Back to All Events

Muriel Rukeyser Night: The Book of the Dead


Feel like we’re a little short on heroes lately? Please join us at White Whale as we celebrate the life and writing of prolific poet and political activist Muriel Rukeyser (1913–1980) to coincide with the release of a new edition of her most salient work, The Book of the Dead. 

Written in response to the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel disaster of 1931 in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia--one of the worst industrial catastrophes in American history--The Book of the Dead investigates the roots of a tragedy that killed hundreds of workers, most of them African American. These poems are a rare engagement with the overlap between race and environment in Appalachia. Published for the first time alongside photographs by Nancy Naumburg, who accompanied Rukeyser to Gauley Bridge in 1936, this new edition includes an introduction by Catherine Venable Moore, whose writing on the topic has been anthologized in Best American Essays.

Moore will join us for the evening, along with writer Kevin Haworth to read from the book and discuss Rukeyser's legacy. Help us celebrate by sharing some of your own favorite Rukeyser poems, or other work to honor her lasting impact. 

Later Event: February 6
Feminist Book Club: What Happened