Rue is the third poetry collection by Kathryn Nuernberger. Her previous book, The End of Pink (BOA, 2016) won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets.
Nuernberger is well known for blending scientific research, feminist theory, and confessional poetry in her work. Her previous collection, The End of Pink, was praised by critics and readers alike for her deft blending of poetry, historical scholarship, and memoir, which she continues in this new collection.
Rue directly responds to the #MeToo movement and the ongoing debate over women’s rights in poems that directly address the speaker’s abuse at the OBGYN office, the history of medicinal plants used for birth control, and the pressure for women in rural communities to marry and have children.
Nuernberger digs deep into the science and folklore surrounding common medicinal plants native to the American Midwest, from Queen Anne’s lace and Black-Eyed Susan to Bull Thistle and others. High crossover appeal for botanists, folklorists, historians, naturalists, herbalists, and women concerned about continued access to birth control in conservative regions.
The cultural divide between urban and rural voters is likely to become a major campaign issue during the 2020 election. Numerous poems in Rue explore the frustrations and isolation the speaker experiences as a college educator and artist living in rural Missouri.