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Muriel Rukeyser

  • Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry ...

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Poem Out of Childhood," Theory of Flight ()
  • Weave grasses for their childhood : who will never see / love or disaster or take sides against decay ...

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Song for Dead Children," Theory of Flight ()
  • Believe that we bloom upon this stalk of time; / and in this expansion, time too grows for us / richer and richer towards infinity.

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Night Flight: New York," Theory of Flight ()
  • Call off your black dog, death, / it cannot bark me down: / I'll travel past these wounds / and speak another breath!

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Thousands of Days," Theory of Flight ()
  • Let us not fear the hidden. Or each other.

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Letter to the Front," Beast in View ()
  • To be a Jew in the twentieth century / Is to be offered a gift. If you refuse, / Wishing to be invisible, you choose / Death of the spirit, the stone insanity.

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Letter to the Front," Beast in View ()
  • Rage for the world as it is / but for what it may be / more love now than last year ...

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "This Place in the Ways," The Green Wave ()
  • Dreams the sources of action, the meeting and the end, / a resting-place among the flight of things.

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Easter Eve 1945," The Green Wave ()
  • Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings. / Not all things are blest, but the / seeds of all things are blest. / The blessing is in the seed.

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Elegy in Joy," The Green Wave ()
  • The universe of poetry is the universe of emotional truth. Our material is in the way we feel and the way we remember.

  • Our poems will have failed if our readers are not brought by them beyond the poems.

  • The fear of poetry is an indication that we are cut off from our own reality.

  • ... Hollywood works continually to keep its standard of contempt for the audience.

  • One writes in order to feel ...

  • ... the truth of a poem is its form and its content, its music and its meaning are the same.

  • Outrage and possibility are in all the poems we know ...

  • There is also, in any history, the buried, the wasted, and the lost.

  • Punctuation is biological. It is the physical indication of the body-rhythms which the reader is to acknowledge ...

  • If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger.

  • ... dogma and shrinking from the external world are at one limit of the range of belief. At the other are science and poetry and, indeed, reality.

  • The process of writing a poem represents work done on the self of the poet, in order to make form.

  • ... reality is the completion of experience ...

  • The music of difference, all alive. / The founders and this people, who set in diversity / The base of our living.

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Young," One Life ()
  • The journey is my home.

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Journey," One Life ()
  • Peace the great meaning has not been defined. / When we say peace as a word, war / As a flare of fire leaps across our eyes.

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "The Double Death," One Life ()
  • You are here, Mother, and you are / Dead, and here is your gift: my life which is my home.

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "On the Death of Her Mother," Body of Waking ()
  • ... I am in the world / to change the world ...

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Käthe Kollwitz," The Speed of Darkness ()
  • What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Käthe Kollwitz," The Speed of Darkness ()
  • The universe is made of stories, / not of atoms.

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • title poem, The Speed of Darkness ()
  • 'When you say Man,' said Oedipus, 'you include women / too. Everyone knows that.' She said, 'That's what / you think.'

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Myth," Breaking Open ()
  • ... I come alone / To you, Mother, I walk, making our poems.

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Trinity Churchyard," The Gates ()
  • Many of us speak, / we do teach each other, we do act through our fears.

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • "Two," The Gates ()
  • If we look long enough and hard enough ... we will begin to see the connections that bind us together, and when we recognize those connections, we will begin to change the world.

    • Muriel Rukeyser,
    • in Rachel B. du Plessis, Writing Beyond the Ending ()

Muriel Rukeyser, U.S. poet, biographer, translator

(1913 - 1980)