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Diving Into the Wreck

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  7,109 ratings  ·  203 reviews
"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.
Paperback, 72 pages
Published August 17th 1994 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1973)
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Anthony Vacca
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Stephen M
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, textbook
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
...more
mwpm
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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 gon ...more
Raul Bimenyimana
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Nikki
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
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.
Christy
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: feminists, poets
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.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: National Book Foundation
Shelves: poetry, read2011
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
...more
Rebecca
Nov 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, feminist
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 ...more
Luke
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Adriana Scarpin
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Kathy
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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.
Bert
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gaargh wonderful. More powerful and relevant than ever right now.
Kirsty
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: january-2017, kindle
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 ...more
MJ Nicholls
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: merkins, poems, distaff
Exasperating and bleak poetry cycles about gender struggle and body politics. Not my usual parvenu, but I appreciated hearing this voice. On the bus.
Mino
Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Does the primeval forest / weep / for its devourers / does nature mourn / our existence
anna (readingpeaches)
SHE REALLY JUST DIDN'T PULL ANY FUCKING PUNCHES HUH
Brent Mckay
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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"
...more
William West
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Mike Lindgren
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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 ...more
Nicholas During
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Rachel
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mfa-reading-list
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.
Alix
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, poetry, women
"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."
Jade Kranz
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Ana
A punch in the gut. Political, cynical, urgent.
Michael Shilling
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Allyson
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Slayed me.
melis
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, kitaplığım
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."
Phil Jensen
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am the androgyne
I am the living mind you fail to describe
in your dead language
the lost noun, the verb surviving
only in the infinitive
the letters of my name are written under the lids
of the newborn child

from "The Stranger"


Moments of vibrant clarity like the above split about 50/50 with moments that are either less vibrant or less clear. Frequent themes include recognizing and surviving damage; understanding yourself rather than accepting the judgement of others; sisterhood; the difficulty or im
...more
Jennn
Dec 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who like strong imagery and dark, but well-written poems
Shelves: poetry
I'm so picky when it comes to poetry and it takes a lot to wow me. Right from the first page, this book starts out powerful and lasting with "Trying to Talk with a Man", Rich explaining in such vivid imagery "out here I feel more helpless/with you than without you".

The next poem, "When We Dead Awaken", maintains the same electricity and sting as the last (e.g. "the trash/burning endlessly in the dump/to return to heaven like a stain" and "souvenirs of what I once described/as happiness", and in
...more
Jamie
Dec 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2011
I'm perpetually torn with Rich. There's a studied, formal quality to even her mid-career, furious work - and I rarely enjoy tight-wound poetry, at least on a sort of affective level. My other frustration with Rich is that she can envision striking images, but so many of her poems seem to me to be endless series of absolutely disconnected images, and not in a surrealist, avant-garde way, either. Just disjointed attempts at stating the same idea again and again, which can be tedious. The latter pa ...more
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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
“I don't trust them but I'm learning to use them.” 96 likes
“...you look at me like an emergency” 83 likes
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