Creative Writing

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

Waterlily Fire

Posted on February 5, 2013 by Joe Sacksteder Elisabeth Däumer’s post Context for Waterlily Fire rightly points out the theme of interrelatedness that runs through the Living Archive’s featured poem this month. When I first read "Waterlily Fire," I was struck even more by the idea of impermanence and change, which is the actual bridge (to use Rukeyser’s image) that might be relating everything together in this poem. As I wrote in the post Synecdoche, West Virginia, Rukeyser wants her readers to see a kinship between localized disasters, whether it’s the Spanish Civil War or an outbreak of silicosis, and [...]

2013-02-05T00:20:24+00:00February 5, 2013|Ruke Blog|0 Comments

The Brilliant Truth, Rukeyser vs. Oprah

Posted on January 14, 2013 by Joe Sacksteder Against all sage advice from my colleagues, I’m thinking about proposing a class. I want to call it “True Lies: Untruth in Nonfiction,” a creative writing class that explores the gray area that Elisabeth called attention to in my last post: the various ways that artists define truth. The first thing that comes to mind is James Frey’s Oprah-enraging “memoir,” A Million Little Pieces. What I’m more concerned with, though, is the unflinching, unapologetic notion of how we can make stuff up and claim that it’s somehow truer than what actually happened. [...]

2013-01-14T20:38:04+00:00January 14, 2013|Ruke Blog|1 Comment

Synecdoche, Minnesota

Posted on December 14, 2012 by Joe Sacksteder My bio on the homepage for “Muriel Rukeyser: A Living Archive” states that I just completed a novel partly inspired by The Book of the Dead, and I wanted to use this post to relate how Rukeyser’s poetry has influenced my creative work. Back in undergrad at St. John’s University, I was lucky enough to be able to do volunteer work at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud, an institution with a very unique history. Most of my initial knowledge was word-of-mouth, and it disturbed me in a gut-level way that [...]

2012-12-14T23:39:04+00:00December 14, 2012|Ruke Blog|3 Comments
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