Collected Lectures by Mary Ruefle

I have not yet read this book — but look forward to diving into it. I received a copy in the mail from a friend yesterday — thank you, Colleen — and did a bit of research so I could do a post about the book today. The title (and it’s reference to “Madness” — see yesterday’s “March Madness” post) made me want to at least mention the book before March “goes out like a lamb.” (To quote English playwright John Fletcher, 1579-1625. Since the Jane Goodall brouhaha, I am going to err on the side of attribution caution.)

Here is the official description of Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruefle: Over the course of fifteen years, Mary Ruefle delivered a lecture every six months to a group of poetry graduate students. Collected here for the first time, these lectures include “Poetry and the Moon,” “Someone Reading a Book Is a Sign Of Order in the World,” and “Lectures I Will Never Give.” Intellectually virtuosic, instructive, and experiential, Madness, Rack, and Honey resists definition, demanding instead an utter—and utterly pleasurable—immersion.

Read about the book in the New York Times Sunday Book Review at this link. And find Madness, Rack, and Honey at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Ruefle‘s book Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures, was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism (Wave Books, 2012), and her Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2010), won the William Carlos Williams Award. Reufle has published ten other books of poetry, a book of prose (The Most of It, Wave Books, 2008), and a comic book, Go Home and Go to Bed!, (Pilot Books/Orange Table Comics, 2007); she is also an erasure artist, whose treatments of nineteenth century texts have been exhibited in museums and galleries, and include the publication of A Little White Shadow (Wave Books, 2006). Ruefle is the recipient of numerous honors, including an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Whiting Award. She lives in Bennington, Vermont, and teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College.


I’ll write about the book in more detail as soon as I read it — and Madness, Rack, and Honey looks like a great read. The book, by the way, is beautiful — an elegant, readable, inviting design.