44 poems for you

44 poems for you

by Sarah Ruhl


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Playwright Sarah Ruhl’s first book of poetry, 44 Poems for You, offers poems that form a subtle, personal meditation on family, motherhood, and loss. With a finely tuned ear for language, Ruhl’s poetry sings with a humbling honesty about what it means to share our lives with others and with those who form our hollows: a miscarriage, a close friend lost to cancer, and the sublimity of nature. She delves into womanhood through the physical reality of the everyday, and shows us life through her hands—making terrariums or jam with her husband, holding a child, grasping the counter as she bleeds. Succinct and contemplative, generous and wise, Sarah Ruhl—one of the greatest contemporary playwrights working today—addresses these poems to you.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781556595844
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
Publication date: 02/18/2020
Pages: 80
Sales rank: 1,259,589
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Sarah Ruhl is a playwright, essayist and poet. She is a MacArthur "genius" award recipient, two time Pulitzer prize finalist and a Tony award nominee. Her book of essays, 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write was published by FSG and named a Notable book by the New York Times. Her book Letters from Max, co-authored with Max Ritvo and published by Milkweed editions, was on the New Yorker's best poetry of the year list. Her plays include For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday, How to Transcend a Happy Marriage, The Oldest Boy, Stage Kiss, Dear Elizabeth, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, The Clean House, Passion Play, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Melancholy Play; Eurydice; Orlando, Late: a cowboy song, and a translation of Three Sisters. Her plays have been produced on and off-Broadway, around the country, and internationally, where they've been translated into over fifteen languages. Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel. She has received the Susan Smith Blackburn award, the Whiting award, the Lily Award, a PEN award for mid-career playwrights, the National Theater Conference's Person of the Year award, and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright award. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Read an Excerpt

I intend to give you many bowls


I intend to give you many bowls.
For apples and loose change.

What would suit you
better than a bowl.

Round with primacy,
place for holding.

You are not round
like a woman
but you have more
roundness than most men.


In Korea,
every day a woman
prays for her son to come
home .

Her prayer:

Every day she puts clear water
in a bowl.

She placed it in the garden.


I will deposit light when you’re absent.
Figs. Water. Unchurched compounds.
Tithes and dithyrambs. Light.


A bowl.

Where a mother
keeps a son for safe-keeping.

A bowl.

Fugue on the
pre-eminence of corners.

A bowl.

• repeated silence.

A bowl.

Something to eat
and light is changing.

A bowl.

Where I keep
my body when my head is raining.

A bowl.

Two cupped hands
made of clay.


For an American man to care
for plants on the sills of windows is rare.
Sadness without form is unbearable;
bodies without skin are ugly and spill.

We spoke of the blood brain barrier—
we spoke of the opacity of brains.
I wipe dust gathered on plants—
the ocean here seems small and dark.

African violets watered upsidown do better—
indirection saves things and plants.
Retreating horses are beautiful.
Retreating water is beautiful.

You, too, are beautiful, when the opacity
• brains weighs heavy on your heart.

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