‘Woman With Crows’ is an antidote to fear. – Jendi Reiter, Author, “Bullies In Love”

Woman With Crows

Ruth Thompson returned to writing in her fifties, after freeing herself from an abusive marriage, about which she writes in Woman With Crows.

In this book she creates a new mythology of the divine feminine, from encounters with hungry ghosts to the fool-crone, “dancing what she does not know to dance.”

Review from Jendi Reiter (7/27/14)

Of the numerous poetry books I’ve read this year, Ruth Thompson’s Woman with Crows (Saddle Road Press, 2013) is the most personally meaningful to me. I just turned 42, undeniably middle-aged, and my son starts preschool this fall. All around me, it seems, are warnings and laments that youth is fleeting, and we must cling to each moment lest it pass us by unnoticed. Woman with Crows is an antidote to fear.

This poetry collection, earthy yet mythical, celebrates the spiritual wisdom of the Crone, the woman with crows (and crows’ feet). Because of her conscious kinship with nature, the speaker of these poems embraces the changes that our artificial culture has taught us to dread. Fatness recurs as a revolutionary symbol of joy: a woman’s body is not her enemy, and scarcity is not the deepest truth. For her, the unraveling of memory and the shedding of possessions are not a story of decline but a fairy tale of transformation. One could say that, like Peter Pan, she expects that death will be a very big adventure!

If this all sounds terribly sentimental and “uplifting”, don’t worry. She’s not a sweet, neutered old granny. There are fireworks here, and snakes, and “ooze shining and blooming and with sex in it.” (Reiter’s Block)

Woman With Crows was a finalist for the AROHO “To the Lighthouse” Prize and includes poems that won the New Millennium Writings and Harpur Palate awards. “Dementia” was a finalist in the Tupelo Quarterly 3 poetry contest. The California Journal of Women Writers featured a fantastic interview on 6/19/14.

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

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, The Torah Garden
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 …
Irving Feldman
Author, Collected Poems 1954-2004
Reader, what a journey you’re in for! This book tells the tales of a lifetime, traversing landscapes from childhood to grandmotherhood. ‘Let us throw away caution, / emblazon our retinas / with the flare and flame of it,’ exhorts Ruth Thompson early in the collection; then she proceeds to do just that, in poems by turns whimsical, pathetic, excruciating, exuberant and unflinching. Here, as in life, mourning and celebration often cohabitate; whether she’s praising the ‘lost otter of the body’ or exhuming family trauma, Woman with Crows will keep you enthralled.
Ruth L. Schwartz
Author, Miraculum
She is a woman writer for women writers; there is a clear sense of feminine community in her work that is as pragmatic as it is mythic.
Claire Farley
The California Journal of Women Writers
There are many Zen-like moments of pure being in these poems, and there is also grief and questioning … “Let me grow a word for this,” she says in “Humus,” and grows many words, meditations, songs, hymns, memories, biographies, and tales … [in]to a kind of wise triumph.
Frank X. Gaspar
Author, Late Rapturous

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