Muriel Rukeyser's Vietnam-Era Poetry and Activism

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SUNY Albany professor Eric Keenaghan will discuss the Jewish poet, activist and feminist, focusing on her Vietnam-era activism, amnesty movements and her commitment to humanity in the wake of the Holocaust.

Known and highly regarded by poets, scholars and general audiences for her poetry, Muriel Rukeyser was a public intellectual and literary author who worked in a variety of modes beyond poetry – prose, fiction, drama, journalism and much more. Throughout her career, she infused her work with a deep sense of her political and ethical commitments, including a strong sense of social, racial, economic justice as well as gender and sexual liberation, peace activism, anti-carceral politics and anti-fascist commitment.

Eric Keenaghan is Associate Professor and Chair of English at the University at Albany, SUNY. He is the author of “Queering Cold War Poetry” (Ohio State University Press) and co-editor of “The Muriel Rukeyser Era: Selected Prose” (Cornell University Press). He has published many scholarly essays on LGBTQ+ literature and activism, 20th-century poetry and Cold War-era literature. His new projects in development include a monograph about Muriel Rukeyser’s career as an activist poet and a recovery edition of her unpublished antifascist play, “The Middle of the Air” (1944-1948, produced 1945).