Ruth Madievsky

Ruth Madievsky (Poetry) | Boston, MA

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Originally from Moldova, Ruth Madievsky is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist living in Boston. Her debut poetry collection, Emergency Brake, was published by Tavern Books as their 2015 Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series selection. Emergency Brake has spent five months on Small Press Distribution’s Poetry Bestsellers List and is one of their top 30 bestselling books in any genre of the last several years. Ruth Madievsky’s poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, Prairie Schooner, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. She was the winner of The American Poetry Review’s Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize, The Iowa Review’s Tim McGinnis Award for fiction, and a Tin House scholarship in poetry. Currently, she is working on her second poetry collection, a collection of linked short stories about urban loneliness and the opiate epidemic, and a book of essays. When she is not writing, she works as an HIV and oncology pharmacist.


Emergency Brake (Tavern Books, 2016). Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series. Poetry.

Blurbs, Press, & Reviews

“Ruth Madievsky’s first collection is an announcement like a bomb going off, like a super wave coming to swallow us up! For my part I am thrilled to be taken away by such energetic, funny, and heartbreaking work. This is a new voice made of sunlight, knives, emergencies, heat, honesty, bottles of vodka, and a tanker full of talent. Madievsky has created something we should not go without.”
—Matthew Dickman

“Go ahead, try all you want pulling on Ruth Madievsky’s Emergency Brake—but just remember it won’t do you any good. This will be the most exciting and inventive first book you have read in years, and this poet’s take-no-prisoners attitude makes for an ecstatic joyride. These deeply moving poems reflect the raw darkness paring at the edges of our lives, and they reveal how that dark can sometimes move to the very centers of our being. Sexy, irreverent, sorrowful, thrilling—the poems of Emergency Brake become a young woman’s survival manual for the Twenty-First Century: ignore it at your own peril.”
—David St. John

“The social importance of Emergency Brake doesn’t come at the cost of artful finesse; a cleverly engineered speaker who invites distrust through sly direction guides us through the collection’s gallery of sex and Los Angeles sprawl…”
Columbia Journal

“Two amazing things are happening in Emergency Brake, and they happen to be just what I need in a poetry collection: metaphors that leap and dazzle, guided from cover to cover by spoonfuls of narrative…Emergency Brake is filled with boxcar after boxcar of metaphors you’ll wish you wrote, but Madievsky got to them first. You’ll want to hate her if it wasn’t for that sugary child jumping up and down behind your ribs, yelling, “Do it again! Do it again!”
—Harpur Palate

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