Hull had an uncanny ability to meld detailed settings, tragic narratives, & exquisite language/rhythms into elegies for the broken & downtrodden. After re-reading Graywolf’s stellar collection of her lifework, I christened her the Urban Oracle of Utsori (ways of finding beauty at the point it is altered).
Bogan was a master of measured tempo & rhyme, but refused sentimental excess. I admire how she effortlessly combined classical forms with modern musicality; a precise balance between the personal & the philosophical characterizes her journals & poetry collections.
Not only do I revere many of her poems, but her essay on organic poetry schools me over & over again; writing should be urgent & necessary, but also seemingly effortless. Levertov’s quote, “form is never more than a revelation of content,” haunts my revisions.
Rukeyser wrote tremendous personal & political poems; she insisted that the poet had an obligation to unmask social injustices. Anne Sexton famously called her “the mother of us all,” & Rukeyser always reminds me to encourage other writers.
The first time I read Citizen, the totality of its vision left me slack jawed. Drawing on brilliant strategies of point-of-view, syntax, & mixed media, Rankine’s depictions of modern racism ache, anger, & persist. Her writing consistently transcends genre & initiates essential dialogues.
Rebecca Irene holds an MFA from VCFA. Her work is published or forthcoming in Carve, Juked, Atlanta Review, & elsewhere. She received recent residencies from Hewnoaks, SAFTA, & Monson Arts. Poetry Editor for The Maine Review, & a poetry reader for Hunger Mountain, she lives in Portland, Maine, where she supports her word-addiction by waitressing. email@example.com