What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980) asked in her great poem ""Kathe Kollwitz."" And answered: The world would split open. Rukeyser held a visionary belief in the human capacity to create social change through language. Her poetry broke silences about sex, motherhood, daughterhood, breast-feeding, lesbian erotics, depression, menstruation - all common experiences not deemed suitable for poetry until her emergence on the American literary scene in 1935. She earned an international reputation as a powerful voice against enforced silences of all kind, against the violence of war, poverty, and racism. Her eloquent poetry of witness-of the Scottsboro Nine, the Spanish Civil War, the poisoning of the Gauley Bridge laborers-split the darkness covering a shameful world, and brought her to the attention of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Yet her expansive, nonpartisan vision often rankled the political Left. Who will speak these days, she asked famously in ""Speed of Darkness,"" if not I, / if not you? Much lauded (and criticized) during her lifetime, Rukeyser's place in modern American poetry is now secure. In addition to the complete texts of her twelve previously published books, this volume also features new poems discovered by the editors; Rukeyser's translations, including the first English translations of Octavio Paz's work; early work by Rukeyser not previously published in book form; and the controversial book-length poem Wake Island. An introduction by the editors that traces Rukeyser's life and literary reputation complements discerning annotations and textual notes to the poems.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Number of pages: 600
Weight: 1175 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 49 mm
"Rukeyser appears more and more as an exemplary American modernist, the lyric poet of epic awareness. Her Collected Poems
is a monument of the last century, a gift to the present and a hope for the future. In it one finds . . . poems of such variety, passion and compassion, indignant judgment, joy, humor and conviction that it is impossible to summarize."--The Washington Post
"An event to loudly celebrate--a new collected poems of Muriel Rukeyser, who opened much of the forbidden territory where poets can now move with ease. Here, for a new generation, the full range of the capacious poet who gave twentieth-century women's poetry its mottos and its most audacious exemplar, and poetry of witness and moral passion its most ardent and urgent American voice."
"One of the most important poets of our time. . . . Her originality, her genius, her courage illuminate our century."
"Now, as ever, we need these poems that speak to ethical issues and social justice, individual and international concerns. An impressive contribution to Rukeyser scholarship, this edition includes translations and secures for the poet an important place in American letters."
"The breadth, innovation, variety and daring of Muriel Rukeyser's work has always defied efforts to confine her. She was, in fact, one of the major American imaginations of "the first century of world wars. " Now at last comes this scholarly, yet beautifully accessible edition of her lifework in poetry--a great gift to the 21st century."