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. 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.
Please join us for a Rukeyser 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, includes Eric Keenaghan, Stefania Heim, Catherine Gander, Cecily Parks, Hadji Bakara, Rowena Kennedy-Epstein, and Elisabeth Däumer.
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 Evans, Trevor 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 Randolph, Victoria Emanuela Pozyczka produced sound remixes of Rukeyser poems. In time for the new year, we have just published Helen Engelhardt’s “Muriel: In Memoriam.”
The Speed of Darkness
Originally published in The Speed of Darkness (1968)
Whoever despises the clitoris despises the penis
Whoever despises the penis despises the cunt
Whoever despises the cunt despises the life of the child.
Resurrection music,silence,and surf.
No longer speaking
Listening with the whole body
And with every drop of blood
Overtaken by silence
But this same silence is become speech
With the speed of darkness.
Stilness during war, the lake.
The unmoving spruces.
Glints over the water.
Faces, voices.You are far away.
A tree that trembles.
You will find the entire poem here.