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The School Among the Ruins: Poems 2000-2004

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  282 Ratings  ·  25 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
ebook, 112 pages
Published January 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 9th 2004)
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Hannah Ringler
Jul 11, 2014 Hannah Ringler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kerri Stebbins
Sep 23, 2012 Kerri Stebbins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetic
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
Kathleen
Jun 17, 2013 Kathleen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, poetry, anthology
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
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 Kelley
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.
Matt
Oct 30, 2012 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Joanna
Mar 29, 2012 Joanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2012
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
Sam Poole
May 01, 2014 Sam Poole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
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
Joem
May 13, 2013 Joem rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
(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
Aug 01, 2009 Niel Rosenthalis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jon Drucker
Jan 02, 2013 Jon Drucker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kirsten Kinnell
Aug 06, 2010 Kirsten Kinnell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, poetry-modern
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.
Dionne
Mar 09, 2015 Dionne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rich has become one of my go-to poets but I have to say I am a little disappointed with this one. It was much too political and not personal enough for the poems to have a universal relevance/significance. Maybe I'm biased (and I don't even know why I'm making comparisons because I normally don't) but I am reminded of Szymborska's political poems that never fail to make even the most apathetic person to see the world through her eyes even if just until the end of the poem.
Nicholas
May 31, 2012 Nicholas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Anne
Jan 04, 2016 Anne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a so-so read for me. Some poems are better than others. The lack of imagery in some of the poems left me bored and others were just exhausting - broken up little lines that most of the time made no sense to me. I had expected more from Adrienne Rich, perhaps I was looking for poetry that could make me feel more, and think more.
Christine
Aug 07, 2010 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 15, 2007 stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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.
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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
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“You touched me in places so deep
I wanted to ignore you.”
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