My Private Property

Poet, professor, critic and prose stylist Mary Ruefle has been a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award and won Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, as well as a Whiting Award. Her work, however, has largely appeared in the sheltered world of small presses and in her celebrated erasures, poems created by altering a published text. The exquisite collection My Private Property showcases her eclectic tastes and wry observations in a surprising array of prose poems.

It opens with "Little Golf Pencil," about making a simple police statement, which leads into her elaboration that "in the beginning you understand the world but not yourself, and when you finally understand yourself you no longer understand the world." In the powerful "Pause," Ruefle tackles menopause, recognizing the harsh realization that "You will feel as if your life is over and you will be absolutely right about that, it is over"--only to learn in time about the freedom of a new beginning, where "Happy old age is coming on bare feet, bringing with it grace and gentle words, and ways that grim youth has never known." The title poem is a dip into the mysteries of shrunken heads, triggered by reading Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki. Christmas trees, a trip out to lunch with friends, keys, household servitude, mail-order packages--there is no subject that doesn't attract Ruefle's attention and lead her into a lively discursion. My Private Property has a provocative revelation hiding around every twist of her remarkable imagination. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Powered by: Xtenit