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 1884-1933The 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.

Dear Friend of Roosevelt House:

Thank you for attending our public programs in such great numbers during these fraught eight months of lockdown and social distancing. Since March, when the pandemic first struck New York and the house closed its doors, we have welcomed more than 10,000 attendees to Roosevelt House Zoom events. Our priority has been, and remains, assembling the best thinkers and authors we can bring before you, in both new and encore programming, to help us both to remember past crises and challenges, and navigate the challenges of the current crisis. Even though we very much miss welcoming you to Roosevelt House in person, we pledge to you that, as long as we must, we will continue featuring opportunities for civic engagement online.

To fulfill these goals we look to you, more than ever, for your crucially needed financial support. We ask that you help us navigate these unprecedented times—and opportunities—by contributing to Roosevelt House so that our programming can continue robustly.


Many thanks—and thank you, as always, for your loyalty and generosity.

For information on all upcoming Hunter@Home events and to watch past events, visit

Eleanor: Poems | Posted on February 19th, 2021 | Book Discussions, Public Programs