Welcome to the Muriel Rukeyser Website.

Our Website is getting a Face Lift–just in time for the new year.  In the meantime, it’s still fully functional.

As a “Living Archive,” our website is designed to engender lively interdisciplinary conversations about this important twentieth-century poet. We include a rotating number of selected poems by Muriel Rukeyser. Published with permission of Bill Rukeyser, the poet’s son, these offer a representative sample of her voluminous and variegated body of work. The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser, edited by Janet Kaufman and Anne Herzog and available from the University of Pittsburgh Press, remains the most comprehensive collection of Rukeyser’s poetry.

Please take a minute to acquaint yourself with the site. Also consider contributing responses–critical, pedagogical, or creative–to the website by contacting us here.

Rukeyser News

Muriel Rukeyser’s iconic The Book of the Dead is now available as a free-standing volume from West Virginia University Press.  The book, so Bill Rukeyser tells us, gets “as close as possible to realizing the 80-year old vision of both MR and [photographer] Nancy Naumburg that Book of the Dead be published as a photo/poetry work.”  The book is beautifully introduced by writer and multi-media producer Catherine Venable Moore.  In order to facilitate publication of the poem, we have taken down its digital copy on our website, including, unfortunately, the marvelous annotated copy prepared by former webassistant Adam Mitts, who is now pursuing a PhD at SUNY-Buffalo.  Fortunately, Adam also wrote an essay on the poem, “The Book of the Dead–Rukeyser’s Map of America,” available right here, on our website.

Textual Practice‘s Special Issue on The Life of Poetry, edited by Catherine Gander, will be forthcoming soon.

Our “Living Rukeyser Archive” is now in its sixth year. Over the past years, our bloggers have included Joe Sacksteder (now a PhD student at the University of Utah), Marian Evans, a writer and cultural activist living and working in New Zealand, Catherine Gander, lecturer at Maynooth University, Ireland, and author of Muriel Rukeyser and Documentary: the Poetics of Connection, Adam Mitts (now a PhD student at SUNY Buffalo), and poet and independent scholar Laura Passin.  We have published critical essays by Dara Barnat, Charlotte Mandel, Chelsea Lonsdale, Alice Thomsen, Laura Passin, Elisabeth Daumer, Kelly Nadler, Kyle EvansTrevor Snyder, Adam MittsAlicia Ostriker, Walter Hogan,  Helen Engelhardt, Vivian Pollak, Tim Decelle, Alexandra Swanson, and, most recently, Heather Macpherson.  We’ ve been lucky to receive wonderful creative contributions: Stephanie Strickland permitted us to post her poem “Striving All My Life”; Kellie Nadler, Ned RandolphVictoria Emanuela Pozyczka produced sound remixes of Rukeyser poems. We are always looking for more!

Featured Poem

Our featured poems this Spring are two of Rukeyser’s Songs: “Song,” from Beast in View (1944) and “Song  :  Love In Whose Rich Honor,” from The Speed of Darkness (1968). Please also note Heather Macpherson’s essay “She Sings the Body Electric: Soundscape in Two “Songs” by Muriel Rukeyser.”

© Arno Schmidt Krotoschin

Song   :   Love In Whose Rich Honor

in whose rich honor
I stand looking from my window
over the starved trees of a dry September
deep and so far forbidden
is bringing me
a gift
to claw at my skin
to break open my eyes
the gift longed for so long
The power
to write
out of the desperate ecstasy at last
death and madness

You will find the other song Here