By Ruth Stone
Ordinary Words celebrates Ruth Stone's 84th birthday. This brilliant new collection is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Eric Mathieu King Award from the Academy of American Poets. Ordinary Words captures a unique vision of "Americana" marked by Stone's characteristic wit, poignancy, and lyricism. The poet addresses the environment, poverty, and aging with fearless candor and surprising humor.
Sister poet to Nobel Prize-winner Wislawa Syzmborska, Ruth Stone offers a view of her country and its citizens that is tender and wacky, filled with hard political truths as well as love, beauty, cruelty, and sorrow. Ruth Stone is a poet of the people, and poet's poet. Her following is devoted and ever-growing. Ordinary Words shows that poetry is about everyday life, our life. Poems are set in Rutland, Vermont; Indianapolis; Chattanooga; Houston; Boise; and Troy, New York (where celluloid collars were made). Stone's subjects are trailer parks, state parks, prefab houses, school crossing guards, bears, snakes, hummingbirds, bottled water, Aunt Maud, Uncle Cal, lost love, dry humping at the Greyhound bus terminal, and McDonald's as a refuge from loneliness. Her heroes are dead husbands, wild grandmothers, struggling daughters: ordinary Americans leading simple and extraordinary lives.