The Marie Alexander Series is dedicated to promoting the appreciation and enjoyment of prose poetry.

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A Handbook for Writers

A Handbook for Writers

A Handbook for Writers: New & Selected Prose Poems

by Vern Rutsala

Selection from two previous collections join a large collection of new work which continues Rutsala's exploration of the prose poem as a literary form.

About the Author

Vern Rutsala received his B.A. from Reed College and his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. He is the author of numerous poetry books. His previous book, The Moment's Equation, was a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry. Among his awards are a Guggenheim fellowship, two National Endowment for Arts fellowships, the Richard Snyder Prize, and the Kenneth O. Hanson Award. Rutsala taught at Lewis & Clark College from 1961-2004.




His poetic voice bears the verbal weight, the voice of the body, by which a reader can tell at the front door that an artist lives here. Imagine a lifetime of constancy to one’s art, a trust in our difficult language, a loyalty to precision, an eye for the extraordinary in the routine, which is to say the gist of human reality, and you have Rutsala.
— Marvin Bell
Vern Rutsala’s poetry is and always has been the real thing: beautifully made, recognizable in substance and voice, faithful to its vision of things as they are and as they have been. To apply a phrase from William Carlos Williams, the poetry of Vern Rutsala stands against the American grain: against our fantasies of happiness purchased at a discount, and against our easy and dangerously imperial optimism. He is our Larkin: he tells us not about what we want, but about what we actually have.
— Charles Baxter
After reading Rutsala one begins to feel that a great deal of other poetry is too rich—too unnecessarily rich—poetry for a Sunday meal, with guests to impress. Rutsala poems are for the other days. I like that.
— Donald Justice

Release DateApril 2004




Dimensions6 x 0.3 x 9 inches

Light from an Eclipse

Light from an Eclipse

The Blue Dress

The Blue Dress