Open quote. Soaring rhythms, assured technique, and gift for modulating from a conversational voice to a richly textured singing line. Close quote. Sunday Telegraph.

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Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction


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About Ruth

Ruth is an award-winning British poet and writer,Teaching Fellow in Poetry at Kings College London and currently the first Writer in Residence at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Her poetry collections have been shortlisted for all major UK poetry prizes, most recently The Mara Crossing, which mixes poems and prose to explore migration of animals and people She has also published a novel on wildlife crime and eight books of non-fiction, including I’m A Man: Sex, Gods and Rock ‘n’ Roll which explored ways in which Greek mythology informs rock music as well as opera, and Tigers in Red Weather for which she explored Asian forests on foot and by elephant to understand what is happening in contemporary tiger conservation. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Council Member for the Zoological Society of London.

Recent Poem

Through all today’s arguments over immigration, what happens to people who wait, sometimes years, to know if they can get asylum in the UK?  

THE PRAYER LABYRINTH 

She went looking for her daughter. How many
visit Hades and live? Your only hope
is the long labyrinth of Visa Application
interviews with a volunteer from a charity
you’re not allowed to meet.
You’ve been caught: by a knock on the door
at dawn, hiding in a truck of toilet tissue
or just getting stuck in a turn-stile.

You’re on Dead Island: the Detention Centre.
The Russian refugees who leaped from the fifteenth floor
of a Glasgow tower block to the Red Road
Springburn – Serge, Tatiana and their son,
who when the Immigration officers
were at the door, tied themselves together
before they jumped – knew what was coming.

Anyway you’re here. Evidence of cigarette
burns all over your body has been dismissed
by the latest technology. You’re dragged
from your room, denied medication
or a voice. You can’t see your children,
they’re behind bars somewhere else.

You go on hunger strike. You’re locked
in a corridor three days without water
then handcuffed through the biopsy
on your right breast. You’ve no choice
but to pray; and to walk the never-ending path
of meditation on not yet. Your nightmare
was home-grown; you’re seeking sanctuary.
They say you don’t belong. They give you
a broken finger, a punctured lung.