Born in Roanoke, Virginia, Ruth Stone grew up in Indiana and Illinois and was educated at the University of Illinois. Although she did not publish her first book until 1958 and withheld her next book until 1970, she nevertheless had a long and distinguished career. It was also, however, a career very much on the margins of the poetry establishment, about which "Some Things You'll Need to Know / Before You Join the Union" testifies with devastating wit. She went her own way, devoted more to writing her poetry than publishing it, courting few journals, living on a New England farm while serving occasionally as poet-in-residence at various universities, including the State University of New York at Binghamton, and all the while honing an intensely lyrical voice with a sharp edge of awareness about the politics of gender in America.
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