The collected poems of Muriel Rukeyser

by Muriel Rukeyser

Paper Book, 2005





Pittsburgh, PA : University of Pittsburgh Press, c2005.


Muriel Rukeyser held a visionary belief in the human capacity to create social change through language. 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. 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 traces Rukeyser's life and literary reputation and complements discerning annotations and textual notes to the poems.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member whitewavedarling
Though Rukeyser isn't one of my favorite poets, her works shine with moments of power, insight, and wisdom, and there's no denying that she was "ahead of her time" in terms of politically and socially engaged poetry. As a collection, this has many highs and lows, and her strongest moments are within the many poetic sequences she wrote. For poets, though, and for all those readers and writers interested in socio-politically engaged writings (or writers) and/or feminist writers, Rukeyser can't be ignored. And, in the end, there are enough moments in this collection which I'll return to and treasure that the reading of the full collected works was well worth the time.

I wouldn't ever recommend this for the casual poetry reader, but it does have its moments, and many readers will absolutely find it worth their time.
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