Mary Ruefle is the author of the forthcoming book 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 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)
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 inaccurate...to 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