Expertly and sensitively selected by her granddaughter Bianca, The Essential Ruth Stone bears witness to a vivid fifty-year career of one of America’s most influential and pioneering poets. Distilling twelve books into a single volume―from the wild formalism of her early work to the science-filled cosmic intellect of her final collection―The Essential Ruth Stone shows a visionary poet with a physical grasp on language. Dazzling, humorous and grief-stricken poems explore the continuity of loss and love, in the spectral appearances of the dead husband, to portraits of an American childhood, life during wartime, and complex metaphysical inquiries into consciousness itself. Ruth Stone’s feminism, mysticism and overall fierceness shine through her wit and passion. Moving gracefully between the loneliness of grief and loss to the fullness of life and love, Stone approaches all her subjects with a profound humanity, an understanding born from her own lived experiences.
Listen to Bianca Stone read Ruth Stone’s poem “Pokeberries” from The Essential Ruth Stone:
“[A] breathtaking distillation that draws from 10 collections and a nearly 60-year career, readers can see the literary evolution of the two-time Guggenheim Fellow and winner of the National Book Award in a new light… Throughout, Stone transforms sorrow into something layered and full of life. This stands as witness to the inner workings of her world and the extraordinary life she lived.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Now, with the publication of The Essential Ruth Stone, readers can experience anew an elegant and perceptive selection—curated by the aforementioned granddaughter, the poet and visual artist Bianca Stone—from 12 collections published over Stone’s half-century career… This new volume guards admirably against the future misplacement of a poet whose strange, comic, and courageous wrongness continues to feel timelessly and ineluctably right.” —Poetry Foundation