WHALE FALL & BLACK SAGE: POEMS OF THE JOURNEYISBN 9781732952102 $18 (Kindle $7.99) You can buy Whale Fall & Black Sage at … SADDLE ROAD PRESS page with downloadable press release and cover image. DESCRIPTION: At the beginning of Whale Fall & Black Sage, “three strange angels” command the poet: Go down./ Now you must love that too. She descends into the darkness of whale fall, with its strange creatures both real and imaginary, then journeys through harsh, transformative landscapes of desert and mountain, deeper and deeper into the numinous body of earth. In Whale Fall & Black Sage, the natural world of Here Along Cazenovia Creek has deepened and become transformative. The book ends with a joyous, fully embodied Whitmanesque crow. “Whale Fall & Black Sage traces the path into our deepest territory, that realm in which there is no separation between darkness and light, between utter undoing and coming into being. These poems are “full of all the voices she can carry” and they hold together both the stern lesson of whale fall, “Go down. / Now you must love that too,” and the crow-companion’s glinting “song of being alive and fine to see.” Their journey is the heroine’s journey, sacred, dark and shining.” Diane Gilliam, author of Kettle Bottom and Dreadful Wind & Rain. “Storyteller, mythmaker and muse, Ruth Thompson uses daring diction and uninhibited voice to create this seamlessly blended two-part world of death, danger, magic and jubilation. What a rich and original metaphor is the re-purposed whale body. What an exuberant song is the woman rising from the imperfect body of self and world. In this bright, witty, and fierce collection, we join the poet as she discovers and celebrates what it means to be alive.” Barbara Rockman, author of Sting and Nest and the forthcoming to cleave. “Ruth Thompson’s collection, Whale Fall & Black Sage: Poems of the Journey, are wise poems that thread and weave through a mythic mapping of the self. The poems shape a body that travels through light and dark, hunger and nourishment, in order to save the self against isolation and desolation. These poems are, ultimately, about renewal, about following a songline “of being alive and fine to see” in order to find our way home.” Maura MacNeil, author of Lost Houses and A History of Water. “Ruth Thompson’s very beautiful poems about Ruths and Whales and Bears and even Minotaurs are prayers we all need, prayers she gives us here in all she sees. And we thank her.” Esther Cohen, author of Breakfast With Allen Ginsberg and many other books. Two poems from this book were nominated for the Pushcart Prize! “Unleaving,” by Crannog: http://www.crannogmagazine.com/Pushcartpoem4757.pdf “Lightness, High Desert,” by The American Poetry Journal: https://www.apjpoetry.org/lightness-high-desert-ruth-thompson
CRAZING 2015 $13.00 ($15.50 Canada) Paperback • 5.5” x 8.5” 52 pages, Poetry ISBN 978-0-991395262 Amazon “My body and the earth’s body are one,” Thompson says in her video “Ruth Thompson Talks About Her Work.” These two threads – the poet’s “crazing” body and the dying body of earth – interweave in Crazing. Here Thompson takes us through grief, elegy, memory, and delight – finding even her own mental cracks and the drought-stricken “delaminating” earth transformed by “laughter’s fire.” “See the glaze crack?/And the glazed eyes craze? // Yes. This. It’s me.” “Who are you and what do you love?” In this book, Thompson answers with poem after poem, despite loss of memory and the earth’s “seepage toward empty:” “this, this, this, this….” “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.” Her acceptance of her personal body’s limitations shows us a humbler, more sustainable way to inhabit the body of Mother Earth.” Jendi Reiter, author of Bullies in Love and Two Natures. “Ruth Thompson’s new book Crazing 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!” Sandra Hunter, author of Losing Touch, Tripwires, and Small Change.
“Ruth Thompson’s expansive voice is equally attuned to the swamp of the earth and to the ghost-filled haunts of the spirit worlds this rich collection embodies. Thompson’s range of reference – from Buddhist ghosts to Grimm fairy tales to Sumerian and Greek goddesses to personal and ancestral tales and legends – is wide and knowing, yet always transformed by a lived and experienced imagination, in a language that is wistful in its laments, sensual in its celebrations. These courageous poems journey the dark and beautiful mysteries and bravely offer, in a lyric that is fiercely wild and refreshingly independent, deeply earned wisdoms.” Philip Terman, author of The Torah Garden and many other books. “Among these brave poems, two stand out— for their beautifully placed, speakable cadences, their light touch, their transcendent vision. In ‘Journeying West’ the pioneer women are purged of the appurtenances of the old life until, empty, they come to stand before the new life’s open sea. For ‘The White Queen,’ memory loss circles, meanders, stops, starts, becomes a via negativa leading away from the merely actual of memory and desire to imagination’s new world of the freely possible – which must appear to the reader, still burdened with memory, like the White Queen herself, just ‘silly and confused and showering / silver hairpins.’” Irving Feldman author of Collected Poems, 1954-2004 and many other books. \”Woman With Crows is an antidote to fear.” Jendi Reiter, author of Bullies in Love. Ruth Thompson writes: “Woman With Crows explored my own past of “hungry ghosts” and escape from a long abusive marriage. It ends in joy for the aging body, with the Fool-Crone “dancing what she does not know to dance.” It was a finalist for the AROHO “To the Lighthouse” Prize and includes poems that won the New Millennium Writings and Harpur Palate awards.” You can buy Woman With Crows through IndieBound , Amazon or order from your local bookstore. Saddle Road Press books are distributed nationally and internationally by Ingram.