Early responses to CRAZING

crazing rc 01I’m so moved by these early responses to CRAZING!

(Please contact me if you would like a review copy!)

From Jessamyn Smyth, author of Kitsune:  These poems vibrate on the page with essential, powerful life-force, in language as playful and gorgeously-lit as it is sharply wise. Thompson’s work offers multiple intelligences we direly need in our mortal, vulnerable passage through this beautiful and difficult world, “our great bright barge of stone and light.”

From Sandra Hunter, author of Losing Touch: Ruth Thompson’s new chapbook sings with beauty, loss, and hope. Her poems boom and soar, full of movement and sensory experience caught in gorgeous, chewable language. Some poets’ work can be read silently: but these pieces demand to be read out loud with open throat, shoulders back, and feet ready to dance. Haul your poetry shorts on and get ready for the goose-bumps up and down your legs!

From Jendi Reiter, author of Bullies in Love: Ruth Thompson responds with extraordinary grace and playfulness to the scattering of her mental and physical abilities in old age, the “crazing” of the glaze that gives the vessel its character, the cracks in the body’s shell from which the spirit emerges like a baby chick. She mourns not for herself but for lost tree species, droughts, and future generations who may “die thirsty, telling stories of our green shade.”

From the cover: “Beginning where “The White Queen” (Woman With Crows) ends, in the loss of ‘memory, cleverness, concentration’ and the hope of ‘light through the cracks,’ this new book by poet Ruth Thompson explores aging, loss, and the ‘delamination’ of the earth whose body she shares. ‘We are blown here out of sight of ourselves,’ she writes, ‘staggering and dismayed.’ Yet dissolution resolves in expansion, laughter, joy – ‘seeing, in this dire wind, what there is to worship.’


Here’s the title poem from Crazing, which will be coming out at the beginning of August. (My apologies; I am unable to make the software reproduce the formatting of the original poem.)


Cracked creek-bed

red clay crackling –

crazed they call it

it’s called crazing

and I am crazing

cracking open like a chick from a shell

or pressing outward
that’s more like it –

filling out

and the skin cracks!

these wrinkles
are the stigmata
of transformation!

Or de-formation

growing more and more peculiar
as what is inside squirms
and pushes with its heels –

O lumpy skin-sack!
O my Africa!

mapping yourself outward
in rift-zones, thready tributaries –

See the glaze crack?
And the glazed eyes craze?

Yes.         This.        It’s me.


Goat Song for Spring

Here’s a new poem for Spring, for the Year of the Wood Goat (MY sign!) and for all of us who have “come back to laughter.”

Goat Song
Goat-skipping down I come
ringing my chime of bells –

gold-eyed goat-fool, ancient
madwoman, blind eyes blue with sky.

Bell-spilled from snowtop
through lupine and buttercup and gold-throat lilies
whuffling snow-smell noisy as a horse.

Narrow hooves clatter me straight up-boulder
and I kick heels for nothing but fun, buck bell-spangles

into icy mineral-scented air.

When I was a child I lived in trees
swam across mudpuddles, careened
down hills, dizzy as a roundhouse.

I rolled in the backyard tickling
my cousins – giggling, squint-eyed,
rosy with pleasure.

Now I’ve come back to laughter –
late in the day and maybe sun-blinded –
to drown in dirt, galaxies whirling

headlong rolling down
the mountain of my life,

bells clanging, goat-mad.