She was born in Roanoke, Virginia. She raised three daughters alone after her husband, professor Walter Stone, committed suicide in 1959. She wrote that her poems are “love poems, all written to a dead man” whose death caused her to “reside in limbo” with her daughters. For twenty years she traveled the US, teaching creative writing at many universities, including the University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, University of California, Davis, Brandeis University, and finally settling at State University of New York Binghamton. She died at her home in Ripton, Vermont, on November 19, 2011.
Ruth Stone is the author of thirteen books of poetry. She is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the 2002 National Book Award for Poetry (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 Writers’ Award (with which she bought plumbing for her house), two Guggenheim Fellowships (one of which roofed her house), the Delmore Schwartz Award, the Cerf Lifetime Achievement Award from the state of Vermont, and the Shelley Memorial Award. In July 2007, she was named poet laureate of Vermont. Her most recent book of poetry, What Love Comes To: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2008) was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. The voice of Ruth Stone reading her poem “Be Serious” is featured in the film, USA The Movie. Paintbrush: A Journal of Poetry and Translation 27 (2000/2001) was devoted entirely to Stone’s work. The Ruth Stone Poetry Prize awarded by The Vermont College of Fine Arts and their literary journal Hunger Mountain is in its sixth year.
- June, 08, 1915
- Roanoke, Virginia
- November, 19, 2011
- Ripton, Vermont