Ruth Stone (1915–2011) authored over a dozen poetry collections in her lifetime, though it wasn’t until 2002, when she was eighty-seven years old, that she began to garner wider acclaim after receiving the National Book Award for In the Next Galaxy. Her other honors are numerous: the Bess Hokin Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Wallace Stevens Award, and two fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, among others.

This year marks one hundred years since Stone's birth and to commemorate her centennial, her granddaughter Hillery Stone has written the essay “Relative Strangers: Remembering My Grandmother Ruth Stone.” In the essay Hillery Stone writes, “This is how I see my grandmother in the still place behind my eyes: a radical, a pillar, the dramatic ruler on the peak; a brilliant storm of a woman who might have loved us all madly, or might not have.”

Examining the complexities of memory and loss, Hillery Stone reveals the different sides of Ruth Stone—as mother, as grandmother, as poet, as teacher—and the last hours of the beloved poet’s life.

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