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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.
"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."
"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."
"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."
"One of the most important poets of our time. . . . Her originality, her genius, her courage illuminate our century."