Places: Diving into the Wreck

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1973

Type of work: Poetry

Asterisk denotes entries on real places.

Places Discussed*New York subway

*New Diving into the WreckYork subway. “The Phenomenology of Anger” describes the subway of New York City moving toward Brooklyn. The journey through the speaker’s anger takes place against the city landscape, while “walking on Broadway,” or while riding the subway. The dreamlike state depicted in the poem dramatizes the female psyche that Rich is determined to awaken.

*Southern Ohio

*Southern Ohio. In “When We Dead Awaken,” the phrase “lovely landscape of southern Ohio” is juxtaposed against the devastation left by strip mining, which the region has had to endure. The mining process is used as a metaphor for the stripping away of female power. Moreover, the area becomes a place of betrayal.

Wrecked ship

Wrecked ship. Ruins of a wrecked ship at the bottom of the sea are explored in “Diving into the Wreck,” the title poem of the collection. Although it is not named, the Atlantic Ocean is probably the sea that houses the wreck that the speaker of the poem explores. The wreck and the sea are not named because they must be inclusive, not exclusive. The primary symbol of the poem, representing unrecovered female history, seeks to identify with all its readers, as the final stanza reinforces: “We are, I am, you are/ . . . a book of myths/ in which/ our names do not appear.”

BibliographyFlynn, Gale. “The Radicalization of Adrienne Rich.” Hollins Critic 11 (1974): 1-15. Describes the complex evolution of a poet through her poetry, including Diving into the Wreck. Examines her political ideology and its impact on her works.Jong, Erica. “Visionary Anger.” Ms. 2, no. 1 (July, 1973): 30-34. Thoughtfully examines Diving into the Wreck in the context of Rich’s philosophy and past work. Assesses her impact on feminist thought.Rich, Adrienne. Adrienne Rich’s Poetry: Texts of the Poems: The Poet on Her Work: Reviews and Criticism. Edited by Barbara Charesworth Gelphi and Albert Gelphi. New York: W. W. Norton, 1975. A thoughtful study of the author’s work.Rich, Adrienne. Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution. New York: W. W. Norton, 1976. Analyzes motherhood as an institution and as a personal experience, using sociological theory and history to examine the significance of motherhood.Rich, Adrienne. On Lies, Secrets, and Silences: Selected Prose, 1966-1978. New York: W. W. Norton, 1979. Presents a detailed account of her intellectual rebirth through her prose. Identifies the literary works and figures who have influenced her.
Categories: Places