“A poet of great eloquence and delicate skill, an exquisite image-maker who can work wonders with the great tradition of line and stanza. Her voice has an astonishing resonance.” Colm Toibin

‘With extraordinary breadth of erudition, sensitivity to different cultural environments and powerful visual alertness, this collection has all the characteristics we expect from Ruth Padel. Readers will be struck by the mature command of these poems as well as their great range of subject and feeling.’ Dr Rowan Williams

“A meditation on conflict and history, like the ending of TS Eliot’s Little Gidding but without the mono-culturalism. Sustained feats of imagination… every detail is valuable.”  Independent.

“Wonderful, audacious, 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 Padel’s new collection turns to the Middle East. Through images of conflict and craftsmanship, the poems trace a quest for harmony in the midst of destruction. An oud, central instrument in Middle Eastern music and ancestor of the western guitar, is made and broken. An ancient synagogue survives arson, a guide shows us Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity during a siege. A Polish Jew in a Nazi camp carves a chain out of a broom handle; a Palestinian boy in a West Bank refugee camps learns capoeira. At the heart of the book are Christ’s words from the Cross.

Uniting this collection is common ground shared by all three faiths in the region, Judaism, Christianity and Islam: a vision of human life as pilgrimage and struggle but also an act of making whose patterns and forms cross all boundaries. With extraordinary care and empathy Ruth Padel suggests that rift in the Holy Land speaks to conflict in our own hearts. ‘Wherever we’re looking from / we are this Middle East. Some chasm / through the centre must be in and of us all.

On Migration  /  The Mara Crossing
The Mara Crossing - On Migration (USA)

On Migration (USA)

The Mara Crossing

The Mara Crossing(UK)

The Mara Crossing, published in USA as On Migration, puts migration and immigration in historical and biological perspective.- “A book of wonders… “. – Buy now on Amazon.  Read this Interview on it: in which Ruth says we are all migrants, all “from somewhere else”.

Listen to Ruth reading the last poem in the collection, ‘Time to Fly’. Read more >>

Darwin – A Life in Poems

An intimate, highly original interpretation of the life and work of Charles Darwin by his great great grand-daughter Read a new review of it in American Scientist. Read a review of an Irish stage version of Darwin – A Life in Poems. “This highly acclaimed sequence of poems uses multiple viewpoints to..” Read more >>
The Soho Leopard

The Soho LeopardHallucinatory, lyrical, and passionately musical, the poems of The Soho Leopard explore our need for wildness and for stories, adding animal legend and zoological science to Ruth Padel’s glitteringly imaginative canvas. “With her gift for bringing together experiences and tones of voice that normally stay far apart, she sweeps us from Dulwich Pizza Hut to ancient Siberia…” Read more >>
Voodoo Shop

A twenty-first century tale of love and bereavement, Voodoo Shop includes many of Ruth Padel’s unique lyric arias reminiscent of Tennyson’s Idylls, such as “Writing to Onegin”, which The Times Literary Supplement described as a “startling poem filled with extravagance, a marvellous example of imitation as originality, defying Pushkin’s model yet remaining true to his heroine’s psychology”;. read more >>
Rembrandt Would Have Loved You

Rembrandt Would Have Loved YouRembrandt Would Have Loved You plays with the male tradition of female portraiture in traditional love lyrics. The gaze of the woman artist or poet creates the man. Shifting between vulnerability and guilt, trust and doubt, tenderness, reproach and sexuality, these bold poems explore the risks and complexities of falling in love.Read more >>


FusewirePoems on British colonization in Ireland interwoven with love poems which reverse sexual clichés of colonisation With the same fierce historical and linguistic energy of Summer Snow and Angel, Fusewire explores new territory, the relation between two countries and the effect of history on personal lives. As the double meaning in “Your Place or Mine?”. read more >>


Angel“Many poets wait a lifetime for a poem like this and still don’t get one,” write Alicia Ostriker of one poem in here, “Indian Red.” Angel focusses on multiple ways of seeing across different personas and across history. Written while she was working on her book about madness in tragedy (Whom Gods Destroy),  during the First Gulf War, Angel was Ruth’s second full. read more >>
Summer Snow


Summer SnowRuth’s first full collection turns on history. The lyric poems moving from archaeology, decipherment and Minoan Crete into modern graffiti on Athenian cacti, amily history, childhood memories, marriage, stepchildren, motherhood and a baby’s first smile. This is also history experienced physically on the ground in Greece; especially Crete where Ruth used to live. The snow of. read more >>


AlibiThe Many Press, 1985, 24 pp. ISBN 0 907326 129. Number Nine in the Many Press: New Series. Some copies may be available from The Many Press, http://www.shadoof.net/many/ DESCRIPTION Ruth’s first publication, in 1985. A collector’s item: a pamphlet of lyric poems, set mainly in Greece, chosen by John Welch, editor of the Many Press. read more >>

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