Mary Ruefle quotes

  • Once I witnessed a windstorm so severe two 100-year-old trees were uprooted on the spot. The next day, walking among the wreckage, I found the friable nests of birds, completely intact and unharmed on the ground. That the featherweight survive the massive, that this reversal of fortune takes place among us — that is what haunts me. I don’t know what it means.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Mean #Years #Two

  • in the beginning William Shakespeare was a baby, and knew absolutely nothing. He couldn't even speak.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Baby #Speak

  • A poem is a finished work of the mind, it is not the work of a finished mind.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Mind

  • A poem is a neutrino - mainly nothing - it has no mass and can pass through the earth undetected.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Earth #Mass #Neutrinos

  • In one sense, reading is a great waste of time. In another sense, it is a great extension of time, a way for one person to live a thousand and one lives in a single lifespan, to watch the great impersonal universe at work again and again That is why I read: I want everything to be okay. That’s why I read when I was a lonely kid and that’s why I read now that I’m a scared adult.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Lonely #Reading #Kids

  • Although all poets aspire to be birds, no bird aspires to be a poet.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Bird #Poet

  • Metaphor is not, and never has been, a mere literary term. It is an event.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Events #Metaphor #Term

  • the wasting of time is the most personal, most private, most intimate form of conversation with oneself, as well as with another.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Time #Leisure #Intimate

  • I am convinced that the first lyric poem was written at night, and that the moon was witness to the event and that the event was witness to the moon. For me, the moon has always been the very embodiment of lyric poetry.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Moon #Night #Embodiment

  • I remember being so young I thought all artists were famous.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Artist #Youth #Remember

  • Art has always been aware of itself as art.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Art

  • Every creative act is an act of hypocrisy and violence. You may have to think about it for a while, but I am sure you can discover your own.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Creativity #Thinking #Hypocrisy

  • Polar fleece is a plush, spongy, totally artificial material that weighs nothing and conveys no quality of warmth or coolness; in fact, you can wear it in the most bitter weather or in the hottest heat. Polar fleece looks neither flimsy and light nor hearty and warm. It has no historical, cultural, or physical association with a place, a season, a society, or any living thing. It is the first existential fabric - eminentaly useful, meaningless, dissociated and weird.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Weather #Light #Historical

  • [On filling out a grant application:] I seek an extended period of time, free from all distractions, so that I might be free to be distracted.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Time #Might #Distraction

  • Yes, the mistrust of poetry has a long history, for a variety of reasons, but they all come down to sentiment and invention over fact and truth. Figurative language is suspicious.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Long #Facts #Language

  • It is the first experience you ever had of reading a decent poem: 'Oh, somebody else is lonely, too!
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Lonely #Reading #Firsts

  • Words have a love for each other, a desire that culminates in poetry.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Desire

  • Poetry is sentimental to begin with. To write a sentimental poem is an act of redundancy.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Writing #Sentimental #Poetry Is

  • In life, the number of beginnings is exactly equal to the number of endings ... In poetry, the number of beginnings so far exceeds the number of endings that we cannot even conceive of it.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Numbers #Equal

  • When I first encountered the poems of Jon Woodward, I was stunned into the state that is my life's joy-I was in the presence of the inimitable. Uncanny Valley extends that experience-almost into another dimension. These apocalyptic, pixilated poems forge a mythology of our ravaged culture, one that might have been written in the future. If you want poetry to give you a persimmon on a plate, look elsewhere; if you want to know what happens when seven trees fall on the highway and the story is told by a stutterer, this is the book, and it could only have been written by Woodward.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Book #Fall #Giving

  • Now I will give you a piece of advice. I will tell you something that I absolutely believe you should do, and if you do not do it you will never be a witer. It is a certain truth. When your pencil is dull, sharpen it. And when your pencil is sharp, use it until it is dull again.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Believe #Giving #Advice

  • The words secret and sacred are siblings.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Sibling #Secret #Sacred

  • The origins of poetry are clearly rooted in obscurity, in secretiveness, in incantation, in spells that must at once invoke and protect, tell the secret and keep it.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Secret #Obscurity #Protect

  • We are all one question, and the best answer seems to be love—a connection between things.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Connections #Answers

  • In our marginal existence, what else is there but this voice within us, this great weirdness we are always leaning forward to listen to?
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Voice #Weirdness #Existence

  • I hated childhood / I hate adulthood / And I love being alive.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Hate #Love Is #Childhood

  • The industrial world destroys nature not because it doesn’t love it but because it is not afraid of it.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #World #Not Afraid

  • If we knew the value of suffering, we would ask for it.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Suffering #Values

  • I like to read because it kills me.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Kill Me

  • Irreverence is a way of playing hooky and remaining present at the same time.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Irreverence #Way

  • I have become an orchid washed in on the salt white beach. Memory, what can I make of it now that might please you- this life, already wasted and still strewn with miracles?
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Beach #Memories #Orchids

  • All of the heroes you see falling down were filmed trying to stand up.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Hero #Fall #Trying

  • My happiness is marred only by my failure to attain it.
    -- Mary Ruefle

  • I remember I was a child, and when I grew up I was a poet. It all happened at sixty miles an hour and on days when the clock stopped and all of humanity fit into a little chapel, into a pinecone, a shot of ouzo, a snail's shell, a piece of soggy rye on the pavement.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Children #Humanity #Pieces

  • Something unpronounceable followed by a long silence points out my life is becoming a landscape.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Long #Silence #Landscape

  • There is a world which poets cannot seem to enter. It is the world everybody else lives in. And the only thing poets seem to have in common is their yearning to enter this world.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #World #Common #Poet

  • There’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. Writers know that. I have never met a writer who does not crave to be alone. We have to be alone to do what we do.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Lonely #Differences #Doe

  • In the end I would rather wonder than know
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Wonder #Ends

  • Every time it starts to snow, I would like to have sex.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Sex #Snow

  • If you have any idea for a poem, an exact grid of intent, you are on the wrong path, a dead-end alley, at the top of a cliff you haven't even climbed. This is a lesson that can only be learned by trial and error.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Ideas #Errors #Trial And Error

  • I study nature so as not to do foolish things.
    -- Mary Ruefle

    #Study #Foolish