years Rich executed a wonderful balancing act on the ole personal-political axis. Her later poems became more stridently political and while I was sympathetic to their messages, the didactic words often fell flat and occasionally slid right off the page.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Favorite poems--- first deals with the tension between reality and expectations in romantic relationships (that are not marriage), second, with sex. Living in Sin She had thought the studio would keep itself; no dust upon the furniture of love. Half heresy, to wish the taps less vocal, the panes relieved of grime. A plate of pears, a piano with a Persian shawl, a cat stalking the picturesque amusing mouse had risen at his urging. Not that at five each separate stair would writhe under the milkman's tramp; Favorite poems--- first deals with the tension between reality and expectations in romantic relationships (that are not marriage), second, with sex. Living in Sin She had thought the studio would keep itself; no dust upon the furniture of love. Half heresy, to wish the taps less vocal, the panes relieved of grime. A plate of pears, a piano with a Persian shawl, a cat stalking the picturesque amusing mouse had risen at his urging. Not that at five each separate stair would writhe under the milkman's tramp; that morning light so coldly would delineate the scraps of last night's cheese and three sepulchral bottles; that on the kitchen shelf among the saucers a pair of beetle-eyes would fix her own--- envoy from some village in the moldings . . . Meanwhile, he, with a yawn, sounded a dozen notes upon the keyboard, declared it out of tune, shrugged at the mirror, rubbed at his beard, went out for cigarettes; while she, jeered by the minor demons, pulled back the sheets and made the bed and found a towel to dust the table-top, and let the coffee-pot boil over on the stove. By evening she was back in love again, though not so wholly but throughout the night she woke sometimes to feel the daylight coming like a relentless milkman up the stairs. My Mouth Hovers Across Your Breasts My mouth hovers across your breasts in the short grey winter afternoon in this bed we are delicate and touch so hot with joy we amaze ourselves tough and delicate we play rings around each other our daytime candle burns with its peculiar light and if the snow begins to fall outside filling the branches and if the night falls without announcement there are the pleasures of winter sudden, wild and delicate your fingers exact my tongue exact at the same moment stopping to laugh at a joke my love hot on your scent on the cusp of winter

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I saw Adrienne Rich in Santa Cruz this past Saturday, at a reading of the poetry of Robinson Jeffers. She sat throughout, in a red chair with a lilac pillow, in front of the stage. Her hands trembled when she read, breaking my heart a bit, and she asked, polite though imperiously, for more light. I'd never have dreamed to imagine her frail. I saw Adrienne Rich in Santa Cruz this past Saturday, at a reading of the poetry of Robinson Jeffers. She sat throughout, in a red chair with a lilac pillow, in front of the stage. Her hands trembled when she read, breaking my heart a bit, and she asked, polite though imperiously, for more light. I'd never have dreamed to imagine her frail.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sps

    Little fragments and pieces of her poems caught the light for me. I'm not very patient for long poems sometimes. But lines like this get that almost nonverbal quality, that necessity: what are we coming to what wants these things of us who wants them (from Leaflets, 1968, p. 102) Little fragments and pieces of her poems caught the light for me. I'm not very patient for long poems sometimes. But lines like this get that almost nonverbal quality, that necessity: what are we coming to what wants these things of us who wants them (from Leaflets, 1968, p. 102)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    i once heard ms. rich read aloud - i made the mistake of asking her to please sign my book with her middle name, which in hindsight was terribly arrogant of me. she didn't. this collection is her best. i once heard ms. rich read aloud - i made the mistake of asking her to please sign my book with her middle name, which in hindsight was terribly arrogant of me. she didn't. this collection is her best.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    Rich is an inspiring poet. Her forms are very intriguing. The book offers a wide selection of her work, and allows the reader to see an incredible progression in imagery to sound to composition. Rich forges new paths of thought and connection within the poems collected in this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    rich isn't my favorite poet. she's good but tries too hard sometimes to be a poet (especially a political poet). rich isn't my favorite poet. she's good but tries too hard sometimes to be a poet (especially a political poet).

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Harris

    okay really. huge influence. i've read every drop written by her. okay really. huge influence. i've read every drop written by her.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rex

    Adrienne Rich is probably the pre-eminent feminist writer-poet of her generation -- excellent poetry in form and construction, and excruciatingly precise conviction and delivery.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    In this book the reader can witness the evolution of the work of a master poet. Not to be missed.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    snooze

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alejandro Teruel

    Maybe I picked the wrong time to read this anthology, or maybe the poems simply did not speak to me... It is frustrating to sense that I was missing out on what are indubitably technically accomplished poems with more than their fair share of thought-provoking titles -The Fact of a Doorframe, Letter from the Land of Sinners, A Woman Mourned by Daughters, The Roofwalker, Prospective Immigrants Please Note, The Photograph of the Unmade Bed, The Phenomology of Anger, The Ninth Symphony of Beethoven Maybe I picked the wrong time to read this anthology, or maybe the poems simply did not speak to me... It is frustrating to sense that I was missing out on what are indubitably technically accomplished poems with more than their fair share of thought-provoking titles -The Fact of a Doorframe, Letter from the Land of Sinners, A Woman Mourned by Daughters, The Roofwalker, Prospective Immigrants Please Note, The Photograph of the Unmade Bed, The Phenomology of Anger, The Ninth Symphony of Beethoven Understood at Last as a Sexual Message- but the thoughts they provoked in me had, unfortunately, little or nothing to do with the poems she emblazoned those titles on ... Perhaps the closest I came to appreciating her poems were in poems such as The Diamond Cutters, Snapshots of a Daughter in Law, The Burning of Paper instead of Children, The Stelae, Trying to Talk to a Man, Diving into the Wreck, Cartographies of Silence, Meditations for a Savage Child, For L.G.: Unseen for Twenty years... I will allow myself to quote three poems. The first is Ghost of a Chance (1962) from the collection published under the title Daughter in Law: You see a man trying to think. You want to say to everything: Keep off! Give him room! But you only watch, terrified the old consolations will get him at last like a fish half-dead from flopping and almost crawling across the shingle, almost breathing the raw, agonizing air till a wave pulls it back blind into the triumphant sea.On Edges (1968), from Leaflets, is far more subtle: When the ice starts to shiver all across the reflecting basin or water-lilies dissect a simple surface the word drowning flows through me. You built a glassy floor that held me as I leaned to fish for old hooks and toothed tin cans, stems lashing out like ties of silk dressing gowns archangels of lake-light gripped in mud. Now you hand me a torn letter. On my knees, in the ashes, I could never fit these ripped-up flakes together. In the taxi I am still piecing what syllables I can translating at top speed like a thinking machine that types out useless as a monster and history as lampshade. Crossing the bridge I need all my nerve to trust to the man-made cables. The blades on that machine could cut you to ribbons but its function is humane. In this all I can say of these delicate hooks, scythe-curved intentions you and I handle? I'd rather taste blood, yours or mine, flowing from a sudden slash, than cut all day with blunt scissors on dotted lines like the teacher told.Finally two prose excerpts from The Burning of Paper instead of Children (1968):1. My neighbor, a scientist and art-collector, telephones me in a state of violent emotion. He tells me that my son and his, aged eleven and twelve, have on the last day of school burned a mathematics textbook in the backyard. He has forbidden my son to come to his house for a week, and has forbidden his own son to leave the house during that time. "The burning of a book," he says, "arouses terrible sensations in me, memories of Hitler, there are few things that upset me so much as the idea of burning a book." [...] 3. I am composing this on the typewriter late at night, thinking of today. How well we all spoke. A language us a map of our failures. Frederick Douglass wrote an English purer than Milton's. People suffer highly in poverty. There are methods but we do not use them. Joan, who could not read, spoke some peasant form of French. Some of the suffering are: it is hard to tell the truth; this is America, I cannot touch you now. In America we have only the present tense. I am in danger. You are in danger. The burning of a book arouses no sensation in me. I know it hurts to burn. There are flames of napalm in Catonsville, Maryland. I know it hurts to burn. The typewriter is overheated, my mouth is burning. I cannot touch you and this is the oppressor's language.Elusive, fragmentary, perplexing, broken sign/posts of a map I could not read...

  20. 5 out of 5

    robin friedman

    The Development Of A Feminist Poet "Adrienne Rich (b. 1929) has developed into one of the United States' best known poets. She won the National Book Award in 1974 and received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1994. Her book, "The Fact of a Doorframe" consists of a selection she has made from her first nine volumes of poetry written between 1950 and 1983. In 2002, shortly after I read this book and wrote this review, "The Fact of a Doorframe was revised to add both a new introduction and also additional The Development Of A Feminist Poet "Adrienne Rich (b. 1929) has developed into one of the United States' best known poets. She won the National Book Award in 1974 and received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1994. Her book, "The Fact of a Doorframe" consists of a selection she has made from her first nine volumes of poetry written between 1950 and 1983. In 2002, shortly after I read this book and wrote this review, "The Fact of a Doorframe was revised to add both a new introduction and also additional poems Rich wrote through 2001. This review covers only the original edition of the work. I found it interesting to read this book in sequence (from cover to cover) to see the development of Ms Rich's themes as a poet. The early collections, through the mid-1960s, focus on descriptions of nature and on Rich's unhappy marriage experience. For the most part, the poetry is in traditional verse forms There is a concreteness and an accessibility to them that will carry over into Ms. Rich's later work. I enjoyed the early poem "At a Bach Concert" (several of Rich's poems feature her reflections on music) and her 1960 poem "Prospsective Immigrants Please Note" This poem basically is a commentary on Emma Lazarus's poem, "The New Collussus" America itself, for Rich, makes no promises. She writes: "The door itself/makes no promises./It is only a door." In the middle portions of the book, the poems become more overtly political and polemical in character. There are sharp criticisms of the War in Vietnam, of the Cold War, of the treatment of Native Americans in the United States, and of environmental desecration. This tendency in Ms Rich's poetry appears, as far as I can tell, somewhat before her focus on women's issues and on same-sex sexual relationships. The poetry remains predominantly traditional in format although it becomes more experimental and stylistically free. It is didactic and clear to read. The poetry begins to speak distinctly of women's issues and of lesbian relationships in the collections of the late 1960s. The poems are sometimes sharp in tone, rejecting of men in many instances, and celebrate the comradeship and shared experiences of women and the tenderness that Rich finds in same-sex sexual experiences. The emphasis on mostly left political activism also continues. I found impressive Rich's long sonnet sequence "Twenty-One Love Poems" and the poem "A Woman Dead in her Forties" from the 1978 collection "A Dream of a Common Language. I also enjoyed her tribute to the Novelist Ellen Glasgow, in a late poem in the collection, "The Education of a Novelist." I enjoyed her poem on Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, much as I love that work (Ms Rich does not), and her two translations from the Yiddish poet Kadia Molodowsky. Ms Rich's poetic voice is not limited to feminist issues. I think this is a good collection to get to understand the work of Ms. Rich. It works better than a poem or two in an anthology. In addition, as good poetry will do, the collection allows the reader to trace the development of the thoughts and feelings of some people in our country at a particular time in its poetry. Rich's poetry is a good bell-weather of its age. The poetry has an earthiness an immediateness and an accessibility that will make it worth reading even for those who shy away from modern poetry. Robin Friedman

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Freeman

    These poems are some of the first poems I was taught at Columbia College and I remember when Adrienne Rich came to read there, and how excited our professors were, but I didn’t yet understand the significance of her work and was so young. It was a remarkable event to hear her read. When I look these poems I notice a real attention to sound and formality in the beginning. And as she grows into her voice, I see a dramatic change in the philosophy of the poems and subject matter over the next few b These poems are some of the first poems I was taught at Columbia College and I remember when Adrienne Rich came to read there, and how excited our professors were, but I didn’t yet understand the significance of her work and was so young. It was a remarkable event to hear her read. When I look these poems I notice a real attention to sound and formality in the beginning. And as she grows into her voice, I see a dramatic change in the philosophy of the poems and subject matter over the next few books. When I turn to these poems I’m really thinking about philosophy and the image and giving over the core of human experience to a reader. I don’t think the early poems are necessarily meant to be easily accessible or reader-centered. They are quiet and beautiful and illustrate an intense desire with the world, although it feels as though the speaker is displaced and distanced from the world in some way, and that’s what is most interesting and intriguing about “Storm Warnings,” and “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers.” My favorite poems in this collection are from Diving into the Wreck. It’s such a wonderful thing to see how Rich must’ve grown into her own voice and become comfortable with poetry as a link to discovery, and poetry as a substantial force, and a mediator in society. I respect her ideals so much and her keen understanding of philosophy, society, and the modes of being, and Diving into the Wreck is beautiful in its economical use of language and image that allow her and the reader to travel far, in a way that some of her other works do not. So, what I take away from her poems is that it’s OK to lay down the language and the image together without a clear answer or solution. These are exploratory poems that are unafraid and forceful. What makes the poems interesting is not always their social or political nature, but the manner in which those ideas are approached in form and image. Such magic and transcendence in these pages.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Divya Maniar

    “No one knows what may happen // though the books tell everything.” “There are books that describe all this// and they are useless.” Language and truth is one of the fascinating tensions Rich attempts to uncover through poetry. In many of her poems, Rich shows the many ways in which we should question semantics. Words are our attempt at bridging the gaps of human subjectivity. Yet, language plunges us yet deeper into this exact sense of subjectivity. "What kind of beast would turn its life into “No one knows what may happen // though the books tell everything.” “There are books that describe all this// and they are useless.” Language and truth is one of the fascinating tensions Rich attempts to uncover through poetry. In many of her poems, Rich shows the many ways in which we should question semantics. Words are our attempt at bridging the gaps of human subjectivity. Yet, language plunges us yet deeper into this exact sense of subjectivity. "What kind of beast would turn its life into words?" And yet, Rich's very use of poetry as a medium for the exploration of language's failures seems almost ironic. Though it seems that she conveys our inability to capture truth in language, she makes an attempt to do just that. Our capacity to be self-aware of the futility of our efforts, and yet willing still to continue trying, is, in essence, is characteristic of human nature. Rich's poetry is breathtaking because it is, in this and indeed in many other regards, so true in its depictions of the oxymoronic tensions that govern human life.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Peter Landau

    I read somewhere that the problem with poetry is that people tend to read it when they’re depressed. Poetry is an expression of joy and should be shared when one is open to experience the wonder of life. Well, that’s not going to happen. So, here I go again, this time reading Adrienne Rich and her revised THE FACT OF A DOORFRAME: POEMS SELECTED AND NEW, 1950-2001. She opens the updated collection with a short introduction on her introduction to poetry, from the regional voices of her relatives t I read somewhere that the problem with poetry is that people tend to read it when they’re depressed. Poetry is an expression of joy and should be shared when one is open to experience the wonder of life. Well, that’s not going to happen. So, here I go again, this time reading Adrienne Rich and her revised THE FACT OF A DOORFRAME: POEMS SELECTED AND NEW, 1950-2001. She opens the updated collection with a short introduction on her introduction to poetry, from the regional voices of her relatives to the verse of the Bible. Traditional and colloquial corners feed her love of language, rhythm and all the tones that give speech its flavor. She serves up her career-spanning dish of poems, which if I was more articulate would explain, but I can say they’re wonderful, topical, personal and musical. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they lead me out of depression, but while I was reading them I did forget momentarily how much everything sucks.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jas Shirrefs

    I especially liked some of the compound nouns she created and how she sometimes took cliches and tweaked them to keep us guessing. I read the 1950-2001 edition. There are some snippets which I noted down because they were really beautiful: '...the river fog will do for privacy...' '...star dragged heavens, embroidered saddle bags...' '...hamlets of half-truth...' '...meadowgrass and vetch...' '...husks in the cellar...' '...translucent curtain, sheet of water...' '...the mother of reparations...' I especially liked some of the compound nouns she created and how she sometimes took cliches and tweaked them to keep us guessing. I read the 1950-2001 edition. There are some snippets which I noted down because they were really beautiful: '...the river fog will do for privacy...' '...star dragged heavens, embroidered saddle bags...' '...hamlets of half-truth...' '...meadowgrass and vetch...' '...husks in the cellar...' '...translucent curtain, sheet of water...' '...the mother of reparations...'

  25. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    It is ridiculous to claim a favorite poet, but if I had to, she is that poet. I love Adrienne Rich, and I adore this collection I have marked up & highlighted in agreement and awe all throughout this book. So good.

  26. 5 out of 5

    ece

    "This is a seasick way, this almost/never touching, this drawing-off, this to-and-fro. Subtlety stalks in your eyes, your tongue knows what it knows. I want your secrets—I will have them out. Seasick, I drop into the sea." "This is a seasick way, this almost/never touching, this drawing-off, this to-and-fro. Subtlety stalks in your eyes, your tongue knows what it knows. I want your secrets—I will have them out. Seasick, I drop into the sea."

  27. 4 out of 5

    a.

    Meh. I've studied far better. Meh. I've studied far better.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    I'm marking this book of poetry as read, and even though I've probably read every poem in here 2 or 3 times, I'm not done with it. There will be times that I read one of Rich's poems, and it means nothing to me. I'll read the same poem like a week later and I love it. Some of her poems are so symbolic, that I think the only person who grasps them is Adrienne Rich herself. Adrienne Rich is like the love-child between e.e. cummings and Sylvia Plath. She occasionally does the goofy love poem, someti I'm marking this book of poetry as read, and even though I've probably read every poem in here 2 or 3 times, I'm not done with it. There will be times that I read one of Rich's poems, and it means nothing to me. I'll read the same poem like a week later and I love it. Some of her poems are so symbolic, that I think the only person who grasps them is Adrienne Rich herself. Adrienne Rich is like the love-child between e.e. cummings and Sylvia Plath. She occasionally does the goofy love poem, sometimes a call for social justice, and every so often is content to just string beautiful phrases together. Her poems are deeply personal, and yet you leave still knowing very little about Ms. Rich herself. While I have a hard time picking a favorite of anything else, Adrienne Rich will always be my number one poet. Here's one of my favorites of her poetry, it's part 6 of her poem entitled "Shooting Script" "6. You are beside me like a wall; I touch you with my fingers and keep moving through the bad light. At this time of year when faces turn aside, it is amazing that your eyes are to be met. A bad light is one like this that flickers and diffuses itself along the edge of a frontier. No, I don't invest you with anything; I am counting on your weakness as much as on your strength. This light eats away the clarities I had fixed on; it moves up like a rodent at the edge of the raked paths. Your clarities may not reach me; but your attention will. It is to know that I too have no mythic powers; it is to see the liability of all my treasures. You will have to see all this for a long time alone. You are beside me like a wall; I touch you with my fingers and keep trying to move through the bad light." -Adrienne Rich, 1970

  29. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    Rich's poetry is political, personal, powerful, and progressive. This collection is particularly interesting, because it includes poems from several books spanning over 50 years of Rich's career--one can truly travel with her through time, through her proto-feminist writings of the early 1950s, through the Vietnam War and Rich's reactions, to the continued racism, sexism, and classism of the 1980s and beyond. Rich tackles social justice in the US with deep insight and accessibility, refusing to Rich's poetry is political, personal, powerful, and progressive. This collection is particularly interesting, because it includes poems from several books spanning over 50 years of Rich's career--one can truly travel with her through time, through her proto-feminist writings of the early 1950s, through the Vietnam War and Rich's reactions, to the continued racism, sexism, and classism of the 1980s and beyond. Rich tackles social justice in the US with deep insight and accessibility, refusing to gloss over the ugliest parts of our nation's history and realities. Her work is essential to the US poetry canon, and I absolutely recommend it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Woodacre

    My favorite poet- if you have never read her poetry start out with "Living in Sin" or "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning" (also, you should read Donne's poem with it since it is a response to his)... Rich's language is so beautiful and poignant, and rich with meaning (no pun intended haha) you won't be able to stop reading her poetry. Her poem topics range from personal experiences and battling with her sexuality to world issues. A must read. My favorite poet- if you have never read her poetry start out with "Living in Sin" or "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning" (also, you should read Donne's poem with it since it is a response to his)... Rich's language is so beautiful and poignant, and rich with meaning (no pun intended haha) you won't be able to stop reading her poetry. Her poem topics range from personal experiences and battling with her sexuality to world issues. A must read.

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