Adrienne Rich – 6A1

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I would like each of you to post a comment here on the poetry by Adrienne Rich that we have studied in class.

Your comment should give your evaluation of Rich’s poetry and should include accurate quotation. Feel free to mention any technique or image used by Rich that you found effective. You may also tell us what poem you enjoyed the most or if there was any poem that you found challenging.

Remember that the goal here is to share our learning and to reflect on what we have learned in class.

Re-read the Responsible Blogging page before you start. And don’t forget to re-read your work before you publish!

I am looking forward to your comments.

Mrs. Meighan

14 thoughts on “Adrienne Rich – 6A1

  1. Overall I found Adrienne Rich’s poetry to be very interesting. She tends to have an unusual view to everyday topics such as the power in relationships, power in society and finally gender (why do certain genders act the way they do?). She always seems to take the side of the minority in her poetry,which leads me to believe that she is a rebellious character. This is something different to what we have studied in the past so this is why I found her to be interesting and different.

  2. I agree with Neil. I also found Adrienne Rich’s poetry to be very interesting. It appealed to me because I found her feminist attitude relevant to my life, since I am one of very few girls in a predominantly male environment. I admire Rich’s poetry because of her controversial ideas and topics. She has to be one of my favourite poets on the Leaving Cert course.

  3. Thank you Neil and Olivia!

    Neil, I love your insight that she always seems to take the side of the minority in her poetry – can you name a poem where this is particularly evident?

    Olivia, I’m so glad that you enjoy her poetry and you certainly have a special insight into her feminist themes considering the make-up of our school. Is there any one poem that embodies this for you?

    And now for the rest of you, I’m looking forward to reading some more insightful observations!

    Mrs. Meighan

  4. Overall, I found Rich’s poetry to be fascinating. What stood out to me the most was how much power Rich developed in the world of literature as time went by. In the beginning, her poetry almost seemed obedient to the rules made by the patriarchal society at that time. (eg. Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers is in a strict three stanza poem with four lines each. It also contains rhyming couplets. ‘screen’ and ‘green’). As time went by she almost became rebellious in her style of writing. An example is in the poem ‘Power’. It contains triple spaces and enjambment. Personally, ‘Power’ is my favorite poem by Adrienne Rich because it is so different to other poetry I have studied for the Leaving Cert. course. I adore Rich’s use of characters in this poem to show how gender created inequality. It shows how easily a man could exploit ill people (‘for fever or melancholy a tonic’) but a woman had to work until she couldn’t function anymore to gain a little bit of power (‘suppurating skin of her finger-ends’). I found the poem ‘Diving into the Wreck’ particularly difficult to understand. Not only is it an extremely long poem but it contains several images that could have lots of different meanings. Towards the end of the poem Rich creates some confusing images. ‘I am she: I am he.’

  5. When we first started reading Adrienne’s first poem “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”, I thought that Rich was just going to be another normal poet but by the time we had got to “Diving Into The Wreck” my view of Rich had dramatically changed.
    I loved the fact that in this poem she is trying to say that nobody else knows you better than yourself and that we should all take this dive into our mind to figure out who we really are.(“We are, I am, you are,by cowardice or courage, the one who find our way,back to this scene”).This put Adrienne as one of my favourite poets and that’s saying something as I don’t have many favourite poets.

  6. In my opinion it is impossible not to appreciate the poetry of Adrienne Rich. Her unusual imagery, themes and the seriousness of her poetry all combine to make it unique. The main issue she deals with throughout her poetry is the idea of power between men and women, this is mainly evident in the poems ‘Power’, ‘Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers’ and ‘The Uncle Speaks in the Drawing Room’. I respect Adrienne Rich for her efforts to get the message across about inequality in society. In the poem ‘Power’ Rich discusses the work of ‘Marie Curie’. Rich talks about Curie’s discoveries and how they made her ill, ”her body bombarded for years by the same element she had purified”. Rich shows her respect for Curie and praises her work.
    Overall I enjoyed studying the poetry of Adrienne Rich, although I did find her poem ‘Diving into the Wreck’ difficult to study. I found the last few stanzas in the poem quite difficult to comprehend what was occurring because even Rich herself couldn’t quite understand what was going on, “I am she: I am he”.
    My favourite poem by Adrienne Rich on the syallabus is ‘Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers’. I found this poem energetic and easy to study. Her use of characters also adds to the appealing aspect of the poem.

  7. Hello my lovely 6th Years! I am so glad that so many of you are enjoying Adrienne Rich. She is a really interesting and insightful poet. Dont give up when it gets tricky; give it time and you will learn to love her! I hope you are all still working hard and enjoying class too. Your summer results were so impressive and Mrs. Meighan has told me that you are all still doing great. I’m very proud to have had you even just for a year. Next time I blog I hope to see more of you on here as I want to hear how your year is going:) Life in Oz is going great and I have settled back in really quickly. Keep up your hard work and I’ll be keeping an eye on you!

  8. I can easily understand why Adrienne Rich is one of the most celebrated poets alive today. The issues she confronts were very controversial when they were first written, when to even mention homosexuality or women’s equality were taboo, and they are no less significant now even though these subjects are apart of every day life. (these can be seen in the poems “Power” and “Diving into the Wreck”) This shows her intense bravery and fearlessness. That she didn’t care about people’s conceptions of her and it didn’t hold her back from expressing her innermost thoughts and feelings in her poetry.
    She has been an inspiration to an entire generation with her strong images and her ability to push the bar to new levels. Her numerous awards and achievements are testament to that.

  9. The poetry of Adrienne Rich appealed to me most as it makes me aware of the hardship that women have faced in the past which, while focused on by many in the past, is something I have not thought much about. However Rich’s poetry shows me that this is an issue which deserves some attention perhaps? As I read through her poems I noticed that her poetry features unusual images which seem not to serve much of a purpose, but which are heavily focused on, such as a coffee-pot boiling over, or several tigers prancing. These images served two purposes: they caught my eye due to their apparent irrelevance, and then easily presented their messages to me, as they display various instances in which the females are dominated by males ,cruelly and unfairly. I found Rich to be a very insightful and strong minded poet.

  10. One of things I enjoyed most about the poetry of Rich is how she writes about many different personal themes, but also combines them with political themes to create a story with a personal meaning to herself, but also one that everybody can relate to (“Trying to Talk with a Man”, “The Uncle Speaks in the Drawing Room”).
    I enjoyed how Rich often looks at situations from a different perspective than most people would. She frequently joins the side of the minorities as she would have been a strong feminists living in a world with a strong patriarchal society, which is evident throughout her poetry in poems such as “Power” and “The Uncle Speaks in the Drawing Room”.
    I also enjoyed Rich’s use of imagery throughout her poetry. Personally, my favourite poem by Rich would have to be “Trying to Talk with a Man” due to the imagery throughout the poem. I enjoyed how Rich merged completely separate themes (eg. power, personal life and politics) into the one poem. One of my favourite images conveyed in this poem is the images of the bomb “Out in this desert we are testing bombs”. I liked this image as it shows us a single image, but it contains two different messages.

  11. Thank you to every one of you who have posted so far. You have made some incredibly mature and well thought out comments that clearly demonstrate how much you have engaged with the poetry we have studied in class.
    Remember that examiners always want to know your ‘personal response’ to the work of a poet and you have given some deep responses indeed.
    This post will be staying on the blog so that more of you from the class can contribute when you feel ready.

  12. Congratulations to you and your students on your wonderful blog, Mrs. Meighan. I hope it’s ok to comment, even if I am not a student or teacher in the school? I no longer have to study poetry for Exam purposes but have had two Adrienne Rich poems mentioned to me in the past few months, by two different people about two very different matters. One was from a family member now living in the States, facing another big change in her life. She told me that the poem, ‘Prospective Immigrants Please Note’ was very much on her mind as she once again faced up to the challenge of change. Although we never actually spoke at length about the poem, by reading it I was able to identify with her (somewhat), drawing upon some of the big steps, twists and turns that I had taken in my own life’s journey. There is always, always, at the cusp of the change that wondering if you are doing the right thing, but ultimately you come to know your own strengths and weaknesses in the process. It is not unlike the sentiments expressed, more simply, by the poet Robert Frost, but I think Rich captures the complexity and inner challenge better. I love the stanza – ultimately, it is our choice how meaningful or not we make our lives.

  13. Niamh, we are delighted to have contribution from an esteemed English scholar such as yourself! Thank you for your insights. Frost is also on the list for my 6th Years to study so it is interesting to draw comparisons between the two poets.
    Feel free to check in any time you like!

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