Photos by Renée Burgard
Lauren Rusk teaches writing and literature at Stanford University,
including its programs in Paris, Berlin, and Oxford,
and has also taught at Swarthmore College and in the Bay Area community.
Her books are Pictures in the Firestorm: Poems (Plain
View 2007, 2013) and a study of autobiographical work,
The Life Writing of Otherness: Woolf, Baldwin, Kingston, and Winterson
(Routledge 2002, 2009).
Her critical essays and poems have appeared in such journals and
anthologies as Hotel Amerika, the Wallace Stevens Journal,
and Best New Poets.
These days, Rusk is especially interested in poems that spring from art, science, and history. This focus on research-based poetry has prompted an essay in the Writer’s Chronicle on “The Possibilities and Perils of Writing Poems about Visual Art,” a course at Stanford on Reading and Writing Poetry about Science, and a series in progress of poems about children’s drawings from the prison camp Theresienstadt.
Betsy Sholl, Maine’s recent Poet Laureate, observes that the poems in Pictures in the Firestorm “range 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.”
When not in California, Lauren Rusk and her husband Eric Roberts live in Oxford, England, in the summers and spend other university breaks in Portland, Oregon.