S Holladay, November 4, 2014 (view all comments by S Holladay)
I love non-fiction written by poets. This book is a collection of essays, written by the poet Mary Ruefle to be read by the lecturer Mary Ruefle. I bought this book at the same time that I had the chance to hear Mary Ruefle read and so I hear her reading the lectures when I read them. It's like she's there standing at a tiny podium in the crease of the book. If you're looking for a muse, this author will help you find one. Check her out.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Profound, unpredictable, charming, and outright funny, this collection of unconventional prose about poetry might secure an audience far larger than the one that already exists for Ruefle's own poems. Known for her post-Surrealist lyric and for erasures, Ruefle (The Most of It) began to write prose under protest when her teaching program required lectures. Those protests survive in the lectures' inventive forms: they stop short, ramble, tell jokes, bring in sad moments from the author's own history of reading and rereading, and end up with seriously useful advice for writers, strange and memorable claims about poems and poetry. One lecture asks why poetry seems less like the sun than the moon; another chapter insists that 'Poets are dead people talking about being alive.' A lecture on Emily Dickinson brings new light to that poet by juxtaposing her with Emily BrontÃ«, and both women with Anne Frank. These informal talks have far more staying power and verve than most of their kind. Readers may come away dazzled, as well as amused, feeling (as Ruefle says about her bookish childhood) that 'this was the secret labyrinth of reading, and there was a secret tunnel connecting it to my life.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Cultural criticism meets poetry memoir—a contemporary master reflects on a life dedicated to poetry.
Literary Nonfiction. Poetry History and Criticism. Over the course of 15 years, award-winning poet Mary Ruefle delivered a lecture every six months to a group of poetry graduate students. Collected here for the first time, these lectures articulate the wisdom accrued through a life dedicated entirely to poetry. Intellectually virtuosic, instructive and experiential, MADNESS, RACK, AND HONEY resists definition, demanding instead an utter—and utterly pleasurable—immersion.
For every time I read a poem I am willing to die...
"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
"For more than thirty years, she has freshened American poetry by humbly glorifying both the inner life and the outward experience."—William Carlos Williams Award citation
Over the course of fifteen years, Mary Ruefle delivered a lecture every six months to a group of poetry graduate students. Collected here for the first time, these lectures include "Poetry and the Moon," "Someone Reading A Book Is A Sign Of Order In The World," and "Lectures I Will Never Give." Intellectually virtuosic, instructive, and experiential, Madness, Rack, and Honey resists definition, demanding instead an utter—and utterly pleasurable—immersion.
Mary Ruefle has published more than a dozen books of poetry, prose, and erasures. She lives in Vermont.
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