poet Muriel Rukeyser

Muriel Rukeyser

Muriel Rukeyser
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an American poet and political activist, best known for her poems about equality, feminism, social justice, and Judaism. Kenneth Rexroth said that she was the greatest poet of her "exact generation".

While her earlier work shows the influence of W.H. Auden in its intricate rhyming and regular meter, she later wrote more freely, famously declaring in a 1968 poetic manifesto “No more masks! No more mythologies!” Apart from her advocacy for the disadvantaged, she reflected a great range of interests, including science, in her writing, and in the 1960s and 70s became a favorite of the anti-war movement and of feminists.

One of her most powerful pieces was a group ... more »

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Muriel Rukeyser Quotations

  • ''Our poems will have failed if our readers are not brought by them beyond the poems.''
    Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980), U.S. poet. The Life of Poetry, ch. 5 (1949).
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  • ''If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger.''
    Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980), U.S. poet. The Life of Poetry, ch. 10 (1949).
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  • ''Exchange is creation.''
    Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980), U.S. poet. The Life of Poetry, ch. 11 (1949).
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  • ''Flight is intolerable contradiction.''
    Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980), U.S. poet. "Theory of Flight," line 8 (1935).
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  • I think there is choice possible at any moment to us, as long as we live. But there is no sacrifice. There is a choice, and the rest falls away. Second choice does not exist. Beware of those who talk ...
    Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980), U.S. poet. The Life of Poetry, ch. 11 (1949).
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Best Poem of Muriel Rukeyser

Reading Time: 1 Minute 26 Seconds

The fear of poetry is the
fear : mystery and fury of a midnight street
of windows whose low voluptuous voice
issues, and after that there is not peace.

The round waiting moment in the
theatre : curtain rises, dies into the ceiling
and here is played the scene with the mother
bandaging a revealed son's head. The bandage is torn off.
Curtain goes down. And here is the moment of proof.

That climax when the brain acknowledges the world,
all values extended into the blood awake.
Moment of proof. And as they say Brancusi did,
building his ...

Read the full of Reading Time: 1 Minute 26 Seconds