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The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems 1950-2001 Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (November 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393323951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393323955
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Adrienne Rich is the Blake of American letters. -- Nadine Gordimer

Rich's poems, volume after volume, have been the makings of one of the authentic, unpredictable, urgent, essential voices of our time. -- W. S. Merwin

[H]er dialectic fire produces poems of transcendent beauty. -- New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Widely read, widely anthologized, widely interviewed and widely taught, Adrienne Rich (1929–2012) was for decades among the most influential writers of the feminist movement and one of the best-known American public intellectuals. She wrote two dozen volumes of poetry and more than a half-dozen of prose. Her constellation of honors includes a National Book Award for poetry for Tonight, No Poetry Will Serve, a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 1994, and a National Book Award for poetry in 1974 for Diving Into the Wreck. That volume, published in 1973, is considered her masterwork. Ms. Rich’s other volumes of poetry include The Dream of a Common Language, A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far, An Atlas of the Difficult World, The School Among the Ruins, and Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth. Her prose includes the essay collections On Lies, Secrets, and Silence; Blood, Bread, and Poetry; an influential essay, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” and the nonfiction book Of Woman Born, which examines the institution of motherhood as a socio-historic construct. In 2006, Rich was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Foundation. In 2010, she was honored with The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry's Lifetime Recognition Award.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By D. R. Greenfield on July 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was privileged to hear Rich read some of her poetry back in 1973 while living in Cambridge, Mass. All I remember of that evening is the image of a distinguished-looking, gray-haired woman dressed in black reading serious poetry that did not try to be funny or cute. I guess that may be why, when I went through a difficult divorce seven years ago, I found myself reading from this book late into the night, soaking up the unforgettable images, and somehow using these deep poems as a ladder of sorts to climb out of the hole of depression I found myself trapped in.

You know when you have been touched to the core by great poetry: Read, or better, record yourself reading 'Diving into the Wreck', then listen to it some night late when you are in a contemplative mood. Likewise, 'Shooting Script', 'Pierrot le Fou', 'Integrity' or any number of other poems in this book. Unforgettable mythic imagery; deep imagery that resonates with the psyche. It makes not one dime of difference whether you are male or female, since deep inside we're all in some profound sense androgynous.

From 'Shooting Script':

"But this is not the war I came to see, buying my ticket, stumbling through the darkness, finding my place among the sleepers and masturbators in the dark."

"Somewhere someone has that war stored up in metal canisters, a memory he cannot use, somewhere my innocence is proven with my guilt, but this would not be the war I fought in."

Here Rich is not talking about some external war, but a very personal war, her war.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Craig Werner on October 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
Adrienne Rich is anything but a knee jerk feminist propagandist. She's one of America's most important poets, and this volume charts the first part of her journey. What's most striking about Rich is her refusal to settle into any comfort zone: political, psychological, aesthetic. She is most certainly a poet with a strong public voice, but she uses that voice in a way that challenges all of us who care about the meaning of creativity in a democratic society. The early volumes collected her present Rich as a poet who has absolutely mastered the formal demands of modernist poetry; her peers are Yeats, Frost and W.H. Auden. But, responding to the constraints of life in 50s and early 60s America, she recreated herself in books like Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law and The Will to Change. She experiments with the radical politics and art forms of the 60s, engages in the battles against white supremacy, patriarchy, and moral complacency in all its forms. And at each turn, she examines her own premises and poetry with a seriousness akin to that of James Baldwin or Toni Morrison. But mostly, she writes poems that will sink in deep and repay renewed visits over the decades: "Diving into the Wreck," "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers," "The Burning of Paper Instead of Children," "21 Love Poems." Read her and you'll know what her critics are afraid of.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Raymond L. Heinrich on August 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
I first posted this under "The School Among the Ruins" but it really belongs here:

In 1988 my ardent feminist girlfriend gave me a copy of "The Fact of a Doorframe" (the 1984 edition) and told me not to speak to her again until I finished reading it. This seemed an odd request, but since I really wanted to speak to her again, I read it. Rich's uncompromising passion not only moved me; it started a process that changed my view of the world and ended up changing my life. I guess you should expect that from a writer this powerful.

P.S. I particularly love "Your Native Land, Your Life", "The Dream of a Common Language", and "What is Found There". ("What is Found There" is supposed to be essays and letters but it seems like poetry to me.)
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