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In the Next Galaxy

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  285 ratings  ·  33 reviews
“Her poems startle us over and over with their shapeliness, their humor, their youthfulness, their wild aptness, their strangeness, their sudden familiarity, the authority of their insights, the moral gulps they prompt, their fierce exactness of language and memory.”—Galway Kinnell on presenting the Wallace Stevens Award

In the Next Galaxy gives us the unflinching vision
Paperback, 120 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Copper Canyon Press (first published May 1st 2002)
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Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Trish by: Ken
Shelves: poetry
The author is a very old woman in 2002 when this book came out. She was born in Virginia in 1915, before the U.S. involvement in World War I. She won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2002 for this book or perhaps for her body of work. She'd already won many other major awards in the past. At some point during the production of this book Stone lost her sight and her daughter Abigail did the corrections and proofreading, reading aloud to her mother.

Stone's Wikipedia entry records a
Over the weekend, I was staying at a bed & breakfast in Vermont (motto: "Keep Vermont green. Bring money."). I brought along the ample complete collection of Wislawa Szymborska to finish, only I woke at 4:30 Saturday morning, got up, went down to the library, and polished it off with the coming of Vermont dawn. Now without a book of my own, I explored the shelves of the B&B's rather impressive library. There I found a collection by a poet I did not know: In the Next Galaxy by Ruth Stone. ...more
May 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I should have counted how many times Stone uses the word or image of a fractal. The fractals are fractaling (!): complexity, irregularity, recurrences (so many stark women in these pages--like the one intensely glimpsed on the train platform as the train pulls away or the one who "speaks no English" recalled in "Entering the Student's Poem"), iterations (so much travel: trains, buses), and somehow time can be thrown into this mix (moments throwing the poet back into other moments; not repeating, ...more
Joann Amidon
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This year I am reading a book of poetry a month. Here is one reason I liked Ruth Stone's poetry. It is from her poem Metaphors of the Tree.
The tree wrapped around itself in multiple muscles;
a clump of trees come together under the bark,
twisting up; a corporate tree, the only tree in the yard.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating this the higher side of 3 stars.

Trains, nature, math, and memories are some of the topics covered this collection. I especially liked the repeated references to Mandelbrot, fractals, and the Klein bottle.

The poem "Assumptions" is a standout. "The inner is really the outer. And again, you are reminded of the Klein bottle." How many poems address the mathematical concept of a Klein Bottle, which is a next gen version of the Mobius Strip?

In "Messages", I like the optimism of "Cheer up, they
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Many of these poems had me by the throat. Many have unpredictable twists and turns. Many I had to read and reread and reread.
David Anthony Sam
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The more I read the poetry of Ruth Stone, the more I regret her passing in 2011. She weaves the natural world, current events, the lives of other characters, and science into the web of telling her own life. With unassuming eloquence, she speaks in a diction that is both commonplace and vivid:

"the power of nothing to multiply.
Turning the hand over to become the palm,
for a moment it can shape itself into a cup of water."

In this passage and throughout, Stone seeks a deep acceptance of what is and
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Apr 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, read2012
Most of the poems in this volume have to do with death and aging, a common theme among aging poets, but I'm just not old enough to really appreciate it yet. I may be in my 30s but I'm still more of a love and angst poem type girl.

I did like this one, Love.


This part of myself devoted to you
admits of nothing that falls away.
Although I melt moment by moment
into something else, I carry you
with me, a doll of circumstance,
that dances as I do when I
present myself, the stranger,
to you, the
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
My favorite from the volume:


Living alone the feet turn voluptuous,
cold as sea water, the thin brine
of the blood reaches them slowly;
their nubby heads rub one another.
How can you love them and yet
how live without them?
Their shoes lined up like caskets
in which they lie all day
dead from one another.
In the night
each foot has nothing to love
but the other foot.
Julie Koh
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There's a childlike resonance to every poem and a profundity behind even the most whimsical of poems that can only come with experience and time. I wished there were more books of poetry by Ruth Stone, or more poets like her.
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm not one for poetry, but I enjoyed Stone's musings within her poems. She has a great way of producing imagery, often of nature and science. She also is able to show her memories to the reader. This is really good, but poetry is just not for me.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ruth Stone's next galaxy is also the next room. You hear the universe move in her poems. And you also hear the old man next door rising from his bed, coughing.
Katharine Holden
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Such imagery. Loved "Air", "The Other War", and "Don't Miss It".
Patricia McLaughlin
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Favorites include “Seed,” “The Illusion,” “To Give This a Name, Astonishing,” “Reality,” “At Eighty-three She Lives Alone.”
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful eccentric imagery wedged in with the everyday--love her mix of, on-the-porch with, what floats in on the pearly subconscious.
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of these will make your hands tremble.
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not my jam, out of all the poems in the book i liked a handful?
Oct 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I'd heard about Ruth Stone through Wom-Po, the Women's Poetry LISTSERV. Somewhere, maybe Facebook, I was sent a video of her reciting her poems from memory for nearly an hour. That was amazing, Ruth Stone is in her 90s and nearly blind, she can no longer read her work. The fact she memorized and read her work with such passion astounds me. So when I came across "In the Next Galaxy" at a second hand bookstore I bought it. It won The National Book Award.

In the middle of reading her book I
Jul 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Reading this little by little, musing....

Ah, and now I am finished, having read a bunch together and re-read several. I had skipped ahead, danced back, etc. all along.

What a wonderful book. I felt in the presence of wisdom and eternity in the voice and point of view of a living woman, who has lived on her own, grieved a husband, looked out her windows or train windows, and gradually gone blind, still seeing shapes of light, I gather, but not the fine details and edges of things. There are
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Thank you for recommending her, KG. Very direct yet layered poems that seem to me to speak to a life of poem-making for survival. The body is very present and not theorized about -- vaginal mucus, pubic hair, "host of ravishing flagella" -- the sexuality of the poems has a wisdom to it.
Mostly, I feel an incredible resilience here -- not cheery, not bright, but a sharp insistence on life after her husband's suicide: she is "the simple who rose up and lived."
And she writes these plain statements
Apr 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I greatly enjoyed some of the poems, and I am preoccupied with some of the things the poems are preoccupied with--the indifference of the universe, the juxtaposition of the spiritual and the base in our human bodies, the strange way time continues forward but moments exist forever. However, the simplicity of some of the poems left me wondering, is that it? And the extremely repetitive imagery gets tired. If you completely adore:

- husbands who kill themselves
- fractals
- chicory
- cats
- snow
- birds
Dec 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Three-and-a-half stars for this one. A lot of the subjects of Ruth Stone's poems don't offer any points of entry for me, though some phrases ("the rubble of words," "the dignity of a communal disaster") are engaging. Occasionally, she connects to the gut:

"Rain of remembering;
late snow turning to rain.
Then in the cold house,
alone in bed,
the soft stutter on the roof,
random phrases; your voice,
only your voice. How can
it be that voice that touched
me everywhere?
And what you said,
if only I could hear
Aug 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I love this women. She was going blind and nearly an octogenarian when she wrote this. When asked, to paraphrase, if poets get better with age, she replied, "They should." Good god, they should, and she does. One of the few, unfortunately. This won her the National Book Award in 2002, and the same year she received the Wallace Stevens award from the Academy of American Poets. Also recommended would be In The Dark, a strong collection, but with a few misses.
May 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was my discovery of Ruth Stone. The images are often strong and sometimes so unhappy and unpleasant but somehow delicate -- I could almost hear some of the poems intoned as chant as I read them.
Stephanie Rigsby
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
it's the poetry, i've been missing, in this 21st century. the voice in its pages compelled me to even write one for her. that's saying something.
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Fantabulous. Want to read more of her work. Title poem is especially great, as are "Shapes" and "Poems."
Jun 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2010
Great poetry...must read
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
an excellent collection of insightful poetry, really keen metaphors and good subject material. A fine array of interesting topics, be sure to be entertained
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by: author's obit
A little too crass (realistic) for me. National Book Award winner for poetry in 2002, so that goes along with my reading of award winning books - if it won, I won't like it.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it liked it
A first read of Stone. Very approachable poetry.
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Ruth Stone was an American poet and author of thirteen books of poetry. She received the 2002 National Book Award (for her collection In the Next Galaxy), the 2002 Wallace Stevens Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Eric Mathieu King Award from The Academy of American Poets, a Whiting Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Delmore Schwartz Award, the Cerf Lifetime Achievement Award ...more
“The campus, an academy of trees,
under which some hand, the wind's I guess,
had scattered the pale light
of thousands of spring beauties,
petals stained with pink veins;
secret, blooming for themselves.
We sat among them.
Your long fingers, thin body,
and long bones of improbable genius;
some scattered gene as Kafka must have had.
Your deep voice, this passing dust of miracles.
That simple that was myself, half conscious,
as though each moment was a page
where words appeared; the bent hammer of the type
struck against the moving ribbon.
The light air, the restless leaves;
the ripple of time warped by our longing.
There, as if we were painted
by some unknown impressionist.”
“Do all things come to an end?
No, they go on forever.”
More quotes…