Mary Ruefle, in conversation with Mark Wunderlich
Beginning in 1998 and continuing as part of her ongoing work, Vermont State Poet Laureate Mary Ruefle '74 has produced a series of altered books from which she creates poetic texts in a process called “erasure,” which Ruefle has defined as an act of “creating a new text by disappearing the old text that surrounds it.” Using correction fluid, markers, and gouache, and often incorporating collaged found images, the original texts are partially covered over to reveal new and surprising voices, phrases, narratives, and fragmented poems.
Extending the Modernist project that includes the collage artists Hannah Hoch, Joseph Cornell, and Alexander Rodchenko, Ruefle’s postcard collages, altered books, and erasures blend images and text, creating new poetic artifacts that establish a counterpoint between verbal and visual syntax. Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, described her book of erasures, A Little White Shadow, as containing, “haiku-like mini-fables, sideways aphorisms, and hauntingly perplexing koans.”
Widely recognized as a major figure in American poetry, this is Mary Ruefle’s first solo exhibition of her visual work.
Mary Ruefle: Erasures will be on view at the Robert Frost Stone House Museum through October 31. Museum hours are Thursday through Monday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm. Admission is free for Bennington College students, faculty, and staff.