What Love Comes to
New & Selected PoemsBook - 2008
"We may pull down the shades in order to get on with things, but [Ruth] Stone pulls them up to remind us that the real stuff of life isn't about to disappear." -- The New York Times Book Review
"In a field in which collections of selected writings are constantly being released, this book stands out because Stone shows that simplicity can be a deceiving doorway into some of the most challenging poems written by an American poet. Stone's poems blend the personal with dimensions of the larger world in a manner reminiscent of the late William Stafford. Few poets have this gift for taking the workings of ordinary life and fusing them with a poetic process that sustains intense emotion, allowing human experience to be felt through the mysteries of language.... Ruth Stone belongs to every generation of poets who have taken the responsibility to give back to the world." -- The Bloomsbury Review
"This volume rightly secures (Stone's) status as a sui generis treasure who has survived poverty, a lack of formal education, profound personal tragedy, and decades of obscurity to emerge as a pre-eminent American poet who is still writing vital poems at the age of ninety-three." -- Harvard Review
What Love Comes To, a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, gathers nearly half a century of poems from a National Book Award-winning poet who, over the course of her career, has written in a wide range of voices and forms. Drawing from eleven previous volumes, this collection offers a trajectory through that career, presenting Ruth Stone from her early formal lyrics, through fierce feminist and political poems, to her most recent meditations on blindness and aging. Stone, at age ninety-two, returns often to the theme of loss in her work, all the while maintaining what the Vermont poet laureate nominations committee calls "a sense of survival surpassing poverty and grief. . . . Her poetry's irrepressible humor and intellectual curiosity are unique among contemporary American poets."
What Love Comes To is the perfect entry point into Stone's world of serious laughter; of uncertainty and insight; of mystery and acceptance.
When I forget to weep,
I hear the peeping tree toads
creeping up the bark.
Love lies asleep
and dreams that everything
is in its golden net;
and I am caught there, too,
when I forget.
A recipient of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, Ruth Stone has taught at numerous American universities. The author of eleven books of poetry, she has lived in Vermont since 1957.