Read A Little White Shadow by Mary Ruefle Online


Selectively painting over much of a forgotten nineteenth-century book, Ruefle’s ninth publication brings new meaning to an old story. What remains visible is delicate poetry: artfully rendered, haunted by its former self, yet completely new. A high-quality replica of the original aged, delicate book in which Ruefle “erased” the text, this book will appeal to fans of poetrySelectively painting over much of a forgotten nineteenth-century book, Ruefle’s ninth publication brings new meaning to an old story. What remains visible is delicate poetry: artfully rendered, haunted by its former self, yet completely new. A high-quality replica of the original aged, delicate book in which Ruefle “erased” the text, this book will appeal to fans of poetry as well as visual art.Mary Ruefle is the author of Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures, a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism (Wave Books, 2012), and Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2010), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award. She has published ten other 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 include the publication of A Little White Shadow (Wave Books, 2006). 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....

Title : A Little White Shadow
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781933517032
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 56 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Little White Shadow Reviews

  • Ellie
    2019-05-24 20:51

    Beautiful and beautifully presented book of erasure poetry. A major work. Amazing that she found the words/phrases inside another text and made them her own. The book itself is also a work of art.

  • Lou Last
    2019-04-24 16:00

    very simply, "It's always noon with me.pale, anddeformed but very interesting,sorrows ofa little Quietist,*

  • Nate D
    2019-05-12 18:53

    As someone who has occupied myself carefully exacto-ing words out of old books until only a strange residue remains, I can immediately appreciate this weird little book, created from redacting content from a short preexisting story of the same name until only a dizzy, unfamiliar poetry remains, sometimes funny, sometimes wise, often surreal. Not sure if this actually qualifies as Oulipo, but I found it in the Proteus Gowans Oulipo bookstore, which is good enough for me. Right next to Nets, a similar book created by bolding scattered bits of Shakespearean sonnets.

  • Susan
    2019-05-24 16:43

    A beautiful little book of erasure poems. Ruefle is a master at this form. This book is pocket-sized and has the feel of an art book.

  • Sean A.
    2019-04-23 13:00

    The erasure lends to revisiting just as much if not more so, than a typical poetry text. Re-looked at this after reading an essay-poem of hers about her erasure technique. The words chosen and the technique itself are haunting. The shadow is like a ghost, but a shadow. The white is the white-out that removes much of the original text.

  • Evan
    2019-05-10 14:48


  • Deniss
    2019-05-20 13:50

    Buena idea. Poemas bonitos (¿poema?), aunque me gustaría leer otra cosa de la autora, algo más "ella" y menos... esto. No sabría cuántas estrellitas darle así que lo dejo en blanco.

  • Caleb
    2019-04-27 19:35

    at last standing beforetwo donkeysstopped and spoke with them.

  • Sylvia
    2019-05-03 14:03

    Mary Ruefle's little book is aptly named, or has an aptly borrowed title. I was enchanted at first by the size, the layout, the fact that each page looks as though it has been scanned right from the original, white out mess and all. Beyond the design however, I felt a little let down at first. Each poem was such a small snippet, almost a little forced into the text that was there, or forced into sounding too "pretty" with the options given. Also, I kept wanting the poems to continue from page to page, but each one felt very separate, making my first experience a little unnerving until I got used to it. Another thing I found dissatisfying? That I couldn't find any information about the original book that Ruefle covered over... However, the more I looked at the book and the more I read through it the more I came to terms with it, and began to enjoy Ruefle's style. Many of the pieces are beautiful snapshots, tiny frozen images that seem as though they are pulled out of and preserved from the larger text. At some points Ruefle even shows a nice sense of humor which is welcome in an object that seems to take itself rather seriously otherwise. The sparse distinct images create a lonely almost melancholic atmosphere, as though they are all that is left, faded and falling apart, in a photo album from all that ago. All in all I enjoyed the read and rereads, and the very idea of erasure and borrowing a text is an attractive one that I hadn't considered much until now. I know debate will rage on how much of her own work was put into simply whiting out another book, but for me it took creative energy to come up with the idea and to choose the appropriate words. This little book is elegant and intriguing.

  • Laura
    2019-05-20 16:33

    I love these. They are delicate. They are modest. They are like little treasures you find in other people's desk drawers, or the bits and pieces that collect on the edge of tidal pools.Timing is everything, of course. When I picked up this book, I had just finished reading The Children's Book (a novel of the Victorian era by A.S. Byatt), and wasn't ready to leave that world yet. The pamphlet Ruefle draws her "erasures" from - written by Emily Malbone Morgan - was published in 1889, so boom! I'm smack back in the wonder of the age.I love the whole idea of "erasures" - whittling away the bulk of an existing text until what's left is your own. It reminds me of wood-cut printing, where all the work we do is on the part we don't see, carving out the negative space. There are strange and beautiful possibilities lurking in the yellowed pages of public domain books. I love the spatial elements introduced into the poems by this process of erasure, so that which is whited out still has presence and weight.Here is a link to some of her erasures, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation: was my first introduction to Mary Ruefle's work. These poems are like an amuse-bouche - a perfect little bite to excite the taste buds. I will definitely seek out her other books.

  • Anne
    2019-04-29 18:49

    I'm assuming, since the original Little White Shadow was copyrighted in 1889, that Ruefle didn't run into any copyright issues with what she chose to do. Honestly, my first reaction to the book was one of visceral horror that someone would deface a book in that manner. Once I got over my shock, I began to admire the idea, and I think it's something I'd like to try myself (perhaps with an obnoxiously famous poem like "The Wasteland"). In order to make sense of the poem, I found myself copying out the non-whited out words, which made an interesting, if occasionally nonsensical, poetic text. There were some beautiful lines: "exhausted with the intensity of hope" and "autumn had no particular talents but genius" were among my favorites. All in all, an interesting and unique reading experience.

  • Kelsey Williams
    2019-04-25 20:03

    A Little White Shadow by Mary Ruefle A Little White Shadow by Mary Ruefle has to be the strangest book of poetry I have ever read. The book itself is rather small and when you open it up each page was filled with text, but looks to have white-out covering a majority of the words. This is extremely creative, it makes the few words left stand out and look very important. I believe many times poets use to many words, in my mind poems should be to the point and if you want the poem to be short there should be no extra fluff words, and although unordinary I think Ruefle is brilliant because any words that were not imperative to her poem she just whited-out leaving only the heart of the poem.

  • Alyson Hagy
    2019-05-06 16:37

    In the small realm of recent books that feature erasures, A LITTLE WHITE SHADOW is memorable for its design and delicacy. The production of Ruefle's redactions by Wave Books is nearly as lyrical as Ruefle's work with the strange and potent 19th century text. I was delighted by Ruefle's poetry--both its originality and the way her sculpted lines riff on and appropriate some of the Gothic conventions of the original novel. A LITTLE WHITE SHADOW (and the book truly is little) is a delight to hold, to leaf through, to read, re-read and share.

  • Hans
    2019-05-14 18:41

    Mary Ruefle creates a new work using the white shadow of Wite-Out to obscure text from a mostly-forgotten text, creating poems on each page. Though it took less than one BART commute for me to read, it is quite an incredible work that clearly took a lot longer to create. The printing shows the de-creation process including the white streaks with clear decisions and piecemeal selections on top of the color-aged pages. This was mentioned in an article from the January 2012 issue of The Believer--really glad that I was able to find a copy through inter-library loan!

  • Kassie King
    2019-05-24 13:36

    This is honestly one of the best pieces of poetry I have ever read. Its energy is completely original, its style is a mastery of artwork and literature itself. My professor at Truman State, Jamie D'Agostino assigned me this little piece of obliterature I did not expect it to change the way I perceive writing and reading as a conceptual task. Some of Reufle's lines strike me with increasing genius, but others flow with a simplistic grace. Everything fits so perfectly without fitting into any frame at all. This is one of the most special books I have on my shelf.

  • Elisabeth
    2019-04-23 18:45

    The five stars are for design, not so much Ruefle's content. Is that allowed on GoodReads? I love how the erasure retains the integrity of the original. I was able to get that original (only like two libraries in the states have it!) and read a very different story about nineteenth century Americans holidaying in Italy and a continuous fascination with the way shadows look (magnificently) different in a new country.

  • Philip
    2019-05-05 15:52

    Everything about this little erasure is delicious ��� from the design and attention put to the book as an object, down to the images Ruefle conveys...To say nothing about the fact that Ruefle has taken a helm as the poet I can't seem to get enough of right now. I find so much to love in this little artifact that was included in my Wave Books subscription box this year. Thanks to Rachel Welty and everyone at Wave Books for making my year!

  • Sienna
    2019-04-24 16:41

    A little jewel, exquisite and meditative. I wish Wave had published it in hardcover form, but suspect this would have made the price point prohibitive. As a tiny full-color paperback, it's still beautiful — and inspiring. Has anyone managed to read this without wanting to venture into the world of erasure poetry? I failed miserably and couldn't be happier about it.

  • Kim Lohse
    2019-05-14 12:35

    This book always sounds gimmicky to people when I explain "erasure", but it is the best example I have ever seen, It has some killer lines like, "autumn had no qualities, but genius". A great example for teachers trying to shake beginning poetry students out of the dribble they so often write.

  • Cooper Renner
    2019-05-14 12:39

    Clever whiting-out of most of the words on pages of a Victorian (1889) prose text to create very very short "poems". Quite enjoyable but rather expensive for what it is.

  • Tess
    2019-05-13 16:55

    I love this little book because Mary tells a lovely story with elegant syntax that isn't her own.

  • Amanda
    2019-05-08 16:02

    fascinating, artful, fun...

  • Natalee Caple
    2019-05-23 14:41

    Perfect little sweet treat of words.

  • Christie
    2019-05-24 12:36

    The book itself is art and inspires writers to find creativity in the pages of other books.

  • Devon Chodzin
    2019-05-18 21:02

    Please Read This

  • Lauren
    2019-05-13 15:03

    Someone requested this tiny book at the library and I couldn't resist flipping through it. It's found poetry where Ruefle used white out to cover most of the text. A couple of the pages really hit home. "my ignorance was a refining influence"

  • Laura J. W.
    2019-05-20 18:41

    A tiny book with words from an original text blotted out with white, leaving only a few words peeking through, windows (I also have enjoyed Tom Phillips A Humument for the same reasons as this one.) It's a book of poetry that is art too, being a visually oriented person who enjoys the tactile act of making things, reading and writing, then combining them in my own artwork and poetry, I have enjoyed my trip through this little book's spare wordscape, taking away wisdom and whimsy.

  • Ben Bonyhadi
    2019-05-15 15:41

    I was a little disappointed with Ruefle's work. She shows an eye for the humorous and the offbeat - an ability to take something out of context and in the decontextualization find or create a nugget of tongue-in-cheek beauty. Subtractive works like A Little White Shadow or A Humument have the potential to generate the surreal or the sublime; the difference between Tom Philips and Mary Ruefle's work is that Philips is not only aware, but wary of this potential. It seems like Ruefle is too often trying to squeeze something "poetic-sounding" out of the altered text, and while some snippets succeed ("the view from the window / stopped / and said, "Here I lie day after day and / and / the only things I possess which can travel, can go no farther,") they do so solely on the poetic merit of the text itself. What bothered me most though was the confusing sense of continuity: I was content to let each page stand on its own as a cute little quip, clever and discrete, but I kept feeling that Ruefle was trying to draw the phrases together somehow, to no avail. "It was my duty to keep / the / piano / filled with roses" is a delightful image, but it bears no relation to the preceding "the / dead. / borrow so little from / the past / as if they were alive." All in all, I think this book was a neat little exercise, but could probably have been done better.

  • Terresa
    2019-05-18 19:50

    In some circles Mary Ruefle is overrated. Give someone with any poetic sense an old book and some white out and it'd be possible to come up with something similar. Why do these poems continue to feel like a parlor trick, part awe, part gimmick? Half of the poems in this collection ring true and an odd/good/gut way. The others? Not so much. All the same, any poet today needs to have Ruefle on their radar; what will she think of next?

  • rr
    2019-04-29 14:35

    After I read this book, I passed it on to Chris--and his verdict was: "perhaps a little precious." It is a precious experiment in altered text; to its credit, it seems aware of its preciosity and doesn't strain its limits. Even physically it's a small, dear volume: 5 by 4 inches, under 50 pages, and carefully reproduced by Wave Books. And its cryptic, sibylline sentences, emerging from pages mostly whited-out, feel decidedly gem-like.