The Orgy

Orgy cover scan.jpeg
Orgy cover scan.jpeg

The Orgy

14.95

By Muriel Rukeyser

Preface by Sharon Olds

Originally published in 1965.

Creative Non-Fiction

6 x 9, 160 pp
Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9638183-2-4

Also by Muriel Rukeyser: Houdini: A Musical, The Life of Poetry

Quantity:
Add To Cart

Those who have traveled know the experience of extended time and sharpened perception. Muriel Rukeyser's account of Puck Fair — the last existing pagan festival of the goat — captures just that state of consciousness. Set in County Kerry, Ireland, The Orgy evokes this great American poet's journey of sensual and psychological transformation in the midst of a lush account of Irish culture and tradition. 

Comments & Reviews

"The Orgy is… a prayer about how to shape one's life. It is about blood lines and sympathy lines, about war and sexual war, about peace and the sexual dance… It is a message in a bottle — a brilliant packet of messages in a far-traveled bottle." Sharon Olds, from the preface to The Orgy

"In The Orgy Muriel Rukeyser shows a woman arriving at a place and time where the truths and lies of her life are open to revelation. In this sensual documentary, this filmic, acutely observed narrative, unfolding over three days, the reader, like the poet, is swept from observer into participant in 'a whole new world.'" Adrienne Rich

"The Orgy has… enlarged the meaning of 'luminous.'" — The American Scholar

"An extraordinary experience. The book is a jewel and a flame." Hiram Haydn

"Brilliant… full of vivid language and people half embarrassed, half excited, swept up in a mixture of Guinness and the sheer glamour of a ritual which has come from wilder, pre-Christian times." — The Observer

"A true delight." Kay Boyle

"Beauty and power and imagination…." Joseph Heller

"Ecstatic." — St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“As Hemingway went to Pamplona, so Muriel Rukeyser goes to Kerry, where the goat is crowned king at Puck Fair in a three-day festival surviving from the Old Religion. Ostensibly pagan and orgiastic, the celebration nevertheless raises the deepest questions. As Miss Rukeyser's narrator, a woman writer, falls in with a group of people including Nicholas, an analyst, and his artist wife Liadian, the events whirling about them have their effect. Seen mostly drinking or in transit, they speak of philosophy, send out tentacles to one another as relationships waver and change in the seductive ambiance. The narrator writes to her son of the festival: "‘Mixed—in a tragic penetrating beauty, music and filth, cattle and drunkenness, the gypsies and the goat and the marvelous...’" An elusive, elevated entertainment.”  Kirkus Reviews