Mary Ruefle

Mary Ruefle

  • Mary Ruefle is the author of Trances of the Blast (Wave Books, 2013), Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures (Wave Books, 2012), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, and Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2010), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has published ten books of poetry, a book of prose (The Most of It, Wave Books, 2008), and a comic book, Go Home and Go to Bed!, (Pilot Books/Orange Table Comics, 2007); she is also an erasure artist, whose treatments of nineteenth century texts have been exhibited in museums and galleries, and published in A Little White Shadow (Wave Books, 2006). Ruefle is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Robert Creeley 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. She lives in Bennington, Vermont, and teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College.

    (Author photo by Matt Valentine)

  • Reviews

    Straightforward in form, comic and companionable in tone, blessed with the Martian gift of seeing the strange in the ordinary and vice-versa, Ruefle is one of those poets...more likely to be loved by readers than noted by critics and professors, in part, I think, because there’s simply less to say about poems fueled by ingenuousness and wit than there is to say about “projects”...
    —Joel Brouwer, Poetry

    It would not be call the speakers of Ruefle’s poems authorities, even when they’re muddled or uncertain, which they rarely are: Ruefle’s speakers muse in a very deliberate, declarative syntax in a lot of universalities, generalities, and absolutes, speaking often for all of us.
    —Adrien Blevins, Ploughshares

    What a civil, undomesticable, and heartening poet is Mary Ruefle: fond of experiment, but just as pleased to write of tilapia or county fairs; always novel, but never pandering to a mode; refusing neither the absurd nor the sublime. Any Ruefle poem is an occasion of resonant wit and language, subject to an exacting intelligence. For more than thirty years, she has freshened American poetry by humbly glorifying both the inner life and the outward experience.
    —Rodney Jones, Poetry Society of America

    [She is] a poet of visionary imagination, abiding sensitivity, and melancholy humor.
    Publishers Weekly

    Ruefle is clearly one of the best American poets writing, and her body of work is remarkable for its spiritual force, intelligence, stylistic virtuosity, and adventurousness.
    —Tony Hoagland, On the Seawall

    Ruefle is the Poet Laureate of the City of Ideas — surreal and lyrical and deeply moving at the same time.
    — Michael Klein, Los Angeles Review of Books

    Reviews of books by Mary Ruefle:

    Trances of the Blast

    Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures

    Selected Poems

    The Most of It

    A Little White Shadow

  • - Mary Ruefle’s website, featuring more of her erasure books
    - Visit our very own erasures site, where you can learn more about erasure books (like A Little White Shadow), and make your own erasures!
    - Read Mary Ruefle's erasure book Melody in its entirety at Gwarlingo 

    Poems & essays
    - “Mimosa” (on
    - “Literal” and “Broken Spoke” (in Boston Review)
    - “Open Letter to my Ancestors” (in The New Yorker)
    - “On Fear” (on The Poetry Foundation)
    - “Kangaroo Beach” (in Poetry Daily)
    - “The Art of Happiness” (in American Poetry Review)
    - Five poems (for The Essay Prize)
    - “The Great Loneliness” and “The Tragic Drama of Joy” (in Fence)
    - Excerpts from A Little White Shadow (on the Poetry Foundation)
    - Three poems (in Storyspace)
    - “Ballad” (in POOL)
    -  All poems by Mary Ruefle at Verse Daily

    - Bomb Magazine, with E.C. Belli
    - The Kenyon Review, with Andrew King
    - The Brooklyn Rail, with Tony Leuzzi

  • Audio

    - Mary Ruefle discusses Trances of the Blast on New Books in Poetry with John Ebersole 
    - In conversation with Alice Quinn at NYU
    - Ryan Van Winkle interviewed Mary Ruefle in her home for the Scottish Poetry Library podcast
    - Discussing her Selected Poems on KCRW's Bookworm with Michael Silverblatt
    - Discussing her book Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures on KCRW's Bookworm with Michael Silverblatt
    - Reading "Ancestors" from Selected Poems on the PBS Newshour’s Art Beat blog
    - “A Certain Swirl” and “Magnificat” (in The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor)
    - Reading for the Poem Present series

    Reading in the Lunch Poems Reading Series:

  • Wednesday JANUARY 14, 2015 3:30pm-5:00pm

    Mary Ruefle will teach a master class with Michael Bukard and Staceyann Chin.

    1252 Memorial Drive, 427 Ashe Administration Building, Coral Gables FL

    Thursday JANUARY 15, 2015 7:00pm

    Mary Ruefle will be reading with Michael Bukard and Staceyann Chin.

    CAS Gallery, 1210 Stanford Drive, Wesley Foundation Building, Coral Gables FL

    Thursday FEBRUARY 12, 2015 5:30pm

    Mary Ruefle, Wichita State University's distinguished poet in Spring 2015, will be reading from her work at the Ulrich Museum.

    Ulrich Museum of Art, 1845 Fairmount Street, Wichita KS

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