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Photos by Renée Burgard

Lauren Rusk’s poems and essays have appeared in Best New Poets (winning the Open Competition Prize), Hotel Amerika, The Wallace Stevens Journal, the Writer’s Chronicle, and elsewhere. Her poetry collections are Pictures in the Firestorm (second edition, Plain View 2015) and the chapbook What Remains to Be Seen (Finishing Line 2018). She also has a critical study, The Life Writing of Otherness: Woolf, Baldwin, Kingston, and Winterson (Routledge 2009). Rusk has taught at Stanford University, including its programs in Paris, Oxford, and Berlin, and at Swarthmore College, as well as A Room of Her Own Foundation’s biennial retreat.

Poems that spring from art, science, and social history especially interest her. This focus on outward-looking poetry has prompted, for example, an essay on “The Possibilities and Perils of Writing Poems about Visual Art,” a Stanford course on Reading and Writing Poetry about Science, and a sequence of poems inspired by children’s drawings from the prison camp Theresienstadt.

Betsy Sholl, Maine’s former Poet Laureate, observes that Pictures in the Firestorm “range[s] from evocative glimpses of the momentary to complex meditations on art and its relationship to the world. Rusk’s passion for visual art includes the sometimes difficult history of its making; her subtle wit and intelligence move in and out of the frame, always with one eye on the world outside the gallery, where too often conditions of injustice and violence prevail. . . . The result is a book of poems at once fluid and urgent—an impressive achievement, and in these days, especially, a crucial one.”

Beyond Stanford, Lauren Rusk divides her time between Portland, Oregon and Oxford, England.