When Mary Ruefle visited Sewanee to receive the 2017 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry at the beginning of March, we brought fellow-poet Michael Dickman in to give a lecture on her work. While we had him here, we asked him to talk about her poetry with an English class at Saint Andrews Sewanee, a private school (grades 6-12) near the University campus. Here he is in one of their classrooms, reading her poem “Proscenium Arch”:
Video courtesy of David Andrews
Ruefle has authored twelve books of poetry, including My Private Property (2016) and Trances from the Blast (2013), as well as two collections of prose, and other writings. She has received numerous other literary honors, including the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award, Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and a Whiting Award.
As Michael Klein summarized, writing for the Los Angeles Review of Books: “[Ruefle’s work] is best enjoyed simply as a sampling of moods and thoughts from the same intelligent, delving mind, the kind of pieces one reads for questions, not for answers.” Her book of lectures, Madness, Rack, and Honey, is considered required reading for young poets, practiced experts, and critics alike.
The Review will publish several new poems by Ruefle in the spring 2017 issue.