Reviews

Trances of the Blast by Mary Ruefle

kmgard's review against another edition

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reflective fast-paced

4.0

rodneywilhite's review against another edition

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5.0

This book just careens all over the place, hiding its profoundest insights in the silliest moments.

I say "it" as if the book is a living, self-aware thing, which it seems to be.

samwreads's review against another edition

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4.0

Great little poems that are very personal and feel coarse, unrefined and at the same time beautiful. This is the first set of poems that I've read by Ruefle and as such I'm comparing them to other poets I've read rather than against her earlier work.

Her language and structure are not at all difficult to read and seem to build upon the small viscera of everyday life. There are some that are a bit more abstract or even surreal but on the whole they play with images and ideas more so (or at least more so on the surface) than purely with words divorced from the image.

It's funny that her poems seem similar to ones that I've written or imagine I might write, though they are "better" for the most part. That said, the similarity in style and their apparent simplicity do make me want to take up my own pen more. I can imagine this set having a similar effect on others - maybe a good book to give to budding poets/students? I can only speak for myself but I think this is definitely an easy volume to recommend to others, even those largely unversed (ha!) with contemporary poetry.

serinehart's review against another edition

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3.0

I increasingly think poetry isn’t for me. Mary Ruefle’s writing in particular is semi-absurd riddles. I can get the often ironical tone, and certain lines make me laugh out loud or scoff, but I think I’ll stick to her lectures and prose.

Images/words/ideas she loves: time (and its warping or transition with memory and imagined situations), happiness (as a question, ironic statement), glass as a reflection of the ocean, words as paper birds, honey, shoe soles; rain as a device; repetition of lines and phrasings to achieve slightly altered meanings; deconstruction of the phrase "I love you"

coconut's review against another edition

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Favorites

The bunny gives us a lesson in eternity
White buttons
Wings of love
Q & a
Sudden additional energy
Picking up pinecones 

smchealey's review against another edition

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5.0

mary 4ever

percystjoan's review against another edition

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5.0

first foray into mary ruefle's poetry after loving her nonfiction prose, and this might even be better? she has such a magical way with words, i would recommend anyone read this.

the art of happiness

i am too weak to speak,
that is why i am writing this-
will you please bring me some water?
i cannot make the few feet to the sink,
the art of happiness prevents me.
when you bring me the water
make sure it is held in a glass.
water would rather be held by a glass
than be in a stream on its way to the ocean.
that is the art of happiness.
alas it will one day leave the glass
but water would rather be held by the body
than be in a stream on its way to the ocean.
alas it will one day leave the body
but not to worry now.
that is the art of happiness.
when water enters us it becomes
delirious, it gets to push things out of its way,
it gets to form an opinion and then express it,
it gets to see what no one else has seen.
as you can see i am dying of happiness.
please ask the surgeon to come
and remove this day-
i don't want to die of happiness.
what's a glass of water to you?
what's a phone call or two?

[also: yeah. just the entire book.]

hereistheend's review against another edition

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4.0

ruefle has this way of writing Poetry that feels a capital p, feels somehow traditionally and intelligent... without any of the stuffiness or pretentiousness of poets too smart for mortals. her poems are homey and visual and thoughtful and careful, and i wish i could take ruefle’s class. i guess i just thank god that she has a book of lectures 😊

missdaisy17's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful inspiring lighthearted reflective relaxing medium-paced

5.0

ameliasbooks's review against another edition

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medium-paced

2.0

I'm very much into Mary Ruefle's prose poems and essays, but these more classic poems didn't do it for me, they just went over my head.