Muriel Rukeyser

(2616 words)
  • Shira Wolosky (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Muriel Rukeyser is a distinctive, indeed dissident, voice in American letters, something reflected in the relative lack of commentary on her work. Emerging as a writer at the time the New Criticism was taking hold in the American academy, Rukeyser's work defied all its norms. The New Criticism idealized a poetry that was chiseled and iconic in form, a self-enclosed object of language referring to itself regardless of historical context, biographical reference, or cultural frame. Rukeyser, instead, saw her writing as a direct activism in cultural, political, and social concerns. She considered poetic language to be not a self-referring enclosure, but a permeable boundary with other kinds of discourses and social practices. She thus …

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Wolosky, Shira. "Muriel Rukeyser". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 March 2009
[, accessed 03 July 2015.]