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Ruin

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Ruin.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Cynthia Cruz(Author)

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Reader, take heed: These are no ordinary poems about childhood. In a series of secular prayers, Cynthia Cruz alludes to a girlhood colored by abuse and a brother’s death. A beautifully understated sense of menace and damage pervades this vivid, nonlinear tale.

Starred Review. The 35-poem sequence composing Cruz's chillingly powerful debut traces the coming-of-age of a girl whose family is haunted by the death of a brother, perhaps by his own hand. In language that is pleadingly clear but also, in the long wake of a shameful family secret, necessarily withholding ("Like a girl, he was always/ Trading what little he owned/ Of his life"), Cruz seeks terms with which to mourn and regain what she has lost. Two sections titled "In the Kingdom" recount a childhood as idyllic and magical ("Discover a hidden winter trapped in a snuffbox") as it is violent and dangerous ("Let's find something still alive/ Left to kill"). The remaining two sections, both called "Praying," drift into the murkier territory of the unconscious, where, shifting between family members' voices, Cruz's poems face the ghosts of the past: "I washed my silver handgun as I set/ The last dangerous dream afloat." If reconciliation comes, it does so only in the form of beauty and determination: "Set me in the field and let the stars/ have their way." Cruz is a new poet to watch. (Sept.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. “Cynthia Cruz’s passionate, intense poems inhabit a landscape of fates and fatal hungers, nightmares and dangerous desires, in which enchantment and terror are so intimate that they become one.”—Reginald Shepherd"...the poems in this first collection are almost all passionate and full of energy...Cruz says: 'I spent a lifetime inside the destruction./ And like anyone, I made a world someplace else.' These poems are that world: tough, sometimes hard to swallow, but certainly compelling."—Library Journal"To enjoy these poems...is to permit the elliptical mind of a poet deeply grieved and disquieted, who is sifting through detritus and artifacts presumably to find reconciliation, or a way to heal."—Small Spiral Notebook"This is not a book about peacocks in twilight nor should it be read in the parlor. These spare, intense poems are both terrifying and excruciatingly tender, often both at once. Rarely is mystery so lucid, rarely does poetry rush so directly to the marrow. Ruin is a brilliant debut."—Thomas Lux

2.5 (4349)
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Book details

  • PDF | 80 pages
  • Cynthia Cruz(Author)
  • Alice James Books; First Edition edition (September 1, 2006)
  • English
  • 2
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By Nathan Kotecki on December 12, 2006

    I agree with Harold Bloom's test of the potency of literature: it possesses a strangeness that forces you to change your world somehow to incorporate it, or to give up and leave your world in order to join it somewhere else. Cynthia Cruz's cycle of poems does some of each. On the surface I can make easy comparisons to Rimbaud (for the torrent of images) and Plath (for the here-take-a-look-at-my-bleeding-wrists-no-I-don't-mind-ness) but after a few readings a world that is clearly Cruz's own emerges. I have found myself describing it as gothic, then hastening to clarify that none of the stereotypical gothic trappings are here. But the aesthetic of rummaging around in the ugly to find a sliver of beauty is fascinating in her hands.So much is surprising about this collection. How the lynchpin of the whole cycle goes almost unnoticed in one of the most understated poems. How the structure is in some ways quite formal (shifts in color and symbol from before to after that lynchpin) and in other ways quite postmodern (try to pin down the way drugs figure in this text.)Clearly I am a fan; I suppose I wouldn't take the time to write a review of an obscure, slender volume of poetry if I weren't. This book is a steal, and I think it's important to support a talented poet who has made an ugly pretty thing that will meet you on its own terms.

  • By d on June 26, 2014

    Strong work

  • By Robert Beveridge on October 11, 2007

    Cynthia Cruz, Ruin (Alice James Books, 2006)Ruin is a book that will hurt you, but do so in an indefinable way, kind of like the charming guy at the bar who couches a mild insult within every compliment. Cruz' work loves to contradict itself emotionally, every happiness cursed, every blackness countermanded with a joy:There's a gunboat cutting through the distance,Its hull ablaze with honey light and blackLanterns tattering in the breeze. Off the raftersHangs an old yellow dress I wore once when I was little.There's a sick Sheltie staring from the landingAnd a pile of cages rusting in the weather.A ghost, I enter the boat.When it pulls up, I'll be a girl again.("Secondhand Gun")These are short, punchy pieces, each demanding reflection. It's a small book, but one worth savoring. *** ½

  • By J. M. Martinez on October 9, 2006

    Of all the new first books of poetry I've read this year "Ruin" is an outstanding work of lyrics taut in language, mystery and emotion. I bought this last week and I've read through it everyday since then. Great book.


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