Ruth Fainlight

Ruth Fainlight



type of work biography
publications press
awards & honours work in other media
residencies teaching
sample of work

  • poet

  • short story writer

  • translator

  • librettist

  • reviewer

  • reader & tutor of poetry 

Statement of poetic belief -- theory and practice

Quoted from:
The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Women Poets

ed. J. Couzyn, 1985 
How to Write Poetry

N. Bogen, Arco Books, Prentice Hall Press,
Simon & Schuster Inc. 1991, 94, 98

"I try to keep the words of a poem close to the feelings and sensations that inspired it, in the hope that it will inspire the same feelings, recognitions, and memories in its reader.  In this way, she or he become involved in its reality, even a participant in its creation - because reading is an active relationship between reader and writer. 

But writing is a relationship between writer and language. A poem develops organically from the first inspiring phrase. That phrase, or cluster of words, includes every essential element of the poem, and the poet's work is to allow all its potential of sound and meaning to realise itself. And like every other living organism, its development is a unique combination of unassailable laws and the entirely unexpected."

To See the Matter Clearly  
(Macmillan UK and Dufour Editions, USA, 1968) 

Fifteen to Infinity  
(Hutchinson, UK  1983; also published by Carnegie-Mellon University Press USA, 1987)

Sugar-Paper Blue  
* * * Shortlisted for 1998 Whitbread Poetry Prize * * *
(Bloodaxe Books UK and Dufour Editions USA, 1997)
Burning Wire
(Bloodaxe Books UK and Dufour Editions USA, 2002)

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"... in Fainlight, we are in the presence of someone engaged in understanding herself as an artist more than anything else .... the lyric poet at her most mature .... and American poets might do well to read (her). Straightforwardness is a trait I have always valued in our poetry and missed in poetry from across the Atlantic.  Lately, I miss it in ours, but find it in the work of this expatriate". 
Mark Jarman, The Hudson Review, USA 

"... her poems combine Alice Munro's virtues with something more archaic and also, in exact clear words, give us truly new visions of usual and mysterious events".  
A. S. Byatt, The Independent 

"Ruth Fainlight has always been a painterly poet, sensuous and observant, who has paid particular attention to myth as it shapes destiny or gives meaning. 'Sugar-Paper Blue' is one of her finest books to date .... the reader is aware of images being thought and felt through, the mind winding itself into narratives, prompted now by pain, now loss, now keen pleasure". 
George Szirtes, Times Literary Supplement

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