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

ISBN: 0393302040
ISBN 13: 9780393302042
By: Adrienne Rich

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Reader's Thoughts

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 calculated when compared with other poets whose writing is arranged with less effort. But to portray Rich’s ideas she must use a deciphering pen. She conveys all of the pain and confusion of the chokingly false perfections of the 1950’s, the protests, assassinations and multiple conflicts of the 1960’s & 70’s as well as the political untruths that have emerged from the struggles of our past. Rich writes with powerful juxtaposition often unflinchingly and with tremendous intimacy, while at other times her work is so exasperatingly abstract that it feels as if you must be an insider to fully grasp her mindset. In life Rich was often shrouded by labels but rather than succumb to the boxes she could have resided within she chose to voice all of her various complexities with such courage and depth that her work is unparalleled and a requirement for any true lover of poetry.


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.


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.


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.


A great collection. A great place to start w/ Rich if no one made you read her in school.

Carmen something

silence is not an absence (Cartographies)I read The Phantasia for Elvira Shatayev ('74, from Dream of Common Language) almost every day.


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 say that this writer suffers from trope infection. i perservere because of those bright spots though.

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, sometimes a call for social justice, and every so often is content to just string beautiful phrases together. Her poems are deeply personal, and yet you leave still knowing very little about Ms. Rich herself. While I have a hard time picking a favorite of anything else, Adrienne Rich will always be my number one poet. Here's one of my favorites of her poetry, it's part 6 of her poem entitled "Shooting Script""6.You are beside me like a wall; I touch you with my fingers andkeep moving through the bad light.At this time of year when faces turn aside, it is amazing that youreyes are to be met.A bad light is one like this that flickers and diffuses itself alongthe edge of a frontier.No, I don't invest you with anything; I am counting on yourweakness as much as on your strength.This light eats away the clarities I had fixed on; it moves uplike a rodent at the edge of the raked paths.Your clarities may not reach me; but your attention will.It is to know that I too have no mythic powers; it is to see theliability of all my treasures.You will have to see all this for a long time alone.You are beside me like a wall; I touch you with my fingers and keep trying to move through the bad light."-Adrienne Rich, 1970


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.


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".

Jennifer Harris

okay really. huge influence. i've read every drop written by her.


Mad But Magic YA Blogfrom “Transcendental Etude”No one who survives to speaknew language, has avoided this:the cutting-away of an old force that held herrooted to an old groundthe pitch of utter loneliness


One of my favorite poems e-v-e-r is Ms. Rich's Transcendental Etude! If you love poetry you must read this poem. Insightful and highly recommended.


In this book the reader can witness the evolution of the work of a master poet. Not to be missed.

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.

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