Ruth Thompson

Hilo, HI 96720

Author's Bio

Ruth Thompson is the author of four books of poetry: Whale Fall & Black Sage (2018), Crazing (2015), Woman With Crows (2013), and Here Along Cazenovia Creek (2011). Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and have won New Millennium Writings (twice), Harpur Palate, Chautauqua and Tupelo Quarterly awards. She has collaborated with modern dancers to create "Whale Fall," based on poems from her most recent book, and other work has been choreographed by Shizuno Nasu and Jenn Eng. Thompson's work currently appears or is forthcoming in Poetry Flash, bosque, Tar River Poetry, and The American Poetry Journal. It has been published in New Millennium Writings, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Chautauqua, Potomac Review, Naugatuck River Review, Comstock Review and elsewhere. Thompson is an alumnae of the Rivendell Writers Colony in Sewanee, TN. She was a contributor at the 2011, 2013, and 2015 AROHO (A Room of Her Own Foundation) women writers’ retreats at Ghost Ranch, NM, and has also been a co-artist in residence for Portales, NM. She received a BA from Stanford and a doctorate in English from Indiana University. She teaches poetry, meditation, and writing from the body/writing from nature, and is editor of a small literary press in Hilo, Hawai’i. Poems, videos of dance/poetry performances, and a brief film of Thompson talking about her work are on her website,, and her youtube channel,

Publications and Prizes

(Saddle Road Press, 2015)
, Here Along Cazenovia Creek
(Saddle Road Press, 2011)
, Woman with Crows
(Word Press, 2012)
Chautauqua, Harpur Palate, Naugatuck River Review, New Millennium Writings, Sonora Review, Sow's Ear Poetry Review, The Comstock Review, The Potomac Review, Tupelo Quarterly
Prizes Won: 
New Millennium Writings Poetry Award 23 (2007) for "Fat Time," shared with Vivian Shipley.Harpur Palate Milton Kessler Memorial Prize for Poetry (2009) for "The Owl."Woman with Crows was a finalist for the AROHO To The Lighthouse Prize in 2011.

Personal Favorites

What I'm Reading Now: 
Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley by Ann Pancake
Ordinary Light by Tracy K Smith
Home Ground by Barry Lopez
Late Rapturous by Frank X Gaspar
Landmarks by Rober Macfarlane

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Berkeley, CA
The White Queen Comes the White Queen worrying and hurrying to keep up and losing her hairpins. Mind pieces slip out of their sockets. Because it is all held together with hairpins — the old kind, meant to be invisible? And they were invisible. I didn’t know they were there holding my mind together until I started to lose it. Someone whose name I should remember talks of the sweet dishevelment of love, but this dishevelment is not sweet. Or perhaps I am wrong, perhaps I should no, could, because one should speak only in possibilities not rules but where was I I could perhaps experience this dishevelment as sweet — this mental coming apart or opening up, which is a more appealing concept — the mind dropping hairpins not in the process of falling off in chunks but of opening up. Light through the cracks. So this dropping off of things — of memory, cleverness, concentration — perhaps is not matter for grief but sign of expansion. If poetry cannot be made, perhaps it will come in as a gift. Joy creating everything, even this. Even the White Queen, silly and confused and showering silver hairpins so beautiful and full of light.
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Last updated: Dec 08, 2018