Read Selected Poems by Mary Ruefle Online


"Mary Ruefle is one of the brilliant American poets of our time. Her work combines the spiritual desperation of Dickinson with the rhetorical virtuosity of Wallace Stevens. The result is a poetry at once ornate and intense; linguistically marvelous, yes, but also as visceral as anything you are likely to encounter."—Tony Hoagland"In poems striking for their vivid, playful,"Mary Ruefle is one of the brilliant American poets of our time. Her work combines the spiritual desperation of Dickinson with the rhetorical virtuosity of Wallace Stevens. The result is a poetry at once ornate and intense; linguistically marvelous, yes, but also as visceral as anything you are likely to encounter."—Tony Hoagland"In poems striking for their vivid, playful, and original use of the imagination, [Mary Ruefle] brings us an often unnerving, but always fresh and exhilarating view of our common experience of the world."—Charles SimicSelected Poems brings together the finest work from Mary Ruefle's distinguished and inimitable poetic career, showcasing the arc of her development as one of the most expert, surprising, and hilarious practitioners of the art. Anyone who wishes for poetry to be both richly challenging and thoroughly entertaining need look no further than this monolithic retrospective by a contemporary master.Mary Ruefle, winner of the 2011 William Carlos Williams Award for Selected Poems, has published ten books of poetry, a book of prose (The Most of It, Wave Books, 2008), and a comic book; 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). Mary 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 : Selected Poems
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781933517452
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 176 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Selected Poems Reviews

  • Ravi
    2019-04-25 12:50

    Dear Library of Congress,Please make Mary Ruefle the next Poet Laureate.Yours,RaviAlso - How many DVDs can I take out at a time?

  • Jon Cone
    2019-05-23 14:33

    I carry this volume everywhere. It's become one of my favorite collections. Mary once wrote me: "Jon, this poem doesn't prepare me for my death." And I had to agree, the poem I sent her didn't do that, didn't even have that as a goal because it wasn't aware that poems could do so. But these poems, Mary's poems, they do that. This is a wonderful selection from a lifetime's fearless dedication to poetry.

  • Aran
    2019-05-18 12:46


  • Leanna
    2019-05-14 20:28

    Well, this was as stunning as people have told me. One of the most original and engaging poets writing today, as far as I'm concerned. Truly one of a kind (although if I tried to describe her through the lens of other poets, I would say she recalls both Wislawa Szymborska's occasionally gothic sense of humor, and Dean Young's mode of surprising juxtapositions).Lyrical, moving, sharp, weird--I have major love for this book.Favorite poems-- "The Beautiful is Negative," "Timberland," "Cul-de-sac," "Perpetually Attempting to Soar," "Tilapia" (how I love the last two lines: "I will ask for a lemon. This act, ounce for ounce, if executed / in perfect faith, will rip the cellophane off the world."), "Sentimental Education," "Concerning Essential Existence," "How I Became Impossible," "My Happiness," "Kiss of the Sun" (my fave in the book), and "After a Rain." Just looking at this list, it looks like my faves are scattered throughout her oevre, with her latest book "Indeed I was Pleased with the World" having a few more than the others. I should read that book in its entirety.

  • Dianna Caley
    2019-05-11 20:55

    I loved the first half of this book. The imagery was novel and vivid, the emotions intense. Each one had an interesting narrative view. But then I shut down about half way through. That happens to me a lot with poetry. I sometimes wonder if poetry like dessert isn't so rich that when you consume too much you lose your taste for it.

  • Melissa
    2019-05-20 17:40

    Yes yes yes! Mary is the madame of the poetic turn. Her turns and leaps are wild, yet somehow totally integrated.Thank you Mary and thank you Wave for hours of inspiration. I am going to read this beautiful book again & again

  • Yaddyra Peralta
    2019-05-15 15:30

    Finished and now I will read all over again.

  • Emily
    2019-05-14 13:35


  • Cole Hildebrand
    2019-05-01 18:36

    A wonderful collection of Mary Ruefle's poetry. Ruefle is a master of wit. She manages to be strangely, even absurdly funny as she communicates the existential insecurities of daily life. Her poems tackle the difficulties of self-expression and the uncertainty of happiness and subjective experience, among other concerns. All of her work here contains a unique, confiding, and baffling voice, which I found deeply engaging and oftentimes poignant. I really loved "Heaven on Earth," "How It Is," "The Wild Rose Bush," "Mercy," "The Feast," "Why I Am Not a Good Kisser," "Kiss of the Sun," "After a Rain," and "Lullaby," but there are so many other gems in here. Would recommend!

  • TheLongWait
    2019-04-28 20:31

    Interesting, but not really my favorite

  • M. Sarki
    2019-05-22 17:32 Gregg won the William Carlos Williams Award for Poetry in 2009. I am not aware of any other notable poet who has won this medal. But when I read all the glowing remarks about Selected Poems by Mary Ruefle, and I discovered that the collection also had won what I believed to be a coveted award, my interest in Ruefle became obsessive and a new study was on. My literary addiction cannot be helped. I am always searching for the next Jack Gilbert or Wallace Stevens, and even amenable to reading a poet similar to Raymond Carver’s lyrical prose, or the basically unknown and now-dead Casey Finch who would have been a great one had he lived. Add my listening to Mary Ruefle speak on two different podcasts over the past summer of 2016 and a robust interest was stimulated for reading all her work. Here I believed I had discovered perhaps another great poet to add to my small but withering collection. Unfortunately, however, her poems became an exacting bore on me, and her bland (and wrong) words crawled across and down the page and numbered too many. Being a teacher of writing she should know this better than anyone. There are better words available if she would only listen and gaze at their beautiful faces. But the straw that finally broke my back was one of her so-called award-winning poems titled The Cart found on page 51. It begins, The empty grocery cart is beginning to roll across the empty parking lot. It’s beginning to act like Marlon Brando might if no one were watching… And that was it for me. I would much rather spend what is left of my remaining life talking about bad fruit, or even our own dying on the vine, than to suffer through one more page of what, because of it, makes so many of us hate all poetry. It is wrong to heap praise on mediocrity.

  • T Fool
    2019-05-05 12:35

    These I read one per night over as many nights as there are poems. That's my absorption level. Even read "The Great Loneliness" to a financial adviser, since she and I were fretting about how long over a projected lifetime to stretch the numbers we saw rise like very modest hills on the screen.One can learn from these poems. They're not sentimental; indeed, the tumble of their imagery is a kind of wild ride suggesting surreal directions, but not (as 'surrealist' poetry often does) incoherently placing us to no arguable purpose in a new fantasy every five words.Going into and around these poems is part traversing a fun house, part listening for the murmur of 'another world', part re-orienting in the aftermath of an ambiguous dream. But their object isn't to baffle a reader. Once each poem completes, reality startles us.It's odd that, being schooled in poetry and being awake to 'the contemporary poetry world' actively for 30 years, I'd never been shown one of her works. Really much better than many poets who have sturdy followings and little but personal recollection or political program to offer.

  • Austin Williams
    2019-05-03 15:49

    "Nice Hands"I was born in a hospital. I stank.They washed me. Five years latermy brain was a lightbulb that flickered on and off,my soul was a milk bottle yearning to be full,my stomach, made of concrete, had a long wooden tablewhere six dressed kittens sat, holding up their bowls.No my stomach has the pizzazzz of a hundred colored bulbshanging by a wire over a cantina where someone in a white sheetis learning to pour wine on the altar.The cats have grown, scattered, multipliedin my brain where they fight over milk spiltfrom the bottle, described now as an odalisque,their cat hair standing on end.And my soul is the concrete roomwith an unstable card table where no one plays and nothing feeds,though when I die there's always the chancesomeone with nice hands will wash me.…Beautiful, riveting poems, flush with imagery, anguish, intensity and hope. Though not all of them are of the same wild quality, the most of them are stunning and spiritual and filled with the heart of the author.Reufle is a tremendous and beautiful talent, and I feel blessed to have encountered her poetry. Highly recommended.

  • Jeannine
    2019-05-07 18:39

    Reading through Mary Ruefle’s new Selected Poems, published by Wave Books and culled from her ten books of poetry, I notice two threads run through all the work: one is an element of light-handed humor, and the other is the echo of Biblical language and subject matter. References to artifice and art also reappear throughout her poems, signaling that Ruefle wants the reader to stay aware of context and linguistic maneuvers.Her language is simple and direct, even when the poem itself is not; one of the enjoyable paradoxes of reading Ruefle’s work is how easy it is to read, but how many possible meanings you can make. Though sometimes described as an experimental or “post-avant” poet, I have always found Ruefle’s work intelligently accessible, charming and reader-friendly. Her poems tend to absurdism – a poem titled “Barbarians” describes a field of lounging cows, while “My Happiness” follows a meandering porcupine.Read the rest of my review at The Rumpus here:

  • Susan
    2019-05-22 18:41

    I really like Ruefle, but she's quirky enough that I have to be in the mood. I know I'll return to this book from time to time. But I did find while reading it that a steady diet of her was not what I wanted.

  • Mandy E
    2019-05-23 17:36

    "Hands are unbearably beautiful/They hold on to things. They let things go."from "The Cart""After that you are free to pursue/the violent activity of happiness." from "Quick Note about the Think Source" Ruefle & Davis...Ruefle & Lockwood...

  • Jessica
    2019-05-23 12:42

    Mary Ruefle's poems make me want to write poetry. They are accessible, but still totally weird, and have caused me to observe and interact with the day to day a little bit more curiously. I am excited to keep interacting with these poems.

  • Ashley
    2019-05-17 20:35

    This was a gift from my brother for Christmas. I had never read any of Mary Ruefle's work, but I absolutely fell in love with her through this. It's an absolutely gorgeous collection. I'll definitely be checking out her other books!

  • Sarah
    2019-05-09 16:42

    I read three thousand books, / and then I died.Bottom line: Mary Ruefle is our Emily Dickinson.

  • Moira
    2019-04-27 12:33

    Mary Ruefle has an amazing, imaginative mind. My favorites are "Kiss of the Sun" and "Why I Am Not a Good Kisser".

  • Michael Klein
    2019-05-12 20:44

    Best book I've read all year....

  • Jeremy Allan
    2019-05-20 12:54

    Have a chat with Mary Ruefle. I mean read her book. The conversation is going to be odd. But that will be pleasant, and alienating in an agreeable way. Do it again.

  • Cheryl
    2019-05-04 14:30

    Beautiful, odd little poems that require meditation-like attention. The juxtaposition of strange and wonderful images is refreshing.

  • Steven
    2019-05-08 12:55

    You are never really done with a book, esp. of poetry...genuine moments of greatness...

  • Taube
    2019-05-21 19:51

    "I read three thousand books, / and then I died."Absolutely brilliant. My head aches from the vertiginous wonder of these poems.

  • Y.Z.
    2019-05-21 12:35

    Hit or miss for me -- but oh (five) stars, the hits! Perfection is interesting, is it not? Satisfaction more so.Favourites: "Out of a Hundred," "Glory," and "Lullaby."Thanks, Amanda!

  • M.
    2019-05-05 17:38

    Ruefle is a phenomenal writer. That's really all there is to say. Read this book.

  • Andy Oram
    2019-05-06 15:26

    The phrases flow in a stream-of-consciousness manner in these poems, giving the impression that they are coming to a point and always veering off into something unrelated. While the language can be very beautiful and sometimes engrossing ("We lean against the sky"), I have to admit I found it tedious to try following the thoughts of the author. Sometimes it felt as if each sentence could stand alone as its own poem. And sometimes the incongruities of juxtaposing unrelated thoughts became humorous--intentionally, I'm sure. I rate the book fairly highly because of some poems that escape that fragmentation, such as "Furthermore," which I interpolate from other poems to be an epitaph to the author's mother, and "The Great Loneliness."

  • S.D. Johnson
    2019-05-12 14:48

    I always add contemporary poetry and finish on the same day not because I actually read it in the same day, but because there are some books I read which I really don't want the author to know what I think and sometimes it's a tossup. Mary Ruefle is not one of those people. This selected shows us the development of a fascinating poet. Here and there, post-postmodern deadzones where I am neither held by language or the thought of it, but mostly I am very engaged by the poems, and sometimes startled by their beauty.