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Ruth Ellen Kocher

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Ruth Ellen Kocher
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Ruth Ellen Kocher was born and raised in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She received a BA from Pennsylvania State University and an MFA and a PhD from Arizona State University.

Kocher is the author of several poetry collections, including Third Voice (Tupelo Press, 2016); Ending in Planes (Noemi Press, 2014); domina Un/blued (Tupelo Press, 2013), winner of the PEN Open Book Award and the Dorset Prize; and Desdemona’s Fire (Lotus Press, 1999), winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Award for African American Poets.

Of her work, Bruce Weigl writes, “At the heart of these stunning poems is a precise and imaginative examination of the thin line that separates beauty and terror, wisdom and madness, tolerance and hatred.”

Kocher has received fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a professor of English at the University of Colorado–Boulder, where she also serves as the associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences and the divisional dean for the arts and humanities. She lives in Colorado.


Bibliography

Third Voice (Tupelo Press, 2016)
Ending in Planes (Noemi Press, 2014)
Goodbye Lyric: The Gigans and Lovely Gun (Sheep Meadow Press, 2014)
domina Un/blued (Tupelo Press, 2013)
One Girl Babylon (New Issues Press, 2003)
When the Moon Knows You’re Wandering (New Issues Press, 2002)
Desdemona’s Fire (Lotus Press, 1999)

by this poet

poem

typical of an arid country among hundreds of other flora

you find half a province of avalanches 





parts are desert





I might say light defeated by a dark thing that strips

mountain and bullet 





		         no

poem
The time of birds died sometime between
When Robert Kennedy, Jr. disappeared and the Berlin
Wall came down. Hope was pro forma then.
We’d begun to talk about shelf-life. Parents
Thought they’d gotten somewhere. I can’t tell you
What to make of this now without also saying that when
I was
2
poem
At the table in patio seating, 
a young man starched into my evening 
in waiter black and white-- 
he's probably named John, Tom, 
something less spectacular than the busboy 
named Ari at the table beside me. 
He is a boy I've seen and I hide that from him, 
a silence he doesn't understand as he turns away
not