“She is the speed of darkness— / witness her mystery, not her gown,” writes Christopher Gilbert in “Muriel Rukeyser as Energy” from his poetry collection Across the Mutual Landscape (Graywolf Press, 1984). The poem serves as a kind of ode to the influential poet Muriel Rukeyser, whose five-decade literary career is characterized by her involvement in political activism and mentorship. Through the anaphora of “she” and use of surreal imagery, Gilbert creates a mythological portrait that reaches beyond biography and reflects both Rukeyser’s influence and poetic character. Write a poem about a writer whose influence on you is significant. What imagery and syntax will you employ to properly reflect the character and impact of their work?
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