In stock

ISBN: 978-1-62557-700-9
Categories Poetry


Publication Date: December 2018


Compression has always been one of the poet’s most powerful and intoxicating tools, their process of sculpting the poem until it advances for inspection only its most essential mysteries and delights. In Ruth Baumann’s fearless, commanding debut collection, Parse, it becomes something more-the strategy more spiritual than aesthetic, with the stakes being nothing less than the poet’s own soul. It’s rare to see a debut poet build such alluring density, or such incantatory silence. Baumann’s is a devastating, urgent music: “Above the frame bells toll. / All blood out of / focus. Can you hear?”

-Kaveh Akbar

It is necessary, at times, for the reader’s heart to be wrenched loose from its safe chamber where it doesn’t have to look at lives shattered by violence. Parse is an impossibly unflinching work of insight by a poet who has “heard/ a bird cry in the middle of the night// like it needed dawn now.” With unparalleled intellectual and artistic honesty, Ruth Baumann articulates a childhood ransacked by familial havoc and an adolescence undone by sexual violence. Like our very best poetry, Parse is written for others, and literature’s human truth is broadened by its presence. Here is an injured, unsettling and, yes, a living song.

-Katie Ford

Ruth Baumann’s Parse is a gorgeous mosaic of the fractured pieces of trauma, the glittering jagged shards of memory and annihilation, adoration and loathing, utter darkness and divine light. This is a journey into the soul’s dark night, but one that is illuminated by the lantern of art. A beautiful and touching debut collection.

-Barbara Hamby

About the Author

© Kenneth L. Johnson

Ruth Baumann

Ruth Baumann is the author of two poetry collections: Thornwork (Black Lawrence Press) & Parse (Black Lawrence Press). She is also the author of five chapbooks, including These Tornadoes (dancing girl press), A Thousand Ars Poeticas (Sixth Finch), & I’ll Love You Forever & Other Temporary Valentines (Salt Hill). She holds a PhD from Florida State University & an MFA from the University of Memphis, & is currently Visiting Teaching Faculty at Florida State University. More is available at www.ruthbaumann.com.

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