May 28th, 2012 | University

Remembering Marina Keegan ’12

Late Saturday night, we learned that Marina Keegan ’12 had died in a car crash on Cape Cod. The death of a classmate is always difficult to accept; in Marina’s case, we have lost a talented writer whose words have already inspired a generation of Yalies to think long and hard about just what they’re doing with their Ivy League education.

As we have seen too often in recent years, Yalies tend to come together when a student dies. We hold vigils in college courtyards and trek to the master’s house, looking for comfort or companionship. But Marina’s death comes at a time when the members of the class of 2012 have separated for the foreseeable future, and underclassmen have scattered for the summer. There is no physical space for us to mourn this loss. What we do have is virtual space.

To honor Marina’s life, we are asking students to share memories of her with the News — funny stories, lasting impressions, lessons from a woman gone so young. We will edit only for grammar, and publish these memories to our blog in the coming week. We will not accept anonymous submissions. To submit a memory of Marina, email it to We will accept submissions through Friday.

  • debmargolin

    Marina Keegan and Death are two incompatible concepts for me. It is a parallax vast and unbridgeable. This was a young woman of outrageous intellect, probity, humor, hope. Her brilliance had a restive and relentless quality. She was all legs, all brains. She loved language. Her mindset was richly taut and profoundly casual at once. I never met anyone who combined those two contradictory qualities so completely. She came to class ready to work in my playwriting seminars. Her scenes were read and everyone sat up straighter. Ideas that seemed parallel became perpendicular. There’s no group critique in my classes, only inquiry and reflection; this drove Marina crazy: as if she knew she had little time, she wanted strong criticism; considered it the scaffolding around an edifice under construction. Marina, a celiac like me, brought gluten-free cake to class, made by her beautiful mother Tracy; Marina never brought a knife, and we all shared this cake, pulling pieces from it with our hands. I knew Marina was Harold Bloom’s research assistant, and I asked her to take me to his house so I could argue with him about HAMLET. She brought me over there, got me a cup of tea, and sat across from me while Professor Bloom talked, sending me hysterically funny text messages about my failure to get this man to talk about the play. When Kaleidoscope, the play designed to welcome incoming freshman to the diverse discourse of the Yale community, was being worked on, Marina’s presence was lightening and alembic. She insisted on acknowledging racism, understanding instinctively that we cannot transcend what we will not acknowledge; it was bold and brave, as was everything Marina undertook. This kid was on to something. This child was going to make a difference, and did. This child insisted on herself by way of insisting on hope, on possibility, on beauty, on dirt, on the very nature of personal responsibility. She argued with herself about the value of art in the face of atrocity, and wrote beautiful plays that argued back. She looked at the world we’ve given her, the humbled, ravishing wreck of it and thought: How can I best help? On graduation day, for some reason, I decided to process with Saybrook, where I am a fellow. I heard a voice calling my name, and there was Marina, who ran into my arms. Her long hair was wet from rain. I held my cap on with one hand, and the other arm I wrapped around her, and told her I love her. I remember kissing her cheek, and the wet hair against my face, and the fierce warmth of that brief embrace.

    I have a sign-in book that students must fill out whenever I’m teaching a class, and the categories include some demented category like Something Everyone Seems to Understand But You Don’t, or whatever. In the last entry I have from beautiful Marina, this category was:

    Everything That Ever Happened To You In Your Whole Life

    Marina wrote:

    Read a lot and met great people. Was very lucky.

    The word LUCKY was underlined.

  • mcat001

    My condolances to Marina’s family. This sounds strange to me to say because, my name is Marina too. That is why her story caught my eye. It isn’t a name one hears every day. She sounds like a wonderful person and the world must be worse for her absence. RIP Marina, xo Marina C.

  • terryhughes

    I did not know her, but my heart goes out to all of Marina’s family and friends, including Michael Gocksch, whose long, very lonely nightmare is just beginning where there ought to have been a bright path of life. It is disturbing to me that his pain and future personal tragedy is mentioned in none of these articles, comments and eulogies. The earth and our hearts belong to the living, and especially to those left behind who are more easilly forgotten, or worse.

  • mkgyrl

    the article caught my eyes and i decided i had to read it… then I say I have to Marina article.. I was so impress, I decide I have to let my two teenage girls that are going into the 9th grade read what she wrote. I know it will help them as they go through the next four years of their life. Thank you and my prayers and thoughts go out to her family.

  • Dreamless242

    Rest in Peace, Marina. We will miss you. From Germany.

  • sanberd

    What a beautiful person, God always takes the best. He needs her to write articles in heaven.

  • sandrayounkin

    Such a beautiful young person to be taken to heaven so early in life. God surely needed another angel. I heard of Marina on the ABC Nightly News She was their person of the week. I think she should be person of the year. I knew I wanted to know more about Marina. Every student should have the opportunity to read all of her articles, and especially “The Opposite of Lonliness” Copies of this should be handed out to each college bound student. This is Marinas legacy. Rest In Peace dear child. Love and Prayers for her family and Loved ones.

  • Dave84

    This may sound a little strange, however, I was wondering if someone would be able to help me with this. I believe I have found a postcard from Marina. I don’t know if it’s actually the same Marina Keegan, but the more and more I look into it, the more likely it seems that itwas written by her. I’m currently travelling and am in Paris. I found the post card in a book I bought from Shakespeare and Co., a used bookstore in Paris. The book was The Poems – John Keats. I tried to find an address that I could mail it to, but all that’s on the post card is a small message and her name. I was wondering if anyone could confirm that she was in Paris or that it is possible that it’s from this Marina, or just a random happenstance. I read her article when it first came out and was touched by her words, I just wanted to get the postcard sent to whoever it was meant for. Also, I read some of the previous posts when I was trying to figure out if it was the same girl I had read about before and for whoever commented that she was a great writer, but a terrible speller, in the message she wrote ‘times’ as ‘timse’. Maybe this post goes unnoticed, but I thought I’d at least try to get the postcard to where it was meant to be.