Muriel Rukeyser Poems

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Muriel Rukeyser
Muriel Rukeyser (December 15, 1913–February 12, 1980) was 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". One of her most powerful pieces was a group of poems entitled The Book of the Dead (1938), documenting the details of the Hawk's Nest incident, an industrial disaster in which hundreds of miners died of silicosis. Her poem "To be a Jew in the Twentieth Century" (1944), on the theme of Judaism as a gift, was adopted by the American Reform and Reconstructionist movements for their prayer books, something Rukeyser said "astonished" her, as she had remained distant from Judaism throughout her early life. On Rukeyser's life, see Thurston (2006), Myles (1997), and . She attended the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, a private school in The Bronx, then Vassar College in Poughkeepsie. From 1930–32, she attended Columbia University. Her literary career began in 1935 when her poem Theory of Flight, based on flying lessons she took, was chosen by the American poet Stephen Vincent Benét for publication in the Yale Younger Poets Series.

Long afterward, Oedipus, old and blinded, walked the
roads. He smelled a familiar smell. It w... [read poem]
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