Muriel Rukeyser Quotes

  • I should like to use another word: 'audience' or 'reader' or 'listener' seems inadequate. I suggest the old word 'witness,' which includes the act of seeing and knowing by personal experience, as well as the act of giving evidence.
  • One characteristic of modern poetry is that arrangement of parts which strikes many people as being violent or obscure.
  • I learned that I had been brought up as a protected, blindfolded daughter.
  • 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.
  • Our poems will have failed if our readers are not brought by them beyond the poems.
  • Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry.
  • The town of Gauley Bridge stands as a pattern for all those places where people are linked even in the middle of their suffering, where people fight against an evil condition so that other people need not go through the same fight.
  • However confused the scene of our life appears, however torn we may be who now do face that scene, it can be faced, and we can go on to be whole.
  • Exchange is creation.
  • The journey is my home.
  • Editors have grown timid... a brave advance is almost inevitably followed by quick back-tracking, generally by dilution and debasement of the original intention.
  • In our period, they say there is free speech. They say there is no penalty for poets, There is no penalty for writing poems. They say this. This is the penalty.
  • I hear the singing of the lives of women. They clear mystery, the offering, and pride.
  • A work of art is one through which the consciousness of the artist is able to give its emotions to anyone who is prepared to receive them. There is no such thing as bad art.
  • I think there is choice possible to us at any moment, as long as we live. But there is no sacrifice. There is a choice, and the rest falls away. Second choice does not exist. Beware of those who talk about sacrifice.
  • The actual world, not some fantastic structure that has nothing to do with reality, must provide the material for modern poetry.
  • The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.
  • Those who speak of our culture as dead or dying have a quarrel with life, and I think they cannot understand its terms, but must endlessly repeat the projection of their own desires.
  • The sources of poetry are in the spirit seeking completeness.
  • If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger.
  • Local images have one kind of reality. 'U.S. 1' will, I hope, have that kind and another, too. Poetry can extend the document.
  • I hope for quick, fluent copy and memorable pictures. The words would not 'describe' the pictures; the pictures would not 'illustrate' the words. Together, they would carry a stamp and tell a story.