A Different Form of Dialogue

** The disclaimer here is that this blogpost solves very little; rather, it serves as a way for me to explore my love for creative writing with the topics we have been discussing in class. I end this entry with a lot of questions that I do not know how to answer or discuss. I hope you can follow along as I explore a new realm of dialogue.

After reading Audre Lorde’s “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” I wanted to consider her reference to Adrienne Rich, an American feminist poet. I am most familiar with Rich’s poem entitled “Diving into the Wreck”. I remembered this poem being about a journey into the wreck that is oppression. I do hope you read the poem before reading on, as it is an important creative piece that delves into complex issues that we have been discussing in class.

Rich takes me through a vivid underwater dive of the ocean; however, towards the end of the poem, I start to  wonder what this “wreck” is actually about. I hope to use this blogpost as a way to explore the “wreck” as it relates to the “master’s house.”

The voice in the poem is trying to show how he/she is surviving; how he/she is about to embark on this dive alone. He/She travels down the ladder–perhaps a societal ladder–only to realize that no one is around to tell the voice “when the ocean / will begin.” This writing is powerful. The dive itself is perhaps the story of someone’s life; perhaps someone who exists in a space where systems of oppression are in full force. As this person climbs down this ladder, it is evident that he or she is looking for a moment of clarity. When will the ocean begin? Water is fluid and has no sense of chronology. Even the voice in this poem is fluid, which is clear when Rich writes “I am she: I am he”. There is no gender, sex, race, age, (dis)ability to the voice.

Rich adds, “the sea is not a question of power.” As we travel deeper, we may not be looking for privilege or the master’s house, per se. Rather, we may be looking for the place where the master left his tools (which may be in the master’s house). Rich writes:

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.

If the wreck is the master’s house, and the voice has come to explore that house, then the wreck must be the place where the master’s tools are stored. When Lorde (1984) said, “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change” (p. 2). If the ocean and its fluidity are not sources of power, but the wreck exists in the ocean, then what is the point of this dive? Is diving into the wreck a lens for turning differences into strengths? This poem is about the exploration of the wreck and maybe the idea of dissonance. People are a sort of element that does not normally combine with the element of water. In other words, people cannot live in water. Until we explore the wreck, we may not be able to find our awareness of how systems of oppression affect us.

But what about the treasure in the wreck? Certainly the treasure is not the master’s tools. Perhaps the treasure is the knowledge, or what Lorde referred to as “learning how to take our differences and make them strengths” (p. 2).

Consider the very last stanza. Rich writes:

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife,
a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.

The conclusion of this poem leaves me feeling deserted. The voice began the dive alone and is now realizing how truly unaccounted for he or she may be. Even if I am able to find the master’s tools in the wreck, how am I able to use them? Do I want to be able to use them? or do I want to repurpose them? Is there a point at which intersectionality can be found in the wreck?

As I mentioned earlier, I know I have not fully analyzed or concluded much in this post; however, what I have discovered is an interest in how the stories of women (as they relate to Lorde’s piece) come to life through a poem. The differences between Lorde and Rich as writers are many; yet, their pieces seem to have a conversation and facilitate dialogue. Are people the only facilitators of dialogue?

I replied to Hilary’s post from this week in regards to some feelings I also have about the ability to have courage and take risks. I think this post was a very different kind of risk. I hope you, the reader, is able to follow this post in a way that inspires you to consider how dialogue is more special than we know.

Readings & References
Week 3

Lorde, A. (1984). “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Ed. Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press. 110-114. 2007.


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