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Comment 13 of 53, added on March 27th, 2006 at 3:31 PM.
I think that there is an unfortunate tendency among poetry readers to view
a writer’s work within the narrow prism of what the reader knows about the
writer’s personal life. I think that this approach may be useful in
deciphering the meaning of poems written by relatively inexperienced poets,
but it makes no sense in analyzing this work, which was completed by one of
our country’s most penetrating and accomplished writers.
Rich is not talking about strictly personal issues (marriage, suicide,
etc.) in this poem; rather, she is thoughtfully and deliberately talking
about the wreckage of our society and the need to go beyond myth (the STORY
of the wreck) so that we can assess the damage actually being caused by our
social structures, as well as recognize the treasures contained within
them. Only by doing so can we correct serious social problems and
simultaneously retain those social norms that are healthy and productive.
Rich takes us on this voyage as a genderless being early in the work,
pointing to a concern about gender-based social definitions, among others,
in the poem. By the end of the piece, she expands her view beyond gender
and addresses the reader as both an individual and part of a collective
whole, directing us to look at the wreck of our society so we can
(presumably) change its course. In the last line, our names do not appear
in the book of myths because the pervasive, patriarchal and limited views
of our society contained in such a book does not match the reality of
Comment 12 of 53, added on February 21st, 2006 at 11:19 AM.
This poem is overrated, get to the point, no one needs this metaphor about
from United States
Comment 11 of 53, added on November 27th, 2005 at 11:39 PM.
I'm dwelling on single phrases: "The words are purposes./The words are
maps." Words ARE purposes and maps. They are intentions we have toward each
other, whether we are aware of those intentions or not; they are ways
toward and away from each other. This is such a brilliant and beautiful
poem, one of Rich's best. (The other great one for me is "Splitting.")
There is deep sadness here, and a sense of being broken by a life that is
much more powerful and vaster than our intentions had led us to believe
when we thought we could set goals and reach them. So what can we do? Throw
away the myths and seek what treasure remains in the devastation of our
dreams. And the treasure is there, obscured, but there. The fact that the
book of myths will remain, but our names will not appear in it is very
Eloise from United States
Comment 10 of 53, added on November 7th, 2005 at 5:38 PM.
I think this poem is about diving into (looking deeper into) a patriarchal
society and trying to analyze it and understand why the world is like it
Donna from United States
Comment 9 of 53, added on September 26th, 2005 at 2:06 AM.
I thought that this poem was interesting. I studied this poem for my
literature class the more we analysed it the more interesting the poem was.
I thought that using am ocean and diving into the ocean was a clever
metaphore. The book if Myths at the start are ironic to what happens
however I believe that the book is Adrienne's to her life.
Comment 8 of 53, added on August 9th, 2005 at 4:46 AM.
i don't think this poem should be taken so autobiographically. although we
can say that this poem is influenced by the author's own experiences, it is
necessary to consider the themes inherent in all her other works of poetry,
and that is feminism. this wreck, as i interpret, is an observational
journey into what is the wreck of male and female relations, in particular
the disadvantages that women experienced during the time of the poem's
writing. this is, however, a poem about the process of surveyance. i don't
think any real resolution is reached; evidence is collected, photos taken,
but no conclusion is reached.
Victor from Australia
Comment 7 of 53, added on July 4th, 2005 at 11:22 AM.
I'm intrigued by this "book of myths" which opens and closes the poem about
the wreck, but what she's looking for is "the thing itself and not the
myth"? Not the myth?
But we still carry the book of myths with us ...
"a book of myths
our names do not appear."
But what is a "myth"?
A story?Ideas? Lyes? Words?
"The words are purposes.
The words are maps."
The myths are those who guide us to the "things" to reality, but is it our
duty to follow them, the myths, to discover our realities? Our wrecks?
Too many questions? Well, sorry, I do not have answers...
Beatrice from Switzerland
Comment 6 of 53, added on May 1st, 2005 at 4:23 PM.
While looking at the poem it is a temptation for the reader to see this as
a metaphor for Rich's failed marriage do not do this! While there might be
glimpses of this motif in the poem the poem is about the personal journey
one must take to find the world (in the poem it is the wreck) that existed
sometime in pre-history that allowed men and women to co-exist without
patriarchy as equals.
She does go inward, looking for the truth not the abstract and definately
not looking for questions about her marriage. She goes inward to find this
truth about the wreck because it is a journey everyone must take by
themselves! Rich writes, "We are, I am, you are/ by cowardice or courage/
the one who find our way" showing that this is a trip that must be taken by
all, but must be taken alone because if you bring others, the truth of the
wreck will not be found because of the myths others would bring if they
were not there for themselves searching as Rich does for the truth of a
world where the androgenous lived.
Matt from United States
Comment 5 of 53, added on April 27th, 2005 at 10:06 PM.
It sounds to me like she wrote about how , after her husband committed
suicide, she went inward trying to find answers to the many questions that
invariably occur to those left behind, specifically her's in this case, and
learned who she had become over the years and through the wrenching loss of
her husband under the most trying circumstance of suicide; and how to go
on with her life and new knowledge of herself.
from United States
Comment 4 of 53, added on April 18th, 2005 at 10:06 AM.
i think think this poem kind of relate to me because it made me think of my
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