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Ruth Stone's Vast Library of the Female Mind

Ruth Stone's Vast Library of the Female Mind

After tragedy strikes, acclaimed poet Ruth Stone retreated to the margins of the literary world, working tirelessly to provide for her children, and transforming her intense grief into poetry, using simple, startling language.

Using a conversational, intimate approach, award-winning Vermont filmmaker Nora Jacobson combines rare archival footage of Ruth at different times of her life, filmed in the 1970s by Hollywood film editor Sidney Wolinsky (The Sopranos, The Shape of Water), raw and original animation by Ruth’s granddaughter Bianca Stone, and heartfelt observations by family members and poets, including Pulitzer Prize winner Sharon Olds, Toi Derricotte, Major Jackson and Edward Hirsch.

Beloved by many, Ruth’s home in Goshen, Vermont became a mecca for her students, as well as poet friends and family members. There she inspired people to make art and write, not only through activities such as the “poetry game”, but by providing solace and nurture, surrounded by nature and camaraderie. After Ruth died, her grandchildren and Ben Pease began renovating the house and turning it into a writer’s retreat. Their goal is to create an enduring legacy that will keep Ruth’s name alive and nurture a new generation of poets. The film follows the renovation of Ruth’s home, culminating in a poetry workshop, the first of many.

Though not well known outside of the poetry world, Stone won accolades and awards, such as the National Book Award for Poetry, the Wallace Stevens Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Delmore Schwartz Award, and she was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, among many others. This film hopes to acquaint more people, of all ages and gender, with Ruth Stone’s poetry and the poignant tragedy at the heart of her oeuvre.

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