Adrienne Rich

Among women poets of the idiosyncratic group, Elizabeth Bishop and Adrienne Rich have garnered the most respect in recent years.

Though Rich began by writing poems in traditional form and meter, her works, particularly those written after she became an ardent feminist in the 1960s, embody strong emotions. Her special genius is the metaphor, as in her extraordinary work "Diving Into the Wreck" (1973), evoking a woman's search for identity in terms of diving down to a wrecked ship. The wreck is like the wreckage of women s selfhood, the speaker suggests; women must find their way through male-dominated realms. Rich's poem "The Roofwalker" (1961), dedicated to poet Denise Levertov, imagines poetry writing, for women, as a dangerous craft. Like men building a roof, she feels "exposed, larger than life, / and due to break my neck."