Welcome to the Muriel Rukeyser Website.
As a “Living Archive,” our website is designed to engender lively interdisciplinary conversations about this important twentieth-century poet. 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.
We want to thank all of you who attended the Rukeyser Centenary Symposium. We are pleased to announce that Alicia Ostriker’s keynote speech on Rukeyser’s poetry is now available on our website. We have also just added an essay by Charlotte Mandel, Muriel Rukeyser’s Akiba Inheritance to our website. Have a look at both.
Our Current Guest Blogger
Joe Sacksteder blogs on Rukeyser in relation to his teaching and creative work. Have a look at this recent post on Rukeyser’s marvelous “Waterlily Fire.” Joe Sacksteder received his MA in Creative Writing from Eastern Michigan University in 2011, where he now teaches creative writing and composition. His fiction, poetry, and audio creations have appeared in Booth, Rio Grande Review, The Collagist, Sleeping Fish, textsound, Hawaii Review, and elsewhere. He has just completed a novel partly inspired by Muriel Rukeyser’s Book of the Dead.
Our current featured poem is “Desdichada.” Read it here.
Desdichada is a Spanish word translating to unhappy, unfortunate, wretched, miserable, or unlucky. In Spanish, adjectives have different endings depending on the gender of the thing they describe, so desdichada refers to something female.
In her keynote speech at the 2013 Rukeyser Symposium, Alicia Ostriker explored “Desdichada”:
Responding to a hurt we are to understand as devastating, the poet releases this flood of images she acknowledges, not to be paraphrased but to be felt—encompassing microcosm and macrocosm, raindrops, river and city, an instant of time and a span of years. To be treated ungenerously makes her need to be generous.
When I read this poem, to you or to myself, I am touched somewhere very deep within, somewhere where I both hurt and hope, and can’t explain.