Poetry. African American Studies. Winner of the 2001 Green Rose Prize. WHEN THE MOON KNOWS YOU'RE WANDERING turns on the theme of lost and found paths, of being perpetually lost and then found. But even more than lost, driven to abandon the paths of one's past. The moon in the title poem serves as landmark, tool of navigation, and silent witness. The speaker, distracted by the world, wanders, spiritually and physically, searching for some anchor that will return her to a significant sense of "home." She becomes a migrant of sorts, finding her way by what is common to all of us: landscape, song, and memory. Resolution for the speaker comes not in the journey but in the return to the simple articles of a life, the things we call home.
"If we are all sometimes lost, as these haunting poems recognize, the gift is that we are lost in this world, a world Kocher's compelling and often searingly tender voice speaks from. Here, our most private moments are connected to the most distant and public—from the dream of a lost lover in the form of a white crane woven inextricably with a Peruvian earthquake in `Long Arm Forward,' down to the quietest single image in 'At Home the People Sing' where language itself remains 'a doorway, to remind us our lives / are not a pain we dream / to remind us we are alive.' WHEN THE MOON KNOWS YOU'RE WANDERING is, in short, a very wise, beautiful and moving book."—Beckian Fritz Goldberg
Author City: BOULDER, CO USA
Ruth Ellen Kocher is the author of ENDING IN PLANES (Noemi Press, 2014), Goodbye Lyric: The Gigans and Lovely Gun (The Sheep Meadow Press, 2014), DOMINA UN/BLUED (Tupelo Press, 2013), nominated for the PEN/American Open Book Award 2014, ONE GIRL BABYLON (New Issues Press, 2003), WHEN THE MOON KNOWS YOU'RE WANDERING (New Issues Press, 2002), and Desdemona's Fire (Lotus Press 1999). Her poems have been anthologized most recently in Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poets and Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry. She has been awarded fellowships from Cave Canem and Yaddo. She is a Contributing Editor for Poets & Writers Magazine and directs the Creative Writing Program at the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Reviews and Other Links