THE POEMS OF EUGENE RUGGLES
poetry is wise and full of beauty and compassion"
( Lawrence Ferlinghetti, July 4, 1999 in a letter of recommendaton for the
post of Poet Laureate of Sonoma County.)
Also from Lawrence Ferlinghetti, May 2011:
"An important contribution to our poetry culture"
knew Eugene Ruggles was a very fine poet but reading him now I’m
astounded and moved to the word “great.” Like others of us, though
I fought it, especially toward the end, I couldn’t entirely separate
his aesthetic from his personal tragedy. But Roads of Bread, The
Collected Poems is absolutely stunning. Amazing to see how profound
he was a nature poet! The fusion of flesh and earth is in almost
every poem and is the root of his interiority, his surrealism.Great
love poems and many great death ones. I’m left breathless and grateful
by his leaps. His politicalness is so fierce, yet without dogma or
cliché, that after awhile it seems a profound description of two
entirely different species has occurred—those who love life and those
who rip it off. Read him now, you too will be astounded. “Those who
lose their way/yet dream of the young after them/shall be discovered.”
Roads of Bread is for the young, and for all of us from then.
Thank you Gene. You shall be discovered."
Doubiago, "My Father's Love, Portrait of the Poet as a Young
Girl," "Love on the Streets, Selected and New Poems.")
can truly be said of Eugene Ruggles that all of his poems are love
poems. Love of the natural world, of women, children, of self and of
The Lifeguard in the Snow thirty–one years after its publication, I
find Muriel Rukeyser’s words on the back cover remain true:
poems have been gathering power and music until The Lifeguard in the
Snow is here in full mastery. Intimate, courageous, western, it is
a fresh gift to American Poetry.”I suspect
it will be a fresh gift thirty years from now. A new collection, or
the publication of this poet’s complete work will come as another “fresh
gift” to American poetry. This poet
of raw, Irish nerve, gifted with language and a vision, dives deeply
in his strongest work to a place where disturbance occurs at the core
of our emotional status quo. His evocations of nature and of self in
their many dimensions are felt viscerally. The images he brings in
surprise and unsettle. A startling, original vision is evoked containing
both the terror and the beauty of our mortality. His
honesty continues to lay bare his soul, and ours."
Tuggle, Sonoma County, California Poet Laureate 2008–2009)
"He spoke from the utter simplicity and complication of a mind dedicated
to truth and justice."
“Gene's most astounding characteristic is his heart,'” said his longtime
friend, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. "He really empathizes with the
downtrodden and the down-and-out.''
(From the Obituary by Steve Rubenstein,
Chronicle Staff Writer Friday, June 4, 2004)
"These poems have been gathering power and music until The Lifeguard
in the Snow is here in full mastery. Intimate, courageous, western,
it is a fresh gift to American poetry"
(Muriel Rukeyser, 1977)
"Eugene Ruggles was a poetry activist most of his adult life, after
really discovering poetry while in the Marines. He organized beautiful
poetry and reading events in San Francisco, Petaluma and elsewhere— somewhere
between fifteen and twenty major poetry readings and benefits since 1968,
according to my estimate."
"In 2000, Ruggles presented a benefit at the Phoenix Theater for its
arts program, which raised $3000 to upgrade and renovate that historic
Petaluma community space. It included performances by Poets Laureate David
Bromige, Don Emblen, and ex-San Francisco Poet Laureate Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Let us continue his legacy by expanding the scope and focus of this kind of
event. Eugene Ruggles was a major poet writing in English. May his writings be
(Carl Macki, on his blog):
"He could be a little freewheeling himself, but his
poetry was perfectly controlled. He had a perfect ear and a sense
of craft, and his poems had a broad heart.''
Poet Kaye McDonough)
"Gene's most astounding characteristic
is his heart,''
(Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti)
had the ability to reach the essence of people -- the pain, the suffering,
the joy -- and write about it so passionately,"
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