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The Power of Suicide: Muriel Rukeyser’s Poetic Responses to Sylvia Plath

Posted on December 15, 2016 by Arica Frisbey When it comes to Sylvia Plath and her death, the creative response from fellow poets is so very different. Ted Hughes, her estranged husband, wrote an entire book of poems in regards to her (Birthday Letters). Meanwhile, her friend/rival, Anne Sexton, composed a two paged elegy in her honor (“Sylvia's Death”). Then there is Muriel Rukeyser, a female poet who does not make an appearance in Plath's journals (though Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop and Adrienne Rich, who associated with and praised Rukeyser, did make it in), who wrote six lines between two poems, in concerns [...]

2018-12-27T23:08:01+00:00December 15, 2016|Ruke Blog|1 Comment

Discovering Muriel Rukeyser as a Young Writer

Posted on September 8, 2014 by Laura Passin On her 16th birthday, my best friend Jess received a copy of Out of Silence: Selected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser from her mother. Jess and I didn’t live in the same state, so we were avid letter writers; after that birthday, her letters always included at least a snippet of mesmerizing, spiky poetry: For sensual friction is largely fiction and partly fact and so is tact and so is love, and so is love. The best way to describe my reaction to Rukeyser’s poetry is to say I got a raging crush [...]

2018-12-27T23:13:46+00:00September 8, 2014|Ruke Blog|2 Comments

Muriel Rukeyser and Other Writers

Posted on May 19, 2014 by Catherine Gander  In just a few days, I will have the pleasure of chairing a panel at the American Literature Association’s annual conference at Washington, DC. The panel, organised by Elisabeth Däumer (herself a force of intellectual connectivity of the sort Rukeyser celebrated) will bring together five established and emerging Rukeyser scholars including myself and Professor Däumer: Rowena Kennedy-Epstein, whose diligent scholarship recently brought Rukeyser’s ‘lost novel’ Savage Coast to light and publication; Laura Passin, whose work on the politico-aesthetic strains of contemporary American poetry traces valuable lines of influence to the lyrical, subjective [...]

2018-12-28T16:56:55+00:00May 19, 2014|Ruke Blog|0 Comments

On the centenary of Muriel Rukeyser’s birth: the lives of a poet

Posted on December 14, 2013 by Catherine Gander This post, in celebration of the centenary of Muriel Rukeyser’s birth (15.12.13), is a more personal one than my last. I want to evoke, as far as I can, a feeling as well as an understanding of the enormous influence Rukeyser has had on the lives of those who knew her, and those who have read her. Encountering her work, whether it is her poetry, her prose biographies, her dramatic scripts, or her essays, is invariably an intellectually invigorating experience. The act of reading becomes, with a Rukeyser text, simultaneously an act [...]

2013-12-14T18:38:47+00:00December 14, 2013|Ruke Blog|1 Comment

‘Islands’: Dragging Our Heads Back

Posted on December 14, 2013 by Marian Evans The latest draft of the Throat of These Hours radio play, now with a rigorous reader, was hard and slow. I had to reduce – drop storylines, drop characters, drop themes, drop dialogue – and distill. Reduce and distill again. Sometimes I lost Muriel Rukeyser. Sometimes I lost the story. Sometimes I lost heart. Often I had to drag my head back to the play, most easily through listening to one of Christine White’s draft compositions, for part of The Speed of Darkness and for Then.  What a blessing they've been. What a [...]

2018-12-28T00:08:51+00:00December 14, 2013|Ruke Blog, Throat of These Hours (play)|0 Comments

Crisis, hope, and the life of poetry

Posted on October 3, 2013 by Catherine Gander I’m delighted to be blogging for this website for several reasons. Foremost among them is the great pleasure I have in being part of a growing community of scholars, students, readers, writers, artists, musicians, performers, filmmakers, activists and more who share a deep, inclusive appreciation for the life and legacy of Muriel Rukeyser. My first exposure to Rukeyser’s work was not to her poetry, but to her poetic philosophy. In a Master’s class at King’s College London, I had been assigned to read The Life of Poetry by someone who had once [...]

2013-10-03T14:33:48+00:00October 3, 2013|Ruke Blog|1 Comment

From the Shaky Isles

Posted on August 22, 2013 by Marian Evans ISLANDS O for God's sake they are connected underneath They look at each other across the glittering sea some keep a low profile Some are cliffs The bathers think islands are separate like them I feel so fortunate. I've heard gifted readers read the second draft of the Throat of These Hours radio play. And I know what I'd like to do and what I have to do, to ensure it's ready to submit to Radio New Zealand at the beginning of October. This week, I'll write the third draft. And up the coast composer Christine White [...]

Throat Of These Hours: Muriel Rukeyser, Verifiable & Unverifiable

Posted on July 19, 2013 by Marian Evans THEN When I am dead, even then, I will still love you, I will wait in these poems, When I am dead, even then I am still listening to you. I will be still making poems for you out of silence; silence will be falling into that silence, it is building music. ‘Why aren’t you talking with people who knew Muriel Rukeyser?’ a poet friend asks me. I explain. As a history graduate, an oral historian, a librarian, a lawyer and documentary maker of course I’m tempted to interview all of you [...]

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