Mary Ruefle is the author of many books, including, most recently, The Book (September 2023) along with Dunce (Wave Books, 2019), which was a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize, longlisted for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, as well as a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. She is also 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 also published a comic book, Go Home and Go to Bed! (Pilot Books/Orange Table Comics, 2007), and is 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, where she serves as the state’s poet laureate.
Photo credit: Libby Lewis Photography
Ruefle’s lectures pleasantly bend your mind by sending you tripping along a path of philosophy, history, word play, sly jokes, blunt truths and beautifully crafted lies.
—Mike Andrelczyk, Lancaster Online
Straightforward in form, comic and companionable in tone, blessed with the Martian gift of seeing the strange in the ordinary and vice-versa...
—Joel Brouwer, Poetry
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
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.
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
They record small moments with sweeping scope, moments in which the speed of thought seems to outpace real time.
– Elisa Gabbert, The New York Times
Each poem radiates with the intensity of her attention and reveals the mysteriousness deep within daily life.
– Lisa Grgas, The Adroit Journal
Ruefle makes the impossible connect, and her connections seem comforting, and all-encompassing.
– Rob Mclennan
Her observant, humorous, tender, heartbreaking, atmospheric writing is the kind of writing to have in your backpack (just in case) at all times.
– Ben Niespodziany, neonpajamas
Reviews of books by Mary Ruefle
My Private Property
Trances of the Blast
Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures
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
- “Milk Shake” (in The Paris Review)
- Pieces by Ruefle in Harper’s
- "Grasshopper" in the May 2020 issue of (in Poetry)
- Pieces by Ruefle in Harper’s
- Poems and an Essay (in Granta)
- “Mimosa” (on Poets.org)
- “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)
- “Platonic” (in American Poetry Review)
- “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)
- Two poems (at Verse Daily)
- Five poems (in tender)
- from “Twenty-two Short Lectures” (in Bat City Review)
- The Paris Review, with Caitlin Youngquist
- Front Porch, with Katherine Stingley
- Divedapper, with Kaveh Akbar
- Bomb Magazine, with E.C. Belli
- The Kenyon Review, with Andrew King
- The Brooklyn Rail, with Tony Leuzzi
- The Adroit Journal, with Lisa Grgas
- neonpajamas, with Ben Niespodziany
- The New School, with Tina Chung
- Cultivating Patience w. Mary Ruefle: an episode of WMFA
- The Life of A Poet: Mary Ruefle, as part of The Library of Congress Webcasts collection
- 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 for the Poem Present series
- Reading from My Private Property and a conversation with Michael Silverblatt on Bookworm