Ruth Stone's Vast Library of the Female Mind
A feature length documentary about the poetry and life of Ruth Stone, who forged her art out of loss, and inspired countless others to create, from her hilltop home in the Green Mountains of Vermont.
We are currently setting up screenings, both live and virtual. There are many costs associated with this phase which include travel, space rental, posters and ads. To make a tax-deductible contribution to help with distribution costs, click here.
Thank you! And let us know if you would like to set up a screening and Q&A with Nora Jacobson, Bianca Stone, Chard DeNiord and other poets and family members featured in the film.
Ruth Stone was a promising young poet, living an idyllic life with her beloved husband, a poet and professor. When he died unexpectedly by suicide, Ruth was flung out into the world, destitute with three daughters to support.
Though not well known outside of the poetry world, Ruth won accolades and awards, such 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.
Beloved by many, Ruth’s house in Goshen, Vermont became a mecca for students, poets, 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 granddaughter Bianca Stone and husband Ben Pease, began renovating Ruth’s 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.
Style of the Film: Using an intimate approach, the film, 12 years in the making, combines verité footage of Ruth at different times of her life, reciting poetry and talking about how she writes, intertwined with lively and heartfelt observations of people who knew her. These include award-winning poets Sharon Olds, Toi Derricotte, Major Jackson, Chard DeNiord, and Edward Hirsch, as well as those who knew her best—her daughters and grandchildren.
The film is enhanced with animation by granddaughter Bianca Stone, an accomplished poet and artist, and rare archival 16mm footage by Sidney Wolinsky of Ruth entertaining students and reciting poetry. Ruth’s home in Goshen, Vermont is also a star of the film. We see its transformation from a ramshackle and decrepit farmhouse to an inviting and vibrant poetry center.
Pulitzer Prize winner Sharon Olds: “Ruth Stone’s poems are mysterious, hilarious, powerful...They are understandable, but not simple...She has a tragic deadpan humor: love and destruction are right next to each other.”
Pulitzer Prize winner Galway Kinnell: “Her poems startle us with their shapeliness, their humor, their youthfulness, their wild aptness, their strangeness, their sudden familiarity, the moral gulps they prompt, their fierce exactness of language and memory.”