Muriel Rukeyser

Louise Kertesz, Review of Unfinished Spirit: Muriel Rukeyser’s Twentieth Century

Rowena Kennedy-Epstein’s Unfinished Spirit, Muriel Rukeyser’s Twentieth Century, is itself a work of bold originality and personal, passionate scholarship. It’s fitting that Rukeyser’s work modeled those qualities when critics were dismissing them as inappropriate, even offensive in a woman writer. In her acknowledgments, K-E professes the deep connection she has forged with her subject: “Writing about Rukeyser has helped me think through our political, humanitarian, and environmental crises and to remain, as she models, a ‘vulgar optimist.’”

2024-01-13T16:13:41+00:00July 12, 2023|Essays, Scholarship|0 Comments

Trudi Witonsky, “Lecture by Mr. Eliot”: Some Context

Published 7/20/2022 The Vassar Encyclopedia's entry on Muriel Rukeyser contains part of a poem, originally published anonymously in the November 1933 issue of Con Spirito.  Highly critical of T.S. Eliot, "Lecture by Mr. Eliot" was identified as Rukeyser's by Mary McCarthy, musing over the publication in her memoir, How I Grew: "The Scottsboro Boys. Yes, that sounds like Muriel and the reference would be to a reading by Eliot in Avery [Hall] during our senior year, when he gave us one of the early Possum poems" (260).  This remembrance might seem like slim evidence, without available confirmation from any of [...]

2023-09-04T17:13:49+00:00July 11, 2022|Essays, Scholarship|0 Comments

Rukeyser’s Difficulty–ALA Conference Session, Chicago, Illinois, May 26, 2022

Thursday, May 26, 2022, 4:30--5:50pm, American Literature Association Conference, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois Organized by: Jacqueline Campbell, Princeton University Chair: Vivian Pollak, Washington University “The Promise of the Night-Flowering Worlds,” Trudi Witonsky, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater“‘Not even the bones of what I want to say’: On Muriel Rukeyser and Frances Wickes,” Casey Miller, Eastern Michigan University“Race, Place, and the Politics of Compassion in Muriel Rukeyser’s ‘The Gates’,” Jacqueline Campbell, Princeton University Panel Description For decades, much of Muriel Rukeyser’s writing remained unpublished, unfinished, or lost in the archive. Thanks to the recovery work of scholars such as Rowena Kennedy-Epstein, Eric [...]

2022-05-17T13:18:43+00:00April 13, 2022|Ruke Blog|0 Comments

“What are all his escapes for?”: Making Sense of Muriel Rukeyser’s Houdini

Dear Reader, In what follows, I have tried to offer a careful reading of Muriel Rukeyser’s 1973 version of Houdini: A Musical, published by Paris Press in 2002. This is the version new audiences will soon encounter together during the four public Houdini events sponsored by the Eastern Michigan University Center for Jewish Studies and the English Department this spring. My goal was to strike at some of the play’s most central questions, to pick up on some of the ambiguities and ideas that might appeal to new and not-so-new readers alike. My own reading grew from the question Marco Bone [...]

2022-03-05T16:29:14+00:00March 5, 2022|Ruke Blog|2 Comments

Susanna Ansorge, Rat Elegy–A Creative Response to Rukeyser’s Elegies

Preface Muriel Rukeyser's Elegies challenges readers with an array of complicated literary devices and historical references as a way of digesting a thoroughly grueling time in world history, as she lived through it. Since the work isn't reflecting on the past, but rather a historical present, Elegies stands as especially relevant for readers experiencing unprecedented times. Even as one of those readers, I still had a lot of difficulty interpreting Rukeyser's ambitious collection. As that's the case, I wanted to emulate her as a way of understanding the work. If I can at least reconstruct how these elegies were written, [...]

2023-09-04T17:25:01+00:00January 18, 2022|Essays, Ruke Blog|0 Comments

Bill Rukeyser, Interviewed by Dennis Bernstein, February 16, 2021, KPFA Flashpoints

Dennis: It’s a pleasure and an honor to welcome William L. Rukeyser, son of the late poet and biographer, Muriel Rukeyser, who we are honoring, studying, remembering, during this extended two-day webinar at Eastern Michigan University.  Eastern Michigan University is creating an archive for the great work of the biographer and poetry of Muriel Rukeyser.  And her son, William, has agreed to talk a little bit about his mom and what it’s like to grow up as the son of a great poet and a visionary.  Dennis: So, welcome, William Rukeyser, to “Flashpoints”, and it is very good to have [...]

2021-06-02T15:22:31+00:00June 2, 2021|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
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