The Sapphires

The Sapphires

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Helen Ruggieri published her first poem in The English Journal in 1972. Since then, she’s published close to 200 poems in little magazines, academic journals and anthologies. Her first book, The Poetess, was published in 1983 followed by two chapbooks, Concrete Madonna and The Rock City Hill Exercises. Later books include Glimmer Girls, Butterflies Under a Japanese Moon, The Kingdom Where Everybody Sings Off Key, and The Kingdom Where No One Keeps Time. She also has two books of creative nonfiction: The Character for Woman and Camping in the Galaxy. Additionally, she has edited an anthology about the Allegheny River, Written on Water.

Ruggieri taught for 20 years at the University of Pittsburgh, Bradford, PA, and led writing workshops for the Mental Health Association, the African American Center for Cultural Development, and at the Olean Public Library where she coordinated the reading series sponsored by NYSCA for 10 years. With a grant from the local Arts Council, she led writing workshops across the county and also worked with Alternative Literary Programs in the School for several years. She coordinates a poetry contest for area high school students for the Friends of the Olean Library. Over the years she has organized readings in bars, schools, libraries, even furniture stores.

As a member of the University of Pittsburgh’s East Asian Studies faculty, she spent a semester in Japan at Yokohama College and received a grant to video locations on the road from Kyoto to Kamakura documenting the trip of a 14th century Japanese nun, Abutsu, author of Journal of the Waning Moon. She has published many award-winning haiku, including the Kasamakura prize for foreign language entries.

Ruggieri has an MA from St. Bonaventure University and an MFA from Penn State and was named a notable grad. She studied at the Atlantic Center for the Arts with William Stafford and after the month-long workshop the 12 students in the group started a newsletter called Verbal Events which continued for 25 years with annual reunions across the U.S.

Ruggieri received a lifetime achievement award from Who’s Who. Her work has been reviewed in many magazines which can be seen on her website You can also view videos of her readings, see work samples, and read entries from her blog.

Ruggieri has read from her works in many places in the New York State and Pennsylvania area. She has read at Writers and Books in Rochester, NY; Gray Hair Series in Buffalo, NY, including 100,000 poets for peace at Silo City in Buffalo; Word Thursday in the Catskills; Byrdcliffe in Woodstock, NY; Albany, NY; and many other venues in the area.

Contact her at for readings. Visit Amazon for copies of her books.

Paperback: 76 pages
Publisher: Kelsay Books (April 6, 2023)