Black Lawrence Press
November 12, 2018

Welcome back, Ruth Baumann!

This month we are celebrating the titles that we’ve acquired during 2018. These manuscripts came to us through our open reading periods. Today we bring you Ruth Baumann, author of the poetry collection Thornwork, which will be published in the summer of 2020. This will be Ruth’s third title with Black Lawrence Press.

Have a manuscript you think we’d like? During our November Open Reading Period we are looking for poetry (chapbooks and full-length collections), short fiction (again, both chapbooks and full-length collections), novels, novellas, nonfiction (CNF, biography, cultural studies) and translations from German. Also, our Big Moose Prize for the novel is currently open to early bird submissions.

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The Author

Ruth Baumann is a PhD student at Florida State University & holds an MFA from the University of Memphis. She is also a co-editor of Nightjar Review. She’s the author of four chapbooks: A Thousand Are Poeticas (Sixth Finch), Retribution Binary (Black Lawrence Press), wildcold (Slash Pines Press), & I’ll Love You Forever & Other Temporary Valentines (Salt Hill). Poems are published in Colorado Review, Sonora Review, Sycamore Review, The Journal, Third Coast & others listed at www.ruthbaumann.com.

 

 

On writing Thornwork

These poems came out of a series of questions about love, relationships, and fulfillment. I took a year off dating & tried to piece together how I felt about being alone, how I felt about finding fulfillment in romantic or family relationships versus in community building & social activism, & — at the heart of it all, of course— how to find hope & empathy in a world where the ground is shifting. I of course don’t have all (or some days, most) of the answers, but the time spent in pause & seeking helped me imagine a fuller world inside & around myself, a world where I wasn’t running from anything. These poems inhabit the spaces between question & answer, & often live in question, but they served as stepping-stones towards a more honest, independent, & kind life (I hope).

Excerpts

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Accident Report
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Our heads, sweet-ish, sought pillows.
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Light bent itself to get through the barred windows,
even in night, even alone,
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a single prophecy of light wondering
if it was insane, to keep going.
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The world outside set itself
like the broken bone it was,
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but it had no doctors, & it did
what we all do with no expertise
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& scrappy, childish pride—
it made new hurts, defended the wounds.
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Poem, Tentative
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Outside of my comfort zone, a wide eagle in the half-moon’s fluorescence.
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A longstanding breath. The arrogance of me & me & me
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every time I really think I know. But maybe, in this galaxy,
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I’ll be given this chance. Not to disappear & not to capture.
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To say to the birds, to all the birds, I’m okay right here,
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since facing the gulf is far divorced from numbness at the gulf.
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Continuance
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Hope like a rodent walking through my head.
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So long they said when you’re older.  I’m older
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& I know as much as I know & still I get out of bed.
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The sun knitting bright, its needles caught
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on a Florida porch. I have a feeling I say.
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& that’s how every story starts: a piercing,
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a breathing, an unfixed believing.
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Requiem Requiem
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A girl once turned away from a fire &
later, fire turned from the girl—
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have you ever lost the needle to your soul?
Easy question hard answer,
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o, but it’s not love I forsake, the girl says,
we weren’t supposed to get confused about that.
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