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Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures Paperback – August 14, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mary Ruefle is the author of Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures, a finalist for the 2012 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, and teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wave Books; First Edition edition (August 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933517573
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933517575
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mary Ruefle is the author of Trances of the Blast (Wave Books, 2013), Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures (Wave Books, 2012), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2010), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has published ten 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 published in 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, and teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Reader in Virginia on August 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Madness, Rack and Honey is one of the most important books of contemporary poetic theory I've come across in many years, totally non-academic and written from the point-of-view of a practitioner and innovator of the craft, emphasizing the real over the ideal, the rock-hard detail over the abstract concept. To see Ruefle's mind at work, finding correspondences between seemingly incompatible topics, is a wonder, and her voice rings with clarity and tinkles with offbeat humor. Compare these lithe lectures to Louise Gluck's stodgy prose theorizing, also useful in its way, but not half as much fun and ultimately cold-hearted and academic.

The edition by Wave Books is comfortable to read, on sturdy paper and with nice wide margins for making notes.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Thrace on December 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book of essays by Ruefle is brilliant---intelligent, deeply humorous,and warmly vulnerable. Every 20 minutes as I am reading Ruefle I shout out to the universe,"I love this woman." I hope new readers will seek her out. She is a gift.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Peter F. Rousmaniere on February 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
After reading over many years many books and article on the craft of poetry, this is the very first time I have read an examination of poetry that feels truly alive. One good measure of a book on poetry is if having finished it you find your reading of poetry is immediately made the richer. In my case, I picked up the recent issue of Poetry and a book by Ted Hughes, and felt that I had entered a magnified, vibrating world.

I am tempted to imagine that I did not, in fact, read Ruefle's book as much as meet her for coffee over several hours. What she calls lectures felt to me like conversation-like essays, some to the notes or journal entries. I suspect there are a few but I can't recall a single instance in which she analyzes a line of poetry; her approach has not a whiff of the academic and is deeply ambitious. She quotes Pound saying that people speak only one sentence in their lives. Her approach, in effect, is to comment, often amusingly, on selective passages of her own sentence, starting at age five, and those of others such as Emily Dickinson and Anne Frank.

Her comments include: "I believe that all poetry, poetry from all periods and all cultures, has only one theme, of mutability".... "I do not really see, at this point in my life, any difference between repression and expression."
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
Mary Reufle's world is a world of poetry. This book is rich with her reading and experience of Poetry. She has read and reread a wide variety of poets including those who among the anthologized classics and the contemporary less known. She makes it clear that this absorption in the world of poetry began with her very early. She tells many stories of interest about the life work and thought of a wide variety of poets. She does touch and give examples of her own poetry but the real center of the work is her experiencing of the Poetry of others..There is not I believe an attempt to provide some overall Theory of Poetry but rather an appreciation of many different kinds of Poetry and poets.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By julio sansores on January 16, 2014
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just amazing all the way, short lectures make it easy to put the book down and come back to it later...
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This is an astonishing book--warm, witty, humane and always surprising. Mary Ruefle is clearly one of the best read people on the planet and has thought deeply about the things she's read, but she is completely uninterested in mastery and authority. Wending gently through the related topics of fear, sentiment, love, memory, creativity, death and always, the pressing need to communicate to other human beings and oneself, in spite of their origin these essays never lecture or proscribe, but tease and baffle us into new thought and feeling. They are full of a fresh, delightful strangeness and a I wanted to walk around reading them out loud to people I met on the street. I feel lucky to own this book and know I will return to it again and again.
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By Carolyn on September 29, 2014
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Mary Ruefle's lectures are so interesting as I would expect from a creative writing professor. So glad I purchased this book.
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By Weipeng Sun on February 24, 2015
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Well some concepts are kinda ill-defined but really worth to read.
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