Biography of Mary Ruefle
Though poet and essayist Mary Ruefle was born outside Pittsburgh, she spent her youth moving around the United States and Europe with her military family.
She has written numerous books of poetry, including Indeed I Was Pleased with the World (2007) and The Adamant (1989), which won the Iowa Poetry Prize. A Little White Shadow (2006), her book of erasures—found texts in which all but a few words have been erased from the page—reveals what Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, called “haiku-like minifables, sideways aphorisms, and hauntingly perplexing koans.” Ruefle’s free-verse poetry is at once funny and dark, domestic and wild. Reviewing Post Meridian (2000), critic Lisa Beskin of the Boston Review observed, “Like John Ashbery and James Tate, Mary Ruefle investigates the multiplicities and frailties of being with an associative inventiveness and a lightness of touch; the purposefulness of her enquiry never eclipses the remarkable beauty of her work.”
She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as a Whiting Writers’ Award, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry, Great American Prose Poems (2003), American Alphabets: 25 Contemporary Poets (2006), and The Next American Essay (2002). Ruefle has also published a collection of fiction, The Most of It (2008).
Ruefle received a BA in Literature from Bennington College. She has taught at Vermont College and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Vermont.
Mary Ruefle Poems
It was one of those mornings the earth seemed not to have had any rest at all, her face dour and unrefreshed, no particular place-- subway, park-- expressed sufficient interest in present circumstances
Ann Galbraith loves Barry Soyers. Please pray for Lucius Fenn
Beloved, men in thick green coats came crunching through the snow, the insignia on their shoulders of uncertain origin, a country I could not be sure of, a salute so terrifying I heard myself lying to avoid
The teacher asks a question. You know the answer, you suspect you are the only one in the classroom
Pink dandruff of some tree afloat on the swimming pool. What's that bird?
A bride and a groom sitting in an open buggy in the rain, holding hands but not looking at each other, waiting for the rain to stop, waiting for the marriage to begin, embarrassed
Mathew Brady Arranging the Bodies
On a mountain flat with snow a blue cloud paints a last touch of life. There's endless harm in trying
Last on Earth
It is said that many have been cured of madness by drinking of the spring in the orchard of this convent, but I doubt it, for it is a very pleasant place and a surfeit of pleasantries often leads directly to madness.
Four Anecdotes From the Life of Dang Yo-...
I He stood outside the gates of Lhasa for four days singing I fall upon the thorns of life, I bleed, but the berries are delicious if you remember to wash them.
The Bunny Gives Us a Lesson in Eternity
We are a sad people, without hats. The history of our nation is tragically benign. We like to watch the rabbits screwing in the graveyard.
The last time I saw father alive he was using a black umbrella, closed, to beat off some pigeons hanging outside the marble portals of a museum. We were visitors, walking very slowly, so father
My husband and I were arguing about a bench we wanted to buy and put in part of our backyard, a part which is actually a meadow of sorts, a half acre with tall grasses and weeds and the occasional wild flower because we do not mow it but leave it scrubby and unkempt.
The mountain skies were clear except for the umlaut of a cloud over the village.
The Wife of Mission Rock
Nothing curves at sea, and the men there die abruptly, in imitation of the fact, except
Pink dandruff of some tree
afloat on the swimming pool.
What's that bird?
I'm not from around here.
My mail will probably be forwarded
as quietly as this pink fluff
or a question or morphine
or impatience or a mistake
or the infinite method