Welcome to the Muriel Rukeyser Website.

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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 are meant to provide 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

Our “Living Rukeyser Archive” is now in its fourth 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 in American Literature in the School of English at Queen’s University Belfast 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 Mitts, and Alicia Ostriker.  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.  A recent addition is Helen Engelhardt’s “Muriel: In Memoriam” and her essay “Muriel’s Gift–Rukeyser’s Poems on Jewish Themes.”

In January, a group of Rukeyser Scholars came together for a panel at the 2016 annual convention of the Modern Language Association: Re/Considering Muriel Rukeyser’s The Life of Poetry. The panel, convened by Rowena Kennedy-Epstein and Elisabeth Däumer, included Eric Keenaghan, Stefania Heim, Catherine Gander, Cecily Parks, Hadji Bakara, Rowena Kennedy-Epstein, and Elisabeth Däumer.

Our featured poem this month is her beautiful, and still largely neglected poem “The Outer Banks,” which we post here with an essay and photos by Walter Hogan.

Featured Poem

 The Outer Banks

Rough water at the Outer Banks by Walter Hogan

Rough water at the Outer Banks
by Walter Hogan

Originally published in The Speed of Darkness (1968)


Horizon of islands shifting
Sea-light flame on my voice
burn in me
flows from the water from sands islands of this horizon
The sea comes toward me across the sea. The sand
moves over the sand in waves
between the guardians of this landscape
the great commemorative statue on one hand
—the first flight of man, outside of dream,
seen as stone wing and stainless steel—
and at the other hand
banded black-and-white, climbing
the spiral lighthouse.


Floor over ocean,
avalanche on the flat beach. Pouring.
Indians holding branches up, to
placate the tempest,
the one-legged twisting god that is
a standing wind.
Rays are branching from all things:
great serpent, great plume, constellation:
sands from which colors and light pass,
the lives of plants. Animals. Men.
A man and a woman reach for each other.

You will find the entire poem here.