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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 in 1990 and an MFA and a PhD from Arizona State University in 1994 and 1999, respectively.

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 Cave Canem Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has previously taught at the University of Missouri, Southern Illinois University, and New England College. She currently serves as a professor at the University of Colorado–BoulderShe 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
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
poem

Jupiter means anger. Sun Ra does not. Sun Ra dances the Cake Walk on Saturn’s pulpy eyes. If you believe that, I’ll tell you another one. The first is 13 and the next is 20. They were not good boys but they were boys. They were boys who died for this thing or that. The next was 16 and

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