Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
In 1974, Adrienne Rich received the National Book Award for Diving into the Wreck. In a statement written with Audre Lorde and Alice Walker, who also were nominated, she rejected the award as an individual but accepted it on behalf of women, dedicating the occasion “to the struggle for self-determination of all women.” This vision of herself as writing for and in the presence of women has guided her work. Feminism provides Rich with the framework for her vision of transformation for herself and for other women.
Her seventh book of poetry, the collection is, in part, a clarification of her identity as a member of the women’s movement of the previous decade. Receiving critical acclaim from the onset of her career, including being chosen by W. H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Award for her first collection, A Change of World (1951), Rich has sought a position in the male-dominated literary world. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s she became politically active in antiwar protests and the feminist movement. Rich saw her poetic power and political ideology merge, creating a powerful poetic vision that informs Diving into the Wreck. Rich, one of America’s foremost poets, has explored, analyzed, and depicted her own physical, psychic, and intellectual rebirth in her prose and poetry. Although her later works, including her prose text Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution (1976) and her poetry...
(The entire section is 1497 words.)
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