At the beginning of Whale Fall & Black Sage, “three strange angels” command the poet: “Go down./ Now you must love that too.“ Embarking on a journey to become fully present with the world as it is, she descends into the darkness of whale fall, encountering strange creatures, a world of death and rebirth. Returning, she moves through a natural world that is conscious, infused with meaning. The book ends with a fully embodied Whitmanesque crow. In Whale Fall & Black Sage, the praise poems of Here Along Cazenovia Creek have deepened and become more resonant: “This is the blood/of black sage:/resinous, unfailing.//A leaf crushed/between fingers like this/saves us from desolation.”



“Ruth Thompson’s very beautiful poems about Ruths and Whales and Bears and even Minotaurs are prayers we all need, prayers she gives us here in all she sees.  And we thank her.”

— Esther Cohen, author of Breakfast With Allen Ginsberg, and many other books



“...poems that thread and weave through a mythic mapping of the self…shap[ing] a body that travels through light and dark, hunger and nourishment…to save the self against isolation and desolation. These poems are, ultimately, about renewal, about following a songline “of being alive and fine to see” in order to find our way home.”

—Maura MacNeil, author of Lost Houses and A History of Water


ISBN  9781732952102

December 21, 2018

$18 (Kindle $7.99)

Ruth Thompson

Whale Fall & Black Sage