In Crazing I am writing about dementia, loss (and rediscovery) of the self, drought, and environmental collapse.
“My body and the earth’s body are one,” as I have said elsewhere. These two threads – my “crazing” skin and mind, and the similarly delaminating body of earth – interweave in this book. There is deep grief, elegy for what is leaving, but also joy – even one’s own mental cracks and the drought-stricken earth are transformed by “laughter’s fire.”
“Who are you and what do you love?” is the question of the book, and the answer, despite loss of memory and the earth’s “seepage toward empty,” is “this, this, this, this …”
I hope this book will connect with those who are dealing with dementia, those in grief about aging, those in despair over the future of our planet.
Review from Jendi Reiter (6/28/15)
Contemporary poet Ruth Thompson inspires me with her vision of mature womanhood and life in harmony with nature. The mature and courageous poems in her latest chapbook, Crazing (Saddle Road Press, 2015), teach us to discern the difference between natural and unnatural change. She 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. At the same time, her embrace of the cycles of nature empassions her to resist alterations that are sudden, irreversible, and a dead end for life on this planet.
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. (Reiter’s Block)