Madness, Rack, and Honey
by Mary Ruefle
The book is a series of essays on the craft of writing by poet, Mary Ruefle. Weston Cutter of The Kenyon Review writes:
... here’s the first paragraph of Ruefle’s intro to Madness, Rack, and Honey:“I never set out to write this book. In 1994 I began to be required to deliver standing lectures to graduate students, and the requirement terrified me. I was told the students preferred informal spontaneous talks, but I am a rotten and unsteady extemporizer. I preferred to write my lectures because I am a writer and writing is my natural act, more natural than speaking.”Ahem. Ruefle, in the intro and in all the essays in Madness, Rack, and Honey, confronts this duality, the split pullings of wanting to write, wanting to say things, and finding the act hard at best, seemingly impossible on some days.
~ A Few Excerpts from Madness, Rack, and Honey ~
~ from the essay Kangaroo Beach:
"Isn't all art irreverent? It is irreverent to create that which doesn't exist; the newly made thing flies in the face of the already created and as such is based on negation (what already exists is simply not enough!), but born also out of the greatest reverence for all that already is. When Borges, visiting the Sahara, picked up a little bit of sand, carried it in his hand and let it fall someplace else, he said, "I am modifying the Sahara," and he wrote that this was one of the most significant memories of his stay. What Borges did is what we do when we write poems after millennia of poem writing. We aren't saving the Sahara, we are modifying it, and you have to be irreverent to think you can modify the Sahara in the first place, and sincere in your attempt to do so."
~ And ~
~ from the essay On Beginnings:
~ Or ~
WHY ALL OUR LITERARY PURSUITS ARE USELESSEighty-five percent of all existing species are beetles and various forms of insects.English is spoken by only 5 percent of the world's population.WHY THERE MAY BE HOPEOne of the greatest stories ever written is the story of a man who wakes to find himself transformed into a giant beetle.
~ I can't wait to sink my teeth into this book! ~