Open quote. This sweeping and unconventional book about migration calls for compassion: the poems and essays of The Mara Crossing are a lyrical tribute to the instincts and whims, trials and beauties that catalyse movement. Close quote. Economist.

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Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction


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About Ruth

Ruth is an award-winning British poet and writer, Poetry Fellow at King’s College London, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Council Member for the Zoological Society of London.

  Her tenth poetry collection, Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth is shortlisted for the 2014 T. S. Eliot Prize. Its poems on the Middle East trace a quest for harmony in the midst of destruction. “A meditation on conflict and history like the ending of Little Gidding without the mono-culturalism.” (Independent) “Wonderful, audacious and minutely crafted. The magnificent central section about the crucifixion is an imaginative feat, and her command of register is masterly, moving from formal to conversational with graceful authority.” (Observer)

  Ruth has also published a novel on wildlife crime, Where the Serpent Lives, and eight books of non-fiction including I’m A Man: Sex, Gods and Rock ‘n’ Roll which weaves together Greek myth rock music and opera, and Tigers in Red Weather on wild tiger conservation. She teaches poetry at King’s College, London, is Ambassador for New Networks for Nature, and patron of 21st Century Tiger.

Recent Poem

Mill Wheel at Bantry
i.m. J. G. Farrell

This twelve-foot torque is the iron ghost
of an ancient wheel turning riveted slats
back and up. Now stuck, now moving again
scattering diamonds from a twisting stream
by the library, bucketing over slimed rock
and combing the tangled grasses’ emerald hair.
This gash at the top of town, with its whiff
of Hades, is where we catch our glimpse
of what’s below. From here on down
we join the hectic flow to the ordinary:
tarmac, Spar, chip-shops; the dockside cafés
and whispering silver-and-isinglass mud
of Bantry Bay. But churning or still

fortune’s wheel sets the pace. This wet rock
grey as a seal diving into the dark,
this pour-down of spark-froth entering town
by way of the burying ground, runs under it all:
under Vickery’s, the famine graves,
the boarded-up House of Elegance, the fire station
and two-room museum with memorabilia
of martyrs and butter-making, photos of where we are
as it used to be, reports of sea-wrecks
and sea-rescue, the resin replica
of a cross descrying the quest of St Brendan
for Isles of the Blest. There’s been so much
I haven’t attended to. So much I didn’t see.