Here Along Cazenovia Creek

In 2005 I moved from California, where I had lived all my life, to the beautiful hill country of western New York, with its creeks and woods and pastures, its small farms and villages, and its four intense seasons.

I had never lived in a place with real seasons before, and I was stunned.

My first book of poems came out of this experience. It is a sequence of praise songs celebrating the turning seasons in our farmhouse that backed onto Cazenovia Creek.

It was the basis for “Dancing the Seasons,” a performance of dance and poetry with the great Japanese dancer Shizuno Nasu.

VIDEO: “Spring” | “Summer” | “Fall/Winter”

At once earthy and full of spirit and mystery, this chapbook celebrates a vivid cycle of the seasons in the hill country of western New York. It includes “Fat Time,” which won the New Millennium Writings Award in 2007.

Purchase this book through Powell’s, IndieBound, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

Ruth Thompson’s vivid cycle of the seasons – with its rich enumerations, its animated landscapes, its effusive witness – belongs to the world of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ sacramental poems. But where Hopkins finds nature one vast evidence of God’s presence, Ruth Thompson’s secular vision employs the myth of Persephone – wintering underground, reborn in spring – to give experience meaning. And yet hers is no common, garden variety Persephone. In the cycle’s shattering last lines (“And we are home. / But we are never kin.”), the newborn Persephone refuses her birthright and declares her alienation and becomes a disaffiliated spirit hovering over the world she has so lovingly brought to life.
Irving Feldman
Author, Collected Poems 1954-2004
Here is a poetry buoyant and wise, expert in observation, celebrating the natural world with imagination, celebration, and illumination. Ruth Thompson’s poetic ancestors are Whitman and Williams and Oliver, yet she has reached into her own distinction as “the chickadees” who “peck through, discard,/picky as women squeezing fruit.” I love these poems for their being at once earthy and full of spirit and mystery. Like the best poems, they make me “greedy of eyeball” like “pigs scuffling in this gorgeous swill.” Yes!
Philip Terman
Author, Rabbis of the Air

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