Ursula Rucker, 2018 Pew Fellow. Photo by Sven Frenzel.
Ursula Rucker, She Said, 2011, album cover. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Mural of Ursula Rucker and “L.O.V.E.” poem. Photo courtesy of the artist.
“I stand for poetry as a source of profound truth. That truth, for me, is connected to the idea that cities are places that redeem our strivings and leave us longing; the ways family life shapes and shakes us, and brings us back; and the thought that artists safeguard stories and struggles.”
Ursula Rucker is an interdisciplinary poet, performer, and recording artist whose work reflects on personal history, family, and place. She characterizes her work as situated “along the edge of the terrains of poetry.” Rucker has released five albums and collaborated with a wide range of artists outside of the field of poetry, including The Roots, musicians and Pew Fellows Jamaaladeen Tacuma and King Britt, and, most recently, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Clarence Williams III. She has toured with her live performance memoir, My Father’s Daughter, which she describes as “90 minutes of self-truth and discovery.” In 2017, she collaborated with Nigerian sound and installation artist Emeka Ogboh to create Logan Squared: Ode to Philly, which featured an epic poem by Rucker that reflected Philadelphians’ voices and visions for the city. The work was presented as part of Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Center-supported, citywide Monument Lab exhibition. A Philly 360 Creative Ambassador and recipient of Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award, Rucker is the subject of the 2008 documentary Ursula Rucker: Poet, directed by Michael J. Dennis.