Classroom Strategies

Map “Diving into the Wreck.”

The voice of Rich’s poem tells us at line 54: “The words are maps.” Let’s take her at her word and map this conspicuously spatial poem. List the equipment she uses to dive into the wreck in the order that it is listed in the poem. Locate movements through space, from “here” to “there.” Track the transformation of “I” into “we,” “she,” “he,” “you.” You may want to provide a sample map to get the class started. Have the class form groups and compare their maps.

Discussion Questions

  • How do you think Rich went about writing this poem?
  • What happens to space over the course of the poem? And how does language create (or uncreate) space?
  • How does the transition from above to below affect sound and sense in the poem?
  • Does the structure you have mapped out give you a concrete grasp of the poem? Or does the map raise more questions than it answers?