Orange Alert

Poet Mary Ruefle to Present in Carver Reading Series

Writer Stresses Lyrical Mystery of Poetry

Oct. 13, 2014, by Renée K. Gadoua

Mary Ruefle
Mary Ruefle

The poet and essayist Mary Ruefle will participate in Syracuse University’s Fall 2014 Raymond Carver Reading Series with a reading Wednesday, October 22, at Gifford Auditorium, in Huntington Beard Crouse Hall. A question-and-answer session is from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m., followed by the reading.

The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in Syracuse University’s paid lots.

The New York Times Book Review praised Ruefle’s “Madness, Rack and Honey” (Wave Books, 2012), a collection of her lectures about poetry. “Ruefle’s mission is not to — yawn — remind everybody how precious poetry is,” the review says, “Rather, it’s to give pleasure by showing how the mind works when it’s working most pleasurably.”

The book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism.

“The origins of poetry,” Ruefle writes in one essay, “are clearly rooted in obscurity, in secretiveness, in incantation, in spells that must at once invoke and protect, tell the secret and keep it.”

That sentence successfully articulates “the weird magic of poetry,” The Kenyon Review wrote.  “She acknowledges and celebrates in the odd mystery and mysticism of the act — the fact that poetry must both guard and reveal, hint at and pull back,” the review says. Her work reveals “a level of seriousness-as-play that’s vital and welcome, that doesn’t make writing poetry sound anything but wild, strange, life-enlargening fun,” it adds.

Her most recent poetry collection, Trances of the Blast (Wave Books, 2013), is her 11th.  It “continues Ruefle’s career-long investigation” of “the nature of lyric itself,” wrote The Boston Review.  “Moving from eavesdropped phrase to parable to domestic topography to quotation and back, she continually shifts the epistemological terrain beneath our feet,” the review said. “Her shifts are swift,” the review adds. “She pauses on an object only to undercut our expectation.”

Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2010) won the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her 1989 “The Adamant” (University of Iowa) won the Iowa Poetry Prize. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Ruefle is the Dopulos-Larsen Distinguished Poet.

Fall 2014 Series Schedule

The series will continue with the following authors. Further information is available by calling 315-443-2174

Wednesday, November 5: Daisy Fried, a poet whose “Women's Poetry: Poems and Advice” (University of Pittsburgh, 2013) Library Journal named one of the five best poetry books of 2013. 

Wednesday, December 3: The novelist Ruth Ozeki, a novelist whose most recent work, “A Tale for the Time-Being” (Viking/Canongate, 2013), was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. 


Media Contact

Sarah Scalese