2015-16 Trias Writer-In-Residence: Mary Ruefle – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

2015-16 Trias Writer-In-Residence: Mary Ruefle

Poet, essayist, and erasure artist Mary Ruefle joins the Hobart and William Smith Colleges community as the 2015-16 Trias Writer-in-Residence, leading workshops and mentoring the Colleges’ most dedicated and driven student writers.

“Mary Ruefle is an extraordinarily talented poet, artist, and teacher,” says Kathryn Cowles, assistant professor of English and Comparative Literature and director of the Trias Residency. “Her poems feel life-like; something in them resembles what the world acts like, what people act like, what things act like in the world. She’s famous not only for her poetry, but also for charming, quirky essays made of collaged parts that fit together the way a constellation in the sky fits together: You have to draw the lines yourself, but when you do, an amazing, moving, and deeply human picture emerges.”

Ruefle is the author of more than a dozen books, including collections of poetry, prose, criticism, and a comic book. Her “Selected Poems” won the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and “Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures” was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. Her work as an erasure artist involves creating poetry by erasing words from existing texts. Ruefle’s erasure treatments of 19th century texts have been exhibited in museums and galleries and published in “A Little White Shadow.” She has received numerous honors, including the Robert Creeley Award, 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.

As award-winning poet Tony Hoagland wrote in a review of her work for “On the Seawall,” “Ruefle is clearly one of the best American poets writing, and her body of work is remarkable for its spiritual force, intelligence, stylistic virtuosity, and adventurousness.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 9, Ruefle will kick off the fall 2015 Trias Reading Series, which is open to the public, at 7:30 p.m. in the Hirshson Ballroom.

As curator of the fall Trias-in-Residency Reading Series, Ruefle has also selected and organized three reading events, which will bring other noteworthy writers and poets to campus throughout the fall semester.

On Thursday, Oct. 29, translator, poet and essayist David Hinton will read from his many translations of classical Chinese poetry, which have earned wide acclaim for creating compelling contemporary poems that convey the actual texture and density of the originals. He is also the first translator in more than a century to translate the five seminal masterworks of Chinese philosophy: “I Ching, “Tao Te Ching, “Chuang Tzu, “Analects, and “Mencius.”  His talk will be held at 5 p.m. in Hirshson Ballroom followed by a reception.

Jody Gladding, a poet, translator and hybrid-forms artist, will join Hinton on Oct. 29 at 7:30 in Hirshson Ballroom. Gladding’s work explores the places where language and landscape converge. She has published three collections of poems, most recently “Translations from Bark Beetle,” which includes images of some of her poem sculpture/illustrations, and has translated almost 30 books from French.

Michael Burkard ’68, a poet, 2008 Guggenheim Fellow and alumnus of Hobart College as well as the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, will be the final reader in the fall series, returning to campus on Thursday, Nov. 19 for a talk held at 7:30 p.m. in Hirshson Ballroom. An associate professor of English at Syracuse University, Burkard is the author of more than 10 books of poems, including “Envelope of Night: Selected and Uncollected Poems, “lucky coat anywhere” and, most recently, “Some Time in the Winter.” Returning to the home of his poetic roots, it was in the Blackwell Room, which was the HWS library when Burkard was a student, that the young poet had his “epiphany.” 

“Hinton is incredibly prolific, probably the top translator of classical Chinese works into English in the world,” Cowles says. “Gladding combines visual art and language to great effect in much of her work, making many “poem-objects” in which the words take place on the surface of some object, like an egg or a rock or a feather. Burkard has great stories to tell, including one where he has a big, ecstatic revelation in the middle of the library about life and being a poet. There is some fascinating and gorgeous stuff in store.”

The Trias Residency for Writers is supported by The Peter Trias Endowed Fund for Poetry and Creative Writing. Established through a generous bequest from Peter J. Trias ’70, the residency is designed to give distinguished poets and fiction writers time to write. Academic expectations allow for sustained interaction with our best students while providing the freedom necessary to produce new work. Residents are active, working artists whose presence contributes to intellectual environment of the Colleges and the City of Geneva.

For more information about the Trias Residency, visit the website or contact Cowles at trias@hws.edu.