I have to forego my impulse to speak with formality to and of my elders (and to Jacob's, in this case) and give in to the deeper urge to just call her Muriel. I don't think this indulgence is unjustified. In the introduction to her Reader, editor Jan Heller Levi says everyone (with the exception of Levi herself) - friends, strangers, former students - called her Muriel. It is impossible to read Muriel's work and not be pulled into a kind of intimacy with her and her subjects. She insists. For example:
The Poem as Mask
by Muriel Rukeyser
When I wrote of the women in their dances and wildness, it was a mask, on their mountain, gold-hunting, singing, in orgy, it was a mask; when I wrote of the god, fragmented, exiled from himself, his life, the love gone down with song, it was myself, split open, unable to speak, in exile from myself. There is no mountain, there is no god, there is memory of my torn life, myself split open in sleep, the rescued child beside me among the doctors, and a word of rescue from the great eyes. No more masks! No more mythologies! Now, for the first time, the god lifts his hand, the fragments join in me with their own music.
So you get the idea, hopefully, of what I mean by 'insisting.'