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

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  2,097 ratings  ·  54 reviews
'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...more
Paperback, 358 pages
Published January 1st 1994 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published October 1st 1984)
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The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareAriel by Sylvia Plath
Best Poetry Books
63rd out of 1,376 books — 1,512 voters
Crush by Richard SikenThe Fact of a Doorframe by Adrienne RichThe Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara by Frank O'HaraLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanHowl by Allen Ginsberg
Gay/Queer Poetry
2nd out of 118 books — 33 voters


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Community Reviews

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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...more
Rachel
Jul 10, 2011 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: poets and poetry-lovers
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.
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...more
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.
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;...more
Alma
I read most of her early poems and then some of the poems from later in her career that were short. I enjoyed a lot of her poems, but I really didn't like her longer poems or her poems with multiple parts. I didn't really like her experimental poetry. My favorite poems were "Rape" and "Living in Sin." I'm glad I chose her for my paper.
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.
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)
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.
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.
Jennifer Harris
okay really. huge influence. i've read every drop written by her.
Nathan Long
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...more
Sparkie Allison
Rich, powerful and moving poetry that always makes me go into deep thought. It is best read in spurts and allowed to simmer with your thoughts over a few days before taking more in. I have always loved her poetry and this collection is beautiful.
GSGS
May 03, 2014 GSGS added it
We read a selection for class. Love how she combines beautiful lyricism with strong politics. Definitely will continue to muddle my way through this collection even once we've finished studying it.
Amanda
Feb 11, 2012 Amanda added it
Shelves: poetry
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...more
Ginna
Mar 17, 2014 Ginna added it
one of her best - in my opinion, the height of her talent
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.
Christine
If you haven't experienced Adrienne Rich's poetry before, you're really missing out....but be prepared...her poetry is anything but light reading. She addresses politics, history, women's rights, the relationships between people, and other pressing issues of today. I love her...I keep this book by my bed so that she's the last thing I read every night.
Madbutmagic
Mad But Magic YA Blog

from “Transcendental Etude”
No one who survives to speak
new language, has avoided this:
the cutting-away of an old force that held her
rooted to an old ground
the pitch of utter loneliness
Maria
Δε θεωρώ πως η ποίηση, ιδιαιτέρως η ποίηση, μπορει να βαθμολογηθεί ή να κριθεί. Ξέρω όμως ότι λατρεύω τη Rich. Ξέρω πως όλοι πρέπει να γνωρίσουν το έργο αυτής της μοναδικής δημιουργού. Ξέρω πως εγω διαβάζοντας την έγινα πλουσιότερη σε σκέψεις, συναισθήματα, συμπεράσματα.Μοναδικές στιγμές!!!!!
Ross Cohen


Rich was a visionary poet who received images of terrible grace, like Dante or Blake before her. The fact that she anchors her voice in her time and place amplifies her visions' potency and urgency. Amazing and arresting writing.
Eric Shaw
I have just finished this. Previously, I had never read or heard of Rich but this book is filled with diamonds and unlike most poetry books I buy there is plenty worth gnawing over not just one or two miracles.
Jae
I don't really know about poetry, so I just read this through like a regular book. How are you supposed to read books of poetry? Like slowly one at a time with long contemplative pauses? Idk.
Dyani
Am am in and around this book frequently, though I have not devoted enough time to it as of yet to review it properly. I am in love with many things about Adrienne Rich, but not all things about her.
Gerlinda
This book contains my favorite poem, ever, "Trancendental Etudes."

With no mere will to mastery, only care for the many-lived, unending forms in which she finds herself..."
Mindy
This is a great collection of poetry. I've read through it several times. Different poems reach out to me each time. I'm constantly trying to loan it out to share with people.
Mii
This book is a great read!
Amy Sawyer
I have read some Adrienne Rich before and I remember liking her, but I am so glad she was on my reading list this term. She is now on my list of favorite poets.
Deana
I got to hear Adrienne Rich read from her poetry at Smith College a few years ago. Her work is amazing. My favorites include "Rape" and "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers".
Sarah
Some of the first poetry that really moved me as a college student. I've had this book for years and have been reading it for years and it still moves me.
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  • The Collected Poems
  • The City in Which I Love You
  • The Angel of History
  • Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000
  • Collected Poems, 1912-1944
  • Words Under the Words: Selected Poems
  • Praise
  • The Selected Poetry
  • The First Four Books of Poems
  • What the Living Do: Poems
  • Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems
  • Strike Sparks: Selected Poems, 1980-2002
  • The Moon Is Always Female: Poems
  • American Primitive
  • Collected Poems
  • The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems of Mina Loy
  • Migration: New and Selected Poems
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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 Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution An Atlas of the Difficult World Adrienne Rich's Poetry and Prose

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“Sleeping. Turning in turn like planets rotating in their midnight meadow: a touch is enough to let us know we're not alone in the universe, even in sleep.” 45 likes
“I am an instrument in the shape/ of a woman trying to translate pulsations/ into images for the relief of the body/ and the reconstruction of the mind.” 27 likes
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