Revisiting Rukeyser's Elegies in Times Like These: Webinar

February 19/20 2021: Register Now!

The English Department, in cooperation with the Center for Jewish Studies and the Women's and Gender Studies Department, is organizing a 2-day webinar on the Jewish-American poet Muriel Rukeyser and the Elegies she wrote throughout the late thirties and forties. The webinar will bring together scholars and students of Rukeyser's work and will prove an exciting opportunity for anyone interested in the role of poetry in extreme times--like ours.

Rukeyser’s Elegies offer a personal reckoning with failure, both personal and collective. They lament the defeat of liberatory struggles in Spain, the advance of fascism, the devastations of World War II and the Shoah, as well as heart-wrenching personal losses, among them the death of a beloved and the betrayal by friends and co-travelers. But more than poems of loss, Rukeyser’s Elegies engage readers in the arduous emotional and imaginative work required to face defeat, in all its magnitude, and find in it the seeds of possibility, the foundation for a new consciousness and a way of living “of almost unimagined value.” As meditations on “multi-memoried America,” a “nation of refugees that will not learn its name,” molded by the dreams, wishes, and fears of its inhabitants, from indigenous populations to migrants and refugees, these elegies prove especially relevant to the present historical moment, in the US and across the globe. Indeed, the time is ripe for taking an in-depth look at this understudied body of poems, in the context of its time and our continuing struggle for racial and social justice.

To register and view the scheduled events, go to the EMU webinar page.

View or print the event flyer [PDF].