#WomenReadWomen2019 Books Poetry Poetry Friday Reading Themes Warrior Women and Social Justice

[Poetry Friday] Knowing Ruefle’s Private Property

Prose poetry and essays by Mary Ruefle.

Myra here.

It has been awhile since I joined the Poetry Friday community. Special thanks to Rebecca Herzog of Sloth Reads for hosting this week.


My Private Property

Written by Mary Ruefle
Published by Wave Books (2016)
ISBN: 1940696380 (ISBN13: 9781940696386). Book was borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

I did not know about Mary Ruefle until my mentor-friend-colleague mentioned her to me in a Whatsapp message. She promised that I am in for a treat and that if I love Mary Oliver, then most likely I would feel the same way towards Ruefle.

While the book itself could not neatly be categorized as falling under our Warrior Women and Social Justice theme, there were essays that could arguably fall under that theme: particularly the essay entitled Pause, whereby she talked about menopause and the many revolutionary thoughts that can turn one into a veritable warrior woman – teetering on the brink of madness. I did not realize that the experience could be this frightening, and I do know that I am quite possibly nearing that stage; so it was informative, more than anything. In a scary sort of way.

While admittedly, her writing did not resonate with me as much as Mary Oliver did, a lot of this may have to do that I found it to be more cerebral and distanced.  There are decided attempts at profundity stabbing at light and darkness – but with the clear intention of doing just that. Mary Oliver simply blindsides me with the wisdom of the earth, like ancient ages delivering hard-earned truths grounded in pain.

I found myself loving Ruefle’s shades of sadness (which may be substituted with the word happiness, apparently – and nothing, according to Ruefle, changes) more than all the other essays found in this collection. And so here is what I would call prose poetry, entitled Blue. I took a picture of the page and edited it using an iPhone app. I hope its azure wisdom is one that finds you at exactly the right moment.


#WomenReadWomen2019: United States of America.

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Singapore. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she serves as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads or meeting up with her book club friends, she is smashing that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life.

6 comments on “[Poetry Friday] Knowing Ruefle’s Private Property

  1. Thanks for sharing this new-to-me writer. Her pain is so vivd and raw in this passage.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Myra, for sharing this. I’ve read her before and found some gems, like this one. We all know blue sadness, don’t we? xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lindabaie

    Thanks, Myra. I like the way she shows the undefeatable journey to a place one desires to visit. It’s truth and blue!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rebecca Herzog

    Thank you, Myra for introducing me to another writer. I especially enjoyed the passage you shared.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. maryleehahn

    The “pause” is different for every woman. Don’t be afraid. The “teetering on the brink of madness” is not mandatory!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. haitiruth

    Such a perfect description of the blue sadness! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

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