cover image The Essential Ruth Stone

The Essential Ruth Stone

Ruth Stone, edited by Bianca Stone. Copper Canyon, $18 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-55659-608-7

In this 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. The poems are organized chronologically and selected by poet Bianca Stone, the author’s granddaughter. Selections from Stone’s 1959 collection, In an Iridescent Time, shimmer with rhyme: “At my center/ The bone glistens; of wondrous bones I am made;/ And alone shine in a phosphorous glow,/ So, in this little plot where I am laid.” Later poems shift from structured rhyme schemes to the looser, more plainspoken style that Stone is known for. Many of these poems orbit around her husband, who died by suicide in 1959 (“This I often rearrange, I don’t accept”), and to whom she continued to describe the world: “My trouble was I could not keep you dead./ You entered even the inanimate,/ returning in endless guises.” 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. (Sept.)