The Essential Ruth Stone

Ruth Stone, Bianca Stone, ed.

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.

ISBN: 9781556596087

Format: Paperback

Listen to Bianca Stone read Ruth Stone’s poem “Pokeberries” from The Essential Ruth Stone:

About the Author

Ruth Stone (1915–2011) was born in Virginia. She is the author of thirteen books of poetry, including In the Next Galaxy, which won the 2002 National Book Award, and her collected poems, What Love Comes To, which was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. Her 1999 collection Ordinary Words won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1999. She is the recipient of many additional honors, including two Guggenheim Fellowships (one of which roofed her house). In 1959, after …

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About the Editor

Bianca Stone is a writer and visual artist. Her books include Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Tin House, 2014), The Mobius Strip Club of Grief (Tin House, 2018) and the children’s book of Gertrude Stein’s poem A Little Called Pauline, (Penny Candy Books, 2020). Her poems, poetry comics, and nonfiction have appeared in a variety of magazines including Poetry Magazine, The New Yorker, jubilat, and Harvard Review. She lives in Vermont where she is director of programs for The Ruth Stone …

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“[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