Whale Fall & Black Sage traces the path into our deepest territory, that realm in which there is no separation between darkness and light, between utter undoing and coming into being. These poems are ‘full of all the voices she can carry’ and they hold together both the stern lesson of whale fall, ‘Go down. / Now you must love that too,’ and the crow-companion’s glinting ‘song of being alive and fine to see.’ Their journey is the heroine’s journey, sacred, dark and shining.”

—Diane Gilliam, author of Kettle Bottom and Dreadful Wind & Rain


“Storyteller, mythmaker and muse, Ruth Thompson uses daring diction and uninhibited voice to create this seamlessly blended two-part world of death, danger, magic and jubilation. What a rich and original metaphor is the re-purposed whale body. What an exuberant song is the woman rising from the imperfect body of self and world. In this bright, witty, and fierce collection, we join the poet as she discovers and celebrates what it means to be alive.”

—Barbara Rockman, author of Sting and Nest, winner of the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award.


“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


$18 (Kindle $7.99)

Ruth Thompson

Whale Fall & Black Sage