But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that
In 1949, Barbara Ras was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts. She was educated at Simmons College and at the University of Oregon where she received an MFA in Creative Writing.
Her first collection of poems, Bite Every Sorrow (LSU Press, 1998), was chosen by C. K. Williams to receive the 1997 Walt Whitman Award. In his citation, Williams said: “Barbara Ras’s poems are informed by a metaphysically erudite and whimsical intelligence...her verbal expertise and lucidity are as bright and surprising as her knowledge of the world is profound. This is a splendid book, morally serious, poetically authentic, spiritually discerning.”
Bite Every Sorrow was subsequently awarded the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. In 1999, Ras was named Georgia Poet of the Year.
Her other books of poetry include One Hidden Stuff (2006) and The Last Skin (2010). She is also the editor of a collection of short fiction in translation, Costa Rica: A Traveler’s Literary Companion (Whereabouts Press, 1994).
Ras has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She has taught at writing programs across the country and has been on the faculty of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Ras currently lives in San Antonio, where she directs Trinity University Press.