Joely Byron Fitch, The Marks of Her Knowing: On Muriel Rukeyser’s “Käthe Kollwitz”

There’s a line in Muriel Rukeyser’s poem “Käthe Kollwitz” next to which I write: this, the center of everything. That line, from the five-part poem’s second section, reads: “A woman pouring her opposites.” The poem is better-known for a question that Rukeyser later asks, then immediately answers: “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open” (Muriel Rukeyser Reader 214, part 3, lines 25-26). These might well be Rukeyser’s most-quoted lines; they appear in some form as countless epigraphs, as the title of at least two anthologies, and in the pages [...]