Author(s): Mary Ruefle
"Ruefle can seem like a supernally well-read person who has grown bored with what smartness looks like, and has grown attracted to the other side. . . . She is not writing with a prescription, or at least not one for this earth. Nor is she celebrating the commonplace. She is concentrating on one thing at a time."--New York Times "The property that Ruefle deems private is the impalpable nature of the inner life we all share; it is at once ours and everyone's. . . . Ruefle has shown a talent for elevating her acute observations and narrative inclination well above mere anecdote to create quietly disquieting moments--a literature of barbed ambiguity and unresolved disruption." --BookforumAuthor of Madness, Rack, and Honey and Trances of the Blast, Mary Ruefle continues to be one of the most dazzling poets in America. My Private Property, comprised of short prose pieces, is a brilliant and charming display of her humor, deep imagination, mindfulness, and play.Mary Ruefle is the author of many books, including Trances of the Blast; Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures, a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism; and Selected Poems, winner of the William Carlos Williams Award. 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.
What is a reader to do when confronted with a set of short, various prose pieces written by a poet who has reached the other side of cleverness and who approaches the inarticulateness beyond from the bank of her accomplishments rather than from that of incapacity? To the problems attendant upon the *facts* of her existence Ruefle applies questions that are inextinguishable by answers. Many of the pieces in My Private Property read almost as encyclopedia entries to the ordinary, cataloguing its wonders for some alien to whom the quotidian and the unusual have equal strangeness. This cleansing of the faculties of the grime of familiarity is the essence of the poetic mode. The subjective is left immediate/unmediated, revealing and affirming the value of individual experience and demonstrating the particular, however ordinary, as the haunt of meaning, the profundity of which is not limited by the fact that it does not extend beyond the confines of its domain. There is little of value to be had from a generalisation. In this set of exemplars in a science of the particular, the said subjectivity, isolated as a distillate, is poured by Ruefle into successive containers other than herself, with no loss of efficacy, and it is this transmigration of viewpoint that gives the pieces of My Private Property an exhilaration, a poignancy and a liberty that demonstrate poetry’s essentially astringent quality upon the impediments of identity that cloud our sympathies and shorten our perceptions.
Mary Ruefle is the author of Trances of the Blast (Wave Books, 2013), Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures, a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism (Wave Books, 2012), and Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2010), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award. She has published ten other 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 include the publication of 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.