The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser, edited by Janet E. Kaufman and Anne F. Herzog, were published in 2005 by the University of Pittsburg Press. To order, go to: https://upittpress.org/books/9780822959243/
Published in Houdini (2002)
I make my magic Of forgotten things Night and nightmare and the midnight wings Of childhood butterflies— And the darkness, the straining dark Underwater and under sleep— Night and a heartbreak try to keep Myself, until before my eyes The morning sunlight pours And I am clear of all the chains And the magic now that rains Down around me is A sunlight magic, I come to a sunlight magic, Yours.
To mark the centenary of Muriel Rukeyser’s birth and celebrate her life and work, we organized a Symposium and three public events on March 14/15/16, 2013, at Eastern Michigan University.
Presentations, performances, and lively conversations took place all day Friday and Saturday (9am-5pm March 15/16, 2013). Attending this part of the symposium requires registering.
Photographs by Alex Mandrila @ alexmandrila.com
There were also three evening events free to the public:
A poetry reading with Tyrone Williams, Catherine Taylor, Judith Goldman, and Carla Harryman, who will present a performance of “Book of the Dead.”
(7 pm March 14, 2013, Dreamland Theater at 26 N. Washington Street, Ypsilanti, Michigan).
Alicia Suskin Ostriker gave the closing lecture on “Daring to Live for the Impossible: Rukeyser and the Idea of Freedom” (7pm March 16, 2013, Student Center).
The symposium and public events have been co-sponsored with generous funds from the College of Arts & Sciences; Jewish Studies; English Language and Literature; History and Philosophy; Women’s and Gender Studies; Communication, Media and Theater Arts; Music and Dance; the Honors College; General Education; Journal of Narrative Theory; and the BathHouse Reading Series.
An Idea ran about the world
screaming with the pain of the mind
until it met a child
who stopped it with a word.
The Idea leaned over those newborn eyes
and dreamed of the nature of things:
the nature of memory and the nature of love;
and forgave itself and all men.
Quieted in a sea of sleeping
the Idea began its long return–
renewed by the child’s sea-colored eyes
remembered the flesh, smiled and said:
I see birds, spring and the birthplace
unknown by the stable stone.
I know light and I know motion
and I remember I am not alone.
The Idea voyaged nearer my breathing, saying
Come balance come
into the love of these faces and forces
find us our equilibrium.
And the child stirred, asking his questions.
The Idea grew more fleshly and spoke:
Beaten down I was
Down I knew very long
Newborn I begin.
And the child went on asking his questions.
The Idea journeying into my body
returned, and I knew the nature of One,
and could forget One, and turn to the child,
and whole could turn to the world again.
Until the pain turns into answers
And all the masters become askers
And all the victims again doers
And all the sources break in light
The child goes alive, asking his questions.
This site is still under construction, but more poems are added each week. Once the site is complete, it will serve as a lively and comprehensive resource for reading, exploring, and teaching the poet Muriel Rukeyser’s multi-facetted work and broad range of interests, from poetry and the visual arts to religion, history, science, and technology. Let us know if you are interested in contributing to the site–for instance, by writing short essays about individual poems or submitting other original work on Muriel Rukeyser, including pedagogical resources.
We are regularly adding Poems, Prose, Long Poems written by Rukeyser to the website. With those poems, we have commentaries, related poems, essays, and further resources. We are also accepting proposals for the Rukeyser Conference on March 15-16, 2013.