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Cultural criticism meets poetry memoir—a contemporary master reflects on a life dedicated to poetry.
Cultural criticism meets poetry memoir--a contemporary master reflects on a life dedicated to poetry.
From religion to poetry to museum exhibitions, an inquiry into imagination's manifestations by acclaimed poet Mary Ruefle.
Author of Madness, Rack, and Honey ("One of the wisest books I've read in years," according to the New York Times) and Trances of the Blast, Mary Ruefle continues to be one of the most dazzling poets in America. My Private Property, comprised of short prose pieces, is a brilliant and charming display of her humor, deep imagination, mindfulness, and play in a finely crafted edition. Personalia When I was young, a fortune-teller told me that an old woman who wanted to die had accidentally become lodged in my body. Slowly, over time, and taking great care in following esoteric instructions, including lavender baths and the ritual burial of keys in the backyard, I rid myself of her presence. Now I am an old woman who wants to die and lodged inside me is a young woman dying to live; I work on her. Mary Ruefle is the author of Trances of the Blast; Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures, a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism; and Selected Poems, winner of the William Carlos Williams Award. She has published ten other books of poetry, a book of prose (The Most of It), and a comic book, Go Home and Go to Bed!; she is also an erasure artist whose treatments of nineteenth-century texts have been exhibited in museums and galleries as well as published in the book A Little White Shadow. Ruefle is the recipient of numerous honors, including an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Whiting Award. She lives in Bennington, Vermont and teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College.
"One of the wisest books I've read in years, and it would be a shame to think that only poets will read it."—David Kirby, The New York Times Book Review, on Madness, Rack, and Honey "What a civil, undomesticable, and heartening poet is Mary Ruefle . . . any Ruefle poem is an occasion of resonant wit and language, subject to an exacting intelligence."—Rodney Jones, Poetry Society of America, William Carlos Williams Award citation Trances of the Blast is a major new collection from recent National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Mary Ruefle. Full of Ruefle's particular wisdom and wit, the poems deliver her imaginative take on the world's rifts—its paradoxes, failures, and loss—and help us better appreciate its redeeming strangeness. If only I'd understood that loneliness was just loneliness, only loneliness and nothing more. But I was blind. Little did I know. If only I'd invented salt. I might have died happy. I wish I loved you, but you can't have everything. Mary Ruefle is the author of many books of prose, poetry, and erasures. She is the recipient of the William Carlos Williams Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Whiting Award. Her book of lectures, Madness, Rack, and Honey, was named a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award. She lives and teaches in Vermont.
“[Mary] Ruefle . . . brings us an often unnerving, but always fresh and exhilarating view of our common experience of the world.”—Charles Simic Fans of Lydia Davis and Miranda July will delight in this short prose from a beloved and cutting-edge poet. Here are thirty stories that deliver the soft touch and the sucker punch with stunning aplomb. Ducks, physicists, detectives, and The New York Times all make appearances. From “The Dart and the Drill”: I do not believe that when my brother pierced my skull with a succession of darts thrown from across our paneled rec room on the night of November 18th in my sixth year on earth, he was trying to transcend the notions of time and space as contained and protected by the human skull. But who can fathom the complexities of the human brain? Ten years later—this would have been in 1967—the New York Times reported a twenty-four year old man, who held an honor degree in law, died in the process of using a dentist’s drill on his own skull, positioned an inch above his right ear, in an attempt to prove that time and space could be conquered . . . Mary Ruefle’s poems and prose have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The Best American Poetry, and The Next American Essay. Her many awards include NEA and Guggenheim fellowships. She is a frequent visiting professor at the University of Iowa, and she lives and teaches in Vermont.
An exquisite art book of gentle and elegant found poetry.

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