The School Among the Ruins
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The School Among the Ruins

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  224 ratings  ·  21 reviews
In this new collection Adrienne Rich confronts dislocations and upheavals in the United States at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The title poem, in a young schoolteacher's voice, evokes the lessons that children ("Not of course here") learn amid violence and hatred, "when the whole town flinches / blood on the undersole thickening to glass." "Usonian Journals 2...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published January 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 9th 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The School Among the Ruins, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The School Among the Ruins

AfterTastes and Tales from Russia by Jake DanishevskyInherent Vice by Thomas PynchonMidnight at the Palace by Pam TentThe Albino Album by Chavisa WoodsRotten by John Lydon
Radical Reading for 2013
34th out of 48 books — 14 voters
The Farewell and other poems by Sanhita BaruahMy Sideways Heart by Nathan BrownAin't Nobody That Can Sing Like Me by Jeanetta Calhoun MishWork Is Love Made Visible by Jeanetta Calhoun MishLapse Americana by Benjamin Myers
A Few of My Favorite Poets
12th out of 25 books — 2 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 366)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Kerri Anne Stebbins
So often with good collections of poetry I want to show you, not tell you. So:

In response to your inquiry: this is a very complex operation. We have a wide range of specializations and concerns. Some are especially calibrated toward language

because of its known and unknown powers
to bind and to dissociate

because of its capacity
to ostracize the speechless

because of its capacity
to nourish self-deception

because of its capacity
for rebirth and subversion

because of the history
of torture
against h
...more
Hannah Ringler
The School Among The Ruins is one of Rich’s later works - her first collection of poetry, A Change of World, was published in 1951 - and is unabashedly political. By political I don’t mean just that it deals with the governmental policy, action, and inaction - though it does - but also that it discusses contemporary concerns in a voice personal and impersonal by turns but always passionate. The titular poem was particularly interesting, and I liked a quote of hers that I found discussing how dif...more
Kathleen
Feminist, queer poet? You'd think Adrienne Rich would be right up my alley. Alas, I find her poetry somewhat impenetrable for me; I usually bounced right off the poems, although I understood one or two of them enough to really enjoy them. I think, essentially, that Adrienne Rich is just not the poet for me, although I think that she is an excellent poet and for those of you who like more obscure works, she may very well be exactly what you're looking for.
Elizabeth
Feb 14, 2008 Elizabeth added it
Shelves: poetry
I admire so much what Rich is trying to do here, and I appreciate her wrestling on the page.
But it seems like her drive to put down on paper the violent fragmentation of our lives has stripped the music from these poems, and I miss the music.
Stephanie
HER POLITICAL POEMS. HER LOVE POEMS. ALL OF THESE POEMS. Oh god. Best read in conjunction with an AP Government & Politics unit on Bush's presidency & the post 9/11 world holy crap.
Sam Poole
Rich is one of my favorite poets and this collection didn't disappoint. Reading this in conjunction with Pynchon's "Bleeding Edge" provides a powerful eye into the post 9/11 world. The best poems in here are the ones which center paranoia, erotic nostalgia and love on a single spectrum. The overt political tone of the later poems is weighty and excessive at points, reading as Important Political Statement Poetry more than simple schemeless expression, at which Rich will always excel and of which...more
Matt
Oct 30, 2012 Matt rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Kerri quoted this same piece, but well, it is the best part:

In response to your inquiry: this is a very complex operation. We have a wide range of specializations and concerns. Some are especially calibrated toward language

because of its known and unknown powers
to bind and to dissociate

because of its capacity
to ostracize the speechless

because of its capacity
to nourish self-deception

because of its capacity
for rebirth and subversion

because of the history
of torture
against human speech.


Otherwise? It...more
Will
This collection of poems is densely packed with wonderful images but somehow I feel that the music is gone. Another disturbing thing I find is that these poems actually NEED the notes at the end of the book. How else are we supposed to understand any meaning in ambiguous references like: "October '17/ May '68/ September '73." So of course, I find it troubling that the best lines in this book are surrounded by an almost purposeful ciphering. Why?

Still, when Rich is overcome by the insanity of ins...more
Joem
(Note: I did not finish this, but I gave up reading.) The first several poems are horrible. They are exactly what I would expect someone mocking poetry to write... Extremely aloof, strange/random phrases, forced poignancy, centaurs. It took until page 30-something to find a poem I didn't strongly hate. I can't say whether or not I liked it, though. It probably just wasn't as bad as the rest. I read some more, then they declined again. I stopped about half way through the book. (I should also not...more
Niel Rosenthalis
Although I'm a bigger fan of Rich's earlier work, I still find lots to love here. Strong images unite with a clear, focused tone (that's almost stale in that it's almost trademark but still somehow retains its original bite, which is notable after so many years of using it to rev each poem's engine.) I admire her political slant, though I understand how it can get in the way for some of her poems and for some of her readers. I LOVE the title, and I think if I ever put together a book, I'll choos...more
Joanna
It is not that Adrienne Rich's later work is less good than her early poems - it is simply that they are less comfortable. These poems require the reader to sit with them, to hear their echo while looking in the mirror and then outward at their own world. In one, she asks, "If art is our only resistance, what does that make us" and in the next line uses the word collaborators. Her poems are not a cry to action, they have gone past that and achieved a kind of transcendent howl that calls to the h...more
Kirsten Kinnell
The title poem of this collection is one of my all-time favorites and probably the only poem that has ever caused me to weep openly in public. Many of the other poems strain toward the heights or, rather, depths of "The School", but few make it. Unfortunately, I found too much of this collection impenetrable, too self-aware and not aware enough of the reader. Nevertheless, it's worth wading through the less accessible parts to hit the highs that Rich is so capable of.
Jon Drucker
Holy shit. Any time you decide to read Adrienne Rich you are committing to the very likelihood that you are about to have your ass kicked in ways you had not suspected to exist. She will cut you. You will thank her. Then, much later, you'll just Get It and curse her and curse language for existing and then go back to thanking her. You're welcome. That's why we have poets. Someone has to kick us in the ass.
Nicholas
The more Adrienne Rich I read, the more I like her poetry. All the poems in this volume worked together subtly, but two stood out the most for me. "Dislocations: Seven Scenarios" and "To Have Written the Truth", the first about figuring out where you are, and the second about figuring out what you're doing.
Christine
More lyrical and dense than my favorite work by her, Rich's poems here take on many forms and incantations. You need to sit with this one for awhile.
stephanie
was really excited about this, ended up being slightly disappointed and liking fox better. i think i have to go back and read it again.
Leah
She sees so, so much.

The title poem is some of the best antiwar propaganda I've read.
Tara Humphries
There was definitely some beautiful work in here but the style was not for me
gabriela
finished this in one day, i was fucking hooked!
Jennifer
There was one REALLY good one...
Emily
Emily marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2014
Bree
Bree marked it as to-read
Aug 09, 2014
Robin
Robin marked it as to-read
Aug 06, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Averno
  • Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons
  • Elegy
  • Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems
  • Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965-1990 Complete
  • Book of My Nights
  • Split-Level Dykes to Watch Out For (DtWOF, #8)
  • The Collected Poems
  • Dispatch from the Future: Poems
  • Late Wife
  • Practical Gods
  • Native Guard
  • Poems for the Millennium, Vol. 1: Modern and Postmodern Poetry from Fin-de-Siècle to Negritude
29947
Adrienne Rich (b. 1929). Born to a middle-class family, Rich was educated by her parents until she entered public school in the fourth grade. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Radcliffe College in 1951, the same year her first book of poems, A Change of World, appeared. That volume, chosen by W. H. Auden for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, and her next, The Diamond Cutters and Other Poems...more
More about Adrienne Rich...
Diving Into the Wreck The Dream of a Common Language The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems Selected and New, 1950-1984 Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution An Atlas of the Difficult World

Share This Book

“You touched me in places so deep
I wanted to ignore you.”
3 likes
More quotes…