Search This Blog for Authors, Publishers, Reviewers and Books

Add Your Logo or Avatar to This New Book Review Reader List:

Friday, August 1, 2014

Poet Finds Fellow Poets New Book Personally Satisfying

Title: "Woman with Crows" (Saddle Road Press, 2013)
Author: Ruth Thompson
Genre: Poetry
ISBN 978-0-9833072-8-0


REVIEWED BY Jendi Reiter originally for  www.jendireiter.com

 
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.”

Ruth has kindly allowed me to reprint the poems below. “Fat Time” was first published in New Millennium Writings as the winner of their 2007 poetry prize.

Visit her website for more great work.

Fat Time
Under purest ultramarine the raised
goblets of trees overrun with gold.
We should be reeling drunk and portly as groundhogs
through these windfalls of russet, citron, bronze, chartreuse.
Everywhere color pools like butter, like oil of ripe nuts,
like piles of oranges under a striped tent.
Oh, let us be greedy of eyeball,
pigs scuffling in this gorgeous swill!
Let us cud this day
and spend the winter ruminant.
Let us write fat poems, and be careless.
Let us go bumbling about in wonder, legs
coated with goldenrod and smelling of acorns.
Let us be unctuous with scarlet and marigold,
larder them here, behind our foreheads
to glow in the brain’s lamps
in the time of need.
Each tree a sun!
Let us throw away caution,
emblazon our retinas
with the flare and flame of it
so that in the unleavened winter
this vermilion spill, this skyfall,
these oils of tangerine, smears of ochre and maroon
will heat a spare poem, dazzle the eye’s window,
feed us like holy deer on the blank canvas of snow.

****

Travel Instructions for Elmwood Avenue
You leave the sepia light of the tea restaurant,
lapsang and peony, earth and green twig,
continuo of quiet human voices.
Outside is rain, fat frying, damp exhaust, sputum,
spit of tires on a wet street, brakes tuned
to the pulse of streetlights: green, amber, red, green.
You blunder, glasses fringed with rainbows,
until your own hands swim out before you—
greeny in the headlights, strange as ectoplasm.
Light laps from shattered planes of reflection,
emerges and re-emerges from sheeting brilliance.
Dimension becomes dimension, a turned fan.
Now darkness hums like a bowed string,
anchored somewhere you cannot see,
one end floating here in the spinning world
and what has always sung from around the corner
is no longer apart from you—
it is here, upon you—that blaze of tenderness!


MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ruth Thompson is a poet, a performer, and a teacher of writing, yoga, and meditation. She has written two books of poems, Woman With Crows (2013) and Here Along Cazenovia Creek (2011), which was performed by the famous dancer Shizuno Nasu.
 
MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Jendi Reiter is the author of the poetry collections A Talent for Sadness (Turning Point Books, 2003), Swallow (Amsterdam Press, 2009), and Barbie at 50 (Cervena Barva Press, 2010). Awards include a 2010 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists' Grant for Poetry, the 2013 Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize, the 2012 Betsy Colquitt Award for Poetry from Descant magazine, the 2011 James Knudsen Editor's Prize in Fiction from Bayou Magazine, the 2011 OSA Enizagam Award for Fiction, the 2010 Anderbo Poetry Prize, and second prize in the 2010 Iowa Review Awards for Fiction. She is the editor of WinningWriters.com, an online resource site for creative writers. Follow her on Twitter @JendiReiter.
Follow Jendi on Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/jendireiter 
"Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise."
Surangama Sutra
 
 

-----
The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

No comments: