Hunter College Schools
Roosevelt House is pleased to present a live Zoom discussion of Eleanor: Poems by award-winning poet Gray Jacobik. In this rich and inventive new collection, Jacobik presents a series of poems that powerfully and imaginatively inhabit the voice of the First Lady of the World. The author will be in conversation with definitive Eleanor Roosevelt biographer Blanche Wiesen Cook.
Both carefully researched and deeply felt, Eleanor explores with sensitivity and open eyes Mrs. Roosevelt’s emotional and moral conflicts, as well as her fears, losses, hopes, and desires—against a backdrop of some of the twentieth century’s most significant national and international events. Included are poems about Franklin, the Roosevelt children, Eleanor’s mother-in-law Sara, her most intimate friends, and her evolving relationship with issues of class and human rights around the globe.
Connecting the public and private lives of a woman who strived to keep them apart, Jacobik’s poems bring Eleanor Roosevelt vividly and fully to life through language that makes readers feel they are being spoken to in confidence by Eleanor herself.
Former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins has said of Gray Jacobik, her “language is both lush & smart, rich & crafted…” and Pulitzer Prize winning poet James Tate has called her “a rare poet, one not to be missed.”
Gray Jacobik’s poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, Ontario Review, The Georgia Review, Connecticut Review, and Ploughshares. Her books include The Banquet, Little Boy Blue, Brave Disguises, The Surface of Last Scattering, and The Double Task. Winner of The Yeats Prize, she is Professor Emerita of literature at Eastern Connecticut State University and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.
Blanche Wiesen Cook (Hunter ’62) is Distinguished Professor of History and Women’s Studies at John Jay College and the CUNY Graduate Center. She is the author of the definitive three-volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt: The Early Years 1884-1933; The Defining Years 1933-1938; and The War Years and After 1939-1962. The first was a New York Times best seller and received numerous awards, including the 1992 Biography Prize from The Los Angeles Times and the Lambda Literary Award. She has appeared in many Roosevelt House public programs.