Ruth Ellen Kocher is the author of the forthcoming collections Goodbye Lyric: New and Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow Press 2014), Ending in Planes (Red Hen Press 2014), domina Un/blued (Tupelo Press 2012), and also One Girl Babylon (New Issues Press 2003), When the Moon Knows You’re Wandering, Winner of the Green Rose Prize in Poetry (New Issues Press 2002), and Desdemona’s Fire, winner of the Naomi Long Madget Award for African American Poets (Lotus Press 1999). Her poems have been translated into Persian in the Iranian literary magazine She’r and have appeared or are forthcoming in various anthologies including, Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poets, Black Nature, From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great, An Anthology for Creative Writers: The Garden of Forking Paths, IOU: New Writing On Money, New Bones: Contemporary Black Writing in America. Her short film and visual poetry project After Wind is installed at Trickhouse: The Parlor in an curated collection of digital poetry online. She has been awarded fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets, and Yaddo. She is the MFA Program Director at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she teaches Poetry, Poetics, and Literature. She has taught poetry writing for the University of Missouri, Southern Illinois University, the New England College Low Residency MFA program, the Indiana Summer Writer’s workshop, and Washington University’s Summer Writing program. She is a Contributing Editor at Poets & Writers Magazine and edits the online publication for writers, ABOUTAWORD.org.
The 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.
One Girl Babylon: A Green Rose Selection
“This versatile poet blinks at nothing under the stars. Speaking and singing in the many voices and key signatures of poetry, our primal human language, Ruth Ellen Kocher shines and sheds visible and audible light. And to darkness and ignorance, light is still spiritual Kryptonite.” — Al Young