By Mary Ruefle
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
ISBN# 9781940696386 (5.25x7.75 128pp, trade hardcover)
Author of Madness, Rack, and Honey (“One of the wisest books I’ve read in years,” 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.
The property that Ruefle deems private is the impalpable nature of the inner life we all share; it is at once ours and everyone’s…Ruefle has shown a talent for elevating her acute observations and narrative inclination well above mere anecdote to create quietly disquieting moments—a literature of barbed ambiguity and unresolved disruption.
Albert Mobilio, Book Forum
[R]eading her collection My Private Property, I’m struck by the conversational quality of this new work, by its anthropological spirit, and by its stubborn emphasis on the facts as Ruefle has found them...
Lorin Stein, The Paris Review
I might say us dreamers have gotten ahold of the essay form. I might speak about how Mary Ruefle’s prose explores the varied experience of singular feeling, feelings within feeling, braiding feelings, feeling slipping into other feelings, feelings inflecting feeling, feeling chasing feeling. […] I might talk about how Mary Ruefle’s prose makes you laugh aloud, and, in the same beat, breaks your heart.
Jay Ponteri, Essay Daily
Mary Ruefle is, in this humble bookseller’s opinion, the best prose-writing poet in America. (And one of our best poets, too.) My Private Property, her latest collection of stories, essays, and asides, is as joyous and singular a book as you’ll read...
Stephen Sparks, Literary Hub
The writing recalls fables, in that contained narratives and simple premises turn to reveal something of the human predicament. But far from offering moral instruction, Ruefle tunes into an unsettling and enlivening strangeness….Playing through distinct notes of knowing and unknowing, Ruefle’s writing strikes a chord that resonates in psychic and social realms.
In My Private Property, all of life can be mined for meaning — the pieces concern themselves with the small and the large without making value distinctions between the two. Ruefle deals as frequently with mundane matters — a Christmas tree, feeding a finch, crumbs on a kitchen counter — as with those capital-letter concepts: God, Love, Death, Time, Memory. Any of these “other things” can undergo some transubstantiation and become poetry.
Stephanie Pushaw, Los Angeles Review of Books
Mary Ruefle's careful, measured sentences sound as if they were written by a thousand-year-old person who is still genuinely curious about the world… [She] combine[s] imagistic techniques from surrealism with narrative techniques to create surprising, high-velocity, and deeply affecting work. This aesthetic has spawned many imitators and variations, but her style is unmistakable.
Rich Smith, The Stranger
How does she create a tone at once distanced and intimate? Straightforward and offbeat? Mary Ruefle’s mind is on display here in all its quirky richness. If you don’t know her erasure books, her essays, or her earlier books of more conventionally lineated poetry, starting with My Private Property will give you the essential flavor of her work.
Meryl Natchez, Zyzzyva
This collection demonstrates Ruefle’s superb ability to manipulate and handle her chosen subject matter with the greatest of ease. These are words of flesh and cloud coming to life as a surrealist’s song. Ruefle has tamed the lion of language.
Sonja James, The Journal
In this volume, she continues to do what she does best: take a microscopic look at the human condition and try to make some sense of it… Ruefle is perceptive and reflective, silly and laugh-out-loud funny. She is like a saint of language and her collections are like prayer books. I remember her pieces better than any of the sumo-sized novels I’ve read in the past year, and, like prayer books, I return to them again and again for nourishment.
Rachel Hurn, Music & Literature
Mary Ruefle is the author of My Private Property (Wave Books, 2016), 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.
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