Dunce by Mary Ruefle Dunce by Mary Ruefle Dunce by Mary Ruefle Dunce by Mary Ruefle Dunce by Mary Ruefle Dunce by Mary Ruefle Dunce by Mary Ruefle Dunce by Mary Ruefle Dunce by Mary Ruefle

Dunce

By Mary Ruefle
Publication Date: Paperback: September 10, 2019

ISBN# 9781940696850 (6X8.25 120pp, trade hardcover)

  • In Dunce Mary Ruefle returns to the poetic practice that has always been at her core. With her startlingly fresh sensibility, she enraptures us in poem after poem by the intensity of her attention, with the imaginative flourishes of her being-in-the-world, always deep with mysteries, unexpected appearances, and abiding yearning.

  • Ruefle delivers a giddy, incisive ode to failure, fragility, and unknowing in her 12th book. “It may be our heads/ are filled with feathers/ from the stuff/ we don’t know,” she hazards, tiptoeing through one after another outlandish scenario sketched with uncanny delicacy. Many of these poems conceal sly fragments of lyric allusion or history: “I loved to wander, utterly alone”; “The fourteenth way of looking at/ a blackbird is mine.” Rhymes abound as though refusing resistance to such play, and a poem that opens in euphoria (“What a beautiful day for a wedding!”) ends, just a few lines later, in despair (“I hate my poems”). However, the poet reassures the reader that such states are kindred, even twinned. Ruefle celebrates the world’s imagination and mystery: “I want to thank my clothes for protecting my body. I want to/ fold them properly—I want/ the energy that flows from my hands/ to engulf the world./ Upon reflection, this is not/ possible. Upon reflection/ it is I who am pummeled by/ the world, that vast massage/ machine.” These poems grace the readers with wonder, wisdom, and whim “conducted/ without compromise,” securing Ruefle’s reputation among poets as the patron saint of childhood and the everyday.
    Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • Mary Ruefle is the author of many books, including Dunce (Wave Books, forthcoming 2019), 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.



Related Titles

A Little White Shadow - Mary Ruefle
A Little White Shadow
[Mary Ruefle]
Madness, Rack, and Honey - Mary Ruefle
Madness, Rack, and Honey
[Mary Ruefle]
My Private Property by Mary Ruefle
My Private Property
[Mary Ruefle]
Selected Poems
Selected Poems
[Mary Ruefle]
The Most of It - Mary Ruefle
The Most of It
[Mary Ruefle]
Trances of the Blast, Mary Ruefle
Trances of the Blast
[Mary Ruefle]