Madness, Rack, and Honey

By Mary Ruefle,

Book cover of Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures

Book description

This is one of the wisest books I've read in years...--New York Times Book Review No writer I know of comes close to even trying to articulate the weird magic of poetry as Ruefle does. She acknowledges and celebrates in the odd mystery and mysticism of the act--the fact that…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Madness, Rack, and Honey as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

A series of poetry lectures not intended for publication, they combine to form an astounding journey into language and art. You don’t need to be a poet to love the casual way she delivers bomb after bomb, and to wish you’d been her student. I guess this is as close as I’ll get, and it’s taken a long time (I’m still not done) because I can just sit on a phrase or a page for an entire subway ride. Definitely would have failed her class, but having the lectures written out is like getting an extension without needing to grovel…

Provocative, unexpected, and revealing considerations on subjects ranging from Emily Dickinson’s dress to sentimentality to a list of concrete fears to poetry, the moon, and Neil Armstrong. And because her idea for a class is that “you just sit in the classroom and read aloud until everyone is smiling, and then you look around, and if someone is not smiling you ask them why and then you keep reading—it may take many different books—until they start smiling, too.

From Akiko's list on essays by poets.

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