This week, as part of our Poetry Month celebration, we are sharing some audio excerpts from Valentine, poems by Ruth Maus.
The title poem:
Wry and rue---it sounds like the recipe for a craft cocktail. But those are really the main ingredients in Ruth Maus’s sly wise and expansive book, even or especially in the poems that really are about cocktails. Most of her poems are short—and a lot bigger than they seem, poems marked by gallows humor and a poker face, and with just a twitch of a tell that reveals how much lies beneath their surface.
In Valentine, Ruth Maus offers a love letter to the world, powering her lines with the engines of parallel structure, formal play, and bright image. Using diction that is conversational, at times outright rollicking, we’re invited into a world where “the righteousness of salt / on a monster margarita / sings psalm and hallelujah enough,” while the speaker considers romantic temptations, one’s call to art, and what lies ahead. This is a creative and sprightly collection.